Let's talk about habits. It’s easy to dismiss them as unimportant, but really, they are everything we do and everything we are.
Every decision we make can form a habit, and each of these habitual acts determines how fit, happy and healthy we are.
Do healthy habits doesn’t stop you from having a wild night every now and then or indulging in some amazing food? They do not, trust me!
I like to live a really clean lifestyle with a mostly sugar-free and pescatarian diet (this is just what works for me!). But I also love going out to dinner and treating myself to wine and a dessert.
When I consistently train, eat healthily and make time for recovery in my schedule, I don’t get stressed reaching for a treat or having an indulgent meal. I don’t have cheat days, but if there’s cake at a party, I’m eating it.
Creating good habits in your life is crucial for balance, and in my experience, happiness and calm.
Here are my 10 tips for creating a habit:
1. Goal + habit = win. Work out what you want and link your habit to your goal. You can't achieve your goals unless you clearly define what they are, and what they mean to you.
2. The 30-day rule. Give yourself a target of doing something for 30 days, whether that’s meal prepping, exercising regularly or incorporating active recovery sessions into your week. A habit takes 30-40 days to be set into your life, so get into a rhythm.
3. Be consistent. Now this is the absolute KEY!! You cannot do one day on, one day off, especially in the early stages of forming habits. They just won’t stick.
4. Remove temptation. As I said, treat yourself, but make it special. If you’re going for ice cream, go to a beautiful gelato bar to meet a friend, or if you want a wine, go to a nice wine bar. Getting these items out of your kitchen means you will have a scoop of ice cream rather than a tub, and a few glasses of wine rather than getting sloshed watching Netflix.
5. Make it easy. Trying to reach a goal with new habits can seem like a lot. For example, if you set a goal of 5am Pilates classes before work then it can seem hard, especially when that 4:30am alarm goes off. So, don’t make it any harder. Set your workout gear out the night before and pack your Loft bag! Find a way to make it easier for yourself.
6. Stay on track. Don't lose track of what your goal is and what you need to do to get there. Write down everything you need to do and WHY you’re doing it.
7. Reward yourself. When you’re nailing it, reward yourself! Then the harder you push, the more you reward yourself. Eventually, you will link your hard work to that reward. But make your reward positive, for example, instead of letting yourself gorge on food as a reward for losing some weight, buy yourself a new Pilates outfit or yoga mat!
8. Keep yourself accountable. There are a few things you can do to make sure you’re doing what you promised yourself. If you can, get a workout buddy! If you don’t have someone that fits the bill for this, you can create a time-lapse of your workout so you have an incentive to go hard! You can also post your progress on social media. Another great trick is having a calendar on the fridge where you keep track of the days you have worked out. Whatever you choose, make sure it suits you and will hold you to account!
9. Old and new. Some habits are harder to squeeze into the old regime than others, so instead of ditching your old habits, try and make them all work together! For example, during your morning shower you could incorporate your box breathing meditation. This can be done seated, standing or laying down, so can really be done anywhere. Look for other spots in your life that you can fit in your new habits!
10. Balance, baby! Habits are habitual (duh) and a part of your daily life. You need to make sure that life is balanced. Instead of having a designated cheat day, treat yourself to meals with friends, drinks nights or whatever you’d like doing. Balance these treats with your regular workouts and healthy habits.