How to Build Habits for Diet and Fitness (Article 2 of 2)
One of my favorite books of all time and one that has helped me tremendously for the day to day minutia that leads to great lifestyle changes is James Clear’s Atomic Habits. This is a fantastic read, short and easy to follow, with real actionable steps. If you just want the “Big Rocks” (Not sure what those are? Check out our explanation here: Powell Performance’s Big Rocks. I’d recommend reading this synopsis of the book by Samuel Thomas Davies.
After reading this book, my day to day actions and feedback loop with many things have changed for the positive. To utilize this book for fitness improvement, I’ve outlined some of the main ideas and have broken them down into actionable steps.
- How can I make it obvious?
When you walk into your kitchen and want to eat, you typically pick a few common places – having your better options in those places is a great start. Make it obvious by having your healthy food at the front of your fridge when you open it, at eye level as you walk into the room, and in the cabinet/pantry you open most. If you have any less ideal foods in your fridge and can’t donate or throw them away (I recommend you try to), then hide them in the back part of the fridge, freezer or pantry so they’re less obvious.
- How can I make it attractive?
Buy fresh fruits and veggies that are bright and colorful. Make them even more appetizing and full of taste by using better seasoning options (citrus, Mrs. Dash, etc).
Another good option would be surrounding yourself with other people who already have the identity you want to create for yourself, for more info read Habit Change #1, the more you see these individuals reinforcing their identity through their habits, the more attractive it will be to you.
- How can I make it easy?
Always have snacks and foods available that are ready to be eaten immediately or taken on the go. Having these easily available and always in your kitchen, at the office, and in the car will help you create better habits long term.
Also, never miss twice. If you have a bad meal or snack, no problem! Just make the next one better and immediately reverse the habit.
- How can I make it satisfying?
Utilizing foods you enjoy will be of the utmost importance. Remember that there are no “good or bad” foods, just ones that will help you move toward your goals faster than others. Keep the satisfaction of long-term results in the back of your head when making decisions and also reward yourself after a few good days of eating in a row with something small that reinforces the habit.
Create Your Identity
The habits you create and repeat daily, at their core, are what shape the person you are. Each time you accomplish a task, which becomes a habit, it leads you toward the person you will become. Put best by the author “It is a simple two-step process: Decide the type of person you want to be. Prove it to yourself with small wins”. Once you know your values go through your values work sheet and know what kind of person you want to become, how do you now create habits to lead you in that direction? This will best be served by taking stock of your actions and realizing what you need to fix. One thing that will help with this is a free consultation with our PP staff who will give you an intake questionnaire. This will allow you to notice more of the small habits that may be affecting your fitness and lifestyle. Another great thing to do is to keep a journal of your day. Pay attention not just to your eating and working out, but also the small actions you take during the day that affect each of these things. Eventually, it would be helpful to even log your emotions attached with each one, provided for free with your consultation with Powell Performance Staff.
Motivation is overrated, Environment often Matters More
In the first article about habit change, we discussed how motivation is NOT usually what separates those who are successful and those who are not. It is often the ability to create environments, habits, and situations where they are guaranteed success.
Common Habit Questions:
Can I utilize habits to make change?
- Of course! One of our most important teaching habits from our staff here at Powell Performance is to help you do that with small, manageable changes.
What habits should I work on?
- That’s a great question! It depends on what you are struggling with. We’ve had clients who have worked on just about every habit imaginable to see positive results. Some common examples are:
- Eating more veggies
- Walking daily for 10-20 minutes
- Drinking more water
- Preparing 2 of your meals for the day and only eating out once
- Meal prepping your lunches for the week using the PP cookbook
As you look at this you see these aren’t massive changes and are all very manageable. The secret is perfecting only 1-2 of them at a time. Once they become a part of your daily routine and habit, we can add more. After only a few months you will have a completely different outlook on and relationship with your health!
One final reflection from Clear’s book is that “Most people don’t lack discipline, they lack clarity.” So let us, the Powell Performance staff, help you clear your vision and take out roadblocks that get in your way. When you sign up with us, we will help you with your habit building which will allow you to start working on the important tasks to become who you want to be- which is just an even more amazing version of yourself!
Habit Quotes to refer to as we go through this journey from Atomic Habits -
“Ask yourself, “Who is the type of person that could get the outcome I want?
“Your identity emerges out of your habits. Every action is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”
“Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits. Your net worth is a lagging measure of your financial habits. Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits. Your knowledge is a lagging measure of your learning habits. Your clutter is a lagging measure of your cleaning habits. You get what you repeat.”
Want to learn more about how to start building better daily habits and have a staff of dietitians, coaches and counselors to help be your allies? Click here to speak with our staff and get more help on your journey today!