Developing new habits – one small step at a time

For those that know me well, you’ll know that I am very focused on personal development and growth. I have goals and plans in many areas of my life (my next blog post will be on my new take on goals and plans).

However I’ve always struggled to make truly permanent changes. Being naturally ambitious, I tend to shoot high and change many things at once and then as soon as one thing goes wrong, everything falls apart.

Take being fit and healthy as an example.

I am good at making the perfect plan – train weights three times a week, cardio twice a week, eat clean for 6 days a week, drink 2 litres of water daily and stretch 3 times a week. Everything is planned out in excruciating detail – every exercise, every calorie. I start off the week with the goal to stick to this plan and inevitable fall short very quickly. I simply revert back to my original habits as soon as one thing fails because as I cannot complete it perfectly.

Then very recently I read this post on one of my favourite websites (zenhabits) and suddenly it all became clear. I don’t need to try and change everything at once (I’ve tried it for over 10 years and it has rarely worked longer than a week, normally no longer than a day). I just need to start with one small habit and practice it until it becomes second nature. Then repeat with another small habit until eventually I will have one big habit that sticks.

Also I need to let go of trying to be perfect. If I make a mistake, I just need to put it behind me immediately and get back on the wagon rather than sabotage things further with opposite behaviour.

So, my new health goals are only food related. I am not even going to worry about exercise goals (these will come after I have nailed the eating bit).

Whilst the end goal is:

  • detox everyone Monday with fruit, vegetables water and green tea only
  • drink 6 glasses of water per day
  • skip breakfast every day
  • eat a clean low carb, high protein, moderate/high fat meal for lunch on weekdays
  • eat a clean meal (low carb on non active days, medium/high carb on active days) on weekday evenings
  • eat reasonably clean, but relaxed over the weekends
  • generally be very aware of portion sizes

But as promised I will start small.

This week my habit is to drink 4 glasses of water per day and detox on Monday with just fruit, vegetables, water and green tea. That’s it. Whatever happens around that is fine. As long as I nail the detox and water habit, I’m good.

I know this is changing two habits, but I feel it’s very achievable for me to nail these and it’s about 10% of what I normally set myself as a health and fitness goal! (Note: At 19.14 on Monday I have have stuck to the detox perfectly and have drank 4 glasses of water). I want to do this for at least one month after which it should be second nature and then I will set myself some additional eating habits to change.

I feel like this is a bit of a breakthrough in terms of how I achieve goals, which ultimately rely on building a new set of habits.

I’ll leave you with a couple of pics.

Vegetable Soup

My evening meal - vegetable Soup - hmmmmmm

 

Ella rebelling against Detox Monday as she chows down a Jacket Potato, Cheese & Coleslaw!

Ella rebelling against Detox Monday as she chows down a Jacket Potato, Cheese & Coleslaw!

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