Developing Habits That Stick Like Glue


In today’s podcast of the Inspiration2grow show we are discussing the common theme which happens every year in January or February at the latest – the New Year’s Drop Off Rate.  We’ll talk about a better way to start a new habit, one that offers more sticking power.

This phenomenon happens EVERY year all around the world regardless of age or gender.  I am talking about the great exodus of people who make New Year’s resolutions to upgrade their level of fitness and health. Then, in a frenzy they join a gym, sign up for classes of every kind, dive into the pool for exercise, purchase all sorts of shiny, new equipment, scurry to order diet products online before they sell out, you get the picture.  I am sure you noticed all the heavy marketing campaigns targeted toward making 2023 the best year ever, slogans like NEW YEAR, NEW YOU, this will be YOUR year and make this year count. 

Have YOU been part of this New Year’s craziness?  I certainly have.  It’s been years ago now but I, too, committed to prioritizing my fitness routine and was dedicated to eating cleaner with the hopes of shedding a few unwanted pounds.

I’ve experienced this type of new year’s commitment both at my local gym as well as at the pool where I go for my laps, almost every day.  It’s actually difficult to get a lane to swim in without having to share with at least 2 or 3 other people now.  And, at the gym, well, it can be challenging to work though your exercise routine efficiently moving from machine to machine, because, well, so many other people are there too.  Even the spin classes are completely full – waiting list only for those who don’t reserve your bike early enough.

My husband commented just the other day while we were leaving the gym, things will look a lot different in here come February.  I knew he was spot on. 
Things will have calmed down considerably – come the end of February and March.  Why the huge drop off rate at gyms and fitness facilities? 

There are several reasons but, I think, people jump into these new habits and intentions of regaining their health and upleveling their fitness on a whim without enough mental preparation.  By this, I mean, shifting your mindset around the new habit is essential in order to set yourself up for success.

One of the most important decisions we make is which habit we want to build.

But, the question arises… how should we choose a habit that will stick?

If we choose the right habit, progress will be easy and feel almost effortless.  However, if we commit to the wrong habit, our life will feel like a struggle.

Therefore, it becomes crucial to work on the ‘right’ habit.  This means identifying with this habit, having the proper reasons why you want to achieve it, setting the intention behind it.

And, everyone has to realize…there will be work involved, sometimes hard work. 

When thinking about new habits we want to form, we naturally begin by considering the OUTCOMES that we want to achieve.

* I want to lose weight.
* I want to stop smoking.
* I want to learn a new language.
* I want to write a book.

These are all great habits to form, but if we don’t first identify who we desire to become as opposed to what we want to achieve, you will likely not be able to develop the sticking power required to achieve this goal or incorporate this new habit into your life.

You see, anyone can convince themselves to hit the pool for a swim once or twice a week, attend a spin class once a week or even workout once or twice a week.

I’ve talked a lot about starting a new morning routine, journalling, breathwork techniques, even meditation in previous podcast episodes as possible new habits you could consider implementing.  But if you don’t shift your belief behind the behaviour, then it becomes very hard to stick with the new habit to see long-term changes.

Improvements are only temporary until they become part of who you are.
·         The goal is not to lose weight; the goal is to be the person who NEVER misses a workout.
·         The goal is not to practice yoga every day; the goal is to become more mindful of the mind-body connection and learn to relax.
·         The goal for children and teens isn’t to get straight A’s at school, but rather to become the student who studies every day.
·         The goal is not to become a writer or seller of books; the goal should be to get your message out into the world and impact other’s lives.
·         The goal is not to tone your body; the goal is to equip your body with stability and the proper balance it needs to prevent injury.  And, the goal should be to show up for yourself and your ability to move your body.

The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes part of your identity.

So, we have to shift our thinking from, “I’m the type of person who WANTS this.”
And start saying, “I’m the type of person who IS this.”

Your identity (or perceived identity) plays a pivotal role in your behaviour.  How we see ourselves determines how we behave and show up for ourselves.

And, our identity comes from our habits.  The more you repeat a habit, the more you reinforce the identity connected with that behaviour.  Of course, the more you reinforce the identity, the more natural it becomes and is easy to repeat as a behaviour.

If you start to exercise and see yourself as someone who values movement and shows up for yourself to become a healthier person, you will start to believe you are this type of person.  This identity shift will motivate you to show up more and more, and more easily, I might add.

Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.

Act like the type of person who believes in yourself.  And, each habit will suggest, “Yeah, this is WHO I am.” 

No single action will transform your belief.  But as repetitions of your habit build up over time, so does the proof of your new identity.  If you align your behaviour with your identity, you no longer are pursuing behaviour change.  You are merely acting like the type of person you believe yourself to be.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “The things you do often create the things you believe.”

So, if you believe yourself to be the type of person who moves her body regularly and shows up for herself, you will be that person.

Ask yourself, “Who is the type of person that could get the outcome I want?”

What would a healthy person do?
What would a productive person do?
What would a fit person do?

Create an identity that you work toward and define the habits that support this particular identity.  This will help you know which habit to adopt.  Then you can start taking small steps to reinforce your desired identity.

Here a few examples of linking your habits to your desired identity:

·         If you want to become an artist, you should focus on becoming the type of person who paints every day.
·         If you want to learn a new language, you should focus on becoming the type of person who studies every day.
·         If you want to become lean and toned, then you should focus on becoming the type of person who exercises every day.

Don’t focus on the outcome.  Focus on the type of person and the daily habits this person needs to do to achieve the goal.

Far too many people spend a lot of time and energy focusing on the result when they should be putting that energy into taking the small, daily steps in BECOMING the person.

Your daily habits reshape your perception of yourself in a very gradual way.  This change is quite slow and nearly impossible to see.  We have a difficult time noticing any difference between who we are today and who we were yesterday.  But, you do notice the actions you take.

With each action, you are voting for yourself and the new identity you are slowly, but surely forming.

There is an internal shift that happens.  This will help you stick with your habits more than anything else.

The very first step is to focus on WHO you want to become, not WHAT you want to achieve.

This is so very empowering. Trust me.

My only hope is that you start to implement some of the ideas, tips and strategies that I talk about and I would love to know which ones have been beneficial for you personally.

I would also like to invite you to become part of the Inspiration2grow community on Facebook.  The group name is: Inspiration2grow for Female Goal-getters.  It is meant to be a community of like-minded women who want to grow strong from the inside out.  There will be daily journalling prompts, nutrition and fitness tips, exercises to try, encouraging conversations among the community and lots more.  So, be sure to join this group for support, new ideas and the necessary rocket fuel to propel your health and wellness to new heights.

You owe it to yourself to take care of yourself, show up for yourself and become the best version of YOU.

In case you haven’t heard it yet today, let me be the first to tell you…

You are incredible, capable and your potential is limitless.  Never forget that I believe in you 100%.  Now, go out there and show the world what you are truly made of.

I hope to have inspired you to grow.

Til next time,
Lisa  xoxo



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