Build a small easily doable habit
If you want to create a new habit, you need to start with something that will not require great will, strong mental attitude and will not take much time. The easier you choose something, the less will and motivation you will need.
Willpower and motivation run out very quickly. Use them for super important activities that require you to be motivated for a short time (for example, to wash your hair after a hard and long day, when you actually want to lie down and read a book or watch a TV series). If you rely on your will to train and eat well, it will not last long.
Here are some ideas for small and easy changes. Choose ONLY 1 and try it out. When it becomes a habit you can add one more thing from the list below. The smaller and less noticeable changes you make, the less will and motivation you will need.
1. Eat one salad a day, 3-4 days a week
Vegetables are extremely important for our health. They provide us with vitamins and minerals, while keeping the stomach works regularly due to their fiber content. In addition, fiber keeps us full longer and will naturally reduce the intake of other foods. The veggies are low in calories and so rich in valuable substances.
So start with 1 salad or a soup with lots of vegetables a day, 3-4 days a week and you will feel the benefits of this in a weeks time. You will be full for longer, you will eat less other food and you will have a regular elimination, which is extremely important.
Please note that from а botanical point of view, tomatoes and cucumbers do not count for salad as they are fruits. We count for a salad / vegetable soup the following vegetables – lettuce, onions, garlic, dill, parsley, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, peppers (and they are fruit), red beets, celery, alabaster, radishes, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, kale .
It is much easier to start with just a few days of salad. Choose as many days a week as the thought of them doesn’t bother you. In addition, you will soon start eating salad every day, not just 3-4 days a week, because you will build a habit and it will be easier for you to follow it every day, not just from time to time. I guess you brush your teeth in the morning and in the evening, not just from time to time, because it’s your habit and you don’t think about it.
2. Train every day for 5-7 minutes
If you eat biscuits for 5 minutes (without stopping) every day, I’m pretty sure you expect to gain weight. Or if you drink wine every day for 5 minutes (without stopping), you know that it will have an effect on you. This goes for anything you do regularly, no matter how small.
Everything you do regularly has an effect on you!
5 minutes of exercise every day has a great impact on your health and the way you look. You can start as a joke, for example in the morning while waiting for your coffee. You squat 10 times, then lift your leg to the side 10 times, then lift it back 10 times, 10 push-ups with your hands on the kitchen counter (or on the wall). And if the coffee is not done, repeat them one more time. You can take your dumbbells around your coffee area so you can reach them easily in the morning. If you have to go and get them, you will most probably won’t do it. But if they are right next to the place where you make coffee, you will use them.
When you start with a few minutes of exercise a day, soon you won’t need motivation and willpower, and it will become a habit. After a while you will want 10 minutes of training and more, but first start with something that seems super easy and achievable immediately.
3. Walk 10 minutes more
Walking is an extremely underestimated activity and few people know that it burns energy, while not increasing the appetite, because it is a low-intensity and you can do for a long time. High-intensity workouts on the other hand have serious demands on your body, if practiced for more than 30 minutes + they increase the appetite if you do them for a longer time.
And walking is a super aerobic exercise with amazing health benefits + it burns energy (calories).
So start with a 10 minute walk trying to go faster than usual. If you already walk for 10 minutes daily, great, you have a habit and it will be even easier for you to add another 10 minutes of brisk walking. Here are some ideas on how to do this:
If you are traveling by car, park 10 minutes away from your destination.
If you use public transport get off 1-2 stops earlier.
If the above are not applicable, play a news, movie, TV series, whatever you like to watch and step left-right or back and forth while watching. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
If you shop from neighborhood stores, do it twice so you have 10 minutes more walking.
To build a habit, it is important to stick to small, easy, short things. Once you get into the habit, you can walk as much as you want.
If you use a bracelet or an app that counts your steps for the day, see how many steps you take on average per day and set a goal to be 1000 more. When your new goal becomes a habit, increase it by another 1000 steps. Keep in mind that it is better not to overdo it several times by 1000 steps, because more than 7000 steps a day take time. I would be very happy if all the people do 10-15,000 steps a day, but I know what a dynamic, busy and fast-paced world we live in. I also spend many hours in front of the computer and sometimes I have to decide whether to go or answer a few more emails. Everything that is realistic and achievable helps me to be active regularly. The key is to be regular at your own pace.
4. Climb 10-15 floors every day
Climbing stairs is my favorite exercise because it is both aerobic and perfectly tightens the hips and buttocks. But how to turn it into a regular habit? Climb 3 floors, then go down to the first floor and do the whole thing 3-4 more times. I live on the 4th floor and I have noticed that when I have guests, the turning point of panting is after the 3rd floor, where they still breathe normally, but on the 4th floor they are already panting heavily. So the idea is to climb as many floors as you can feel that you are making an effort, but that effort not to be like you’re running to catch a bus and barely catch your breath. Going down to the first floor is like a break and then you go up again to the floor you don’t puff up 🙂 In addition, going downstairs increases the number of steps you take.
5. Cut off the sweets in half
Packaged sweets usually have more calories from fat than from sugar which are often hydrogenated fats which makes them bad for our health. I believe that we cannot live constantly with the idea that we are limited and we have prohibitions, especially when it comes to food. People who do not eat “unhealthy” foods do so because of their sincere belief that they are doing something good for themselves + they find pleasure in healthy food.
However, if you are one of those people who fall for unhealthy temptations and you can’t imagine a life without them, try to eat half of the amount. For example, instead of a packet of biscuits eat half of it or instead of 1 chocolate eat half of it. I consider the dark chocolate as a food rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, the problem is that it is a very concentrated food and 100 g of it has about 600 kcal and it is only an intermediate meal. At the same time the blueberries have much more antioxidants and polyphenols + fibers and are very low in calories.
I believe that taste can be disciplined and if you reduce the sweet temptations in half, you will soon get used to the new amount and you will consider it satisfactory. Another tactic that worked for me is that I don’t have anything forbidden, but I only eat chocolate when I really feel like eating. I ask myself “do you really want it now? ” and I usually say to myself “no, I can eat tomorrow”. The idea is that if you have nothing forbidden, you can postpone eating foods that you know are sabotaging you. It’s one thing to sabotage yourself once a month, it’s another thing to do it every week 🙂
And now don’t forget to choose only 1 thing from the list above, because everything together will raise your stress level. Most people can’t stick to big and many changes for a long time and then blame themselves for not having the will and motivation. Self-blame will not improve your life, while one small change that you turn into a habit will change your life for the better.
Connect the new habit to an existing one
I mentioned that you can train while you wait for the coffee to be made. Making coffee is something you don’t miss every morning and it’s a trigger not to miss the new activity you want to turn into a habit. Here are some more suggestions:
Every time you go to the toilet do 10 squats. So if you go 4-5 times a day (most people do it even more often) at the end of the day you will have 40-50 squats done without any effort, motivation or will.
Or jump 5 times each time you pass through the door from one room to another.
While brushing your teeth which takes 2-3 minutes, you can also squat or lift your leg sideways and back.
When you are in the grocery shop, never leave without buying at least 2 vegetables. This way you will have products that you will not want to throw away later and you will eat more salads / soups.
Think about the usual activities you have during the day and how you can attach a new activity to some of them that you want to become a habit.
Don’t associate your whole life with making habits. Choose 1-2 things you do regularly and attach a new short activity to them. If you do all the things above this is a recipe for failure. You will constantly think about what I have to do now, the whole day will be in squats, swings and lunges and soon you will hate them. The idea is to start with ease and effortlessly.
Celebrate each performance of the new habit
We often celebrate the achievement of a great goal and fail to mark the small every steps that led us to it. The act of making little progress is like a friendly pat on the shoulder, which brings optimism and faith in good results.
It is good the reward to be visual and in front of your eyes often. For example, put 1 bean in a jar, after each workout or after each salad or after each climbing of the stairs… I think you’ve got the idea. The jar will be filled with beans, and your consciousness will be filled with achieved goals without effort and will.
You can put small sticky notes on a window / cabinet / wall and when they start to become a lot, you will enjoy them every time you pass them and you will feel like a successful woman who works for her goals.
You can put a coin in a jar and tell yourself that after building that new habit you will treat yourself with the collected money. Not only that you have a new habit, but also a great gift in the end! 🙂