I heard a podcast with Lewis Howes and James Clear, that I feel like is going to completely change the way I start a new habit forever. I may not need this for every habit, because some things just naturally have more urgency.
Here’s what James said that just made so much sense to me. When you begin a new habit, there are lots of logistics to work out before you can even begin. His example was, if you decide to go to the gym to work out, you have to figure out what time you will go, how you will get there, how you will work out, whether you will bring water with you, etc. Something as simple as the gym not having water, and you keep forgetting to bring it, can cause you to fail at your new habit. James’ advice is to just drive to the gym for the first 2 weeks. Don’t exercise. Then go in and do 5 minutes. You are slowly building the habit of getting to the gym, while working out the logistics. By the time you do the actual workout, you’ve already figured out what time to get up, what you will wear, what to bring with you, which route to take and which workout to do.
This is an example of how I am going to use this in my own life: I’ve changed lots of habits, but one that has always caused problems for me is what to eat. I know what I need to eat, no gluten, no dairy and I really need to cut back on grains and sugar. The problem is, when it’s a night that we are staying home, but I only need to make food for me, or my youngest child, I have trouble thinking of something that I don’t need to cook or that will be easy. That’s when I often resort to gluten free bread or something else with grains and dairy. So, my plan is to meal prep. That works great for some meals. I make extra when I cook and eat the leftovers the next day or freeze them to pull out later.
I still have many meal times that nothing is planned. So here is my plan after listening to James.
- Start pinning meals that I might like on Pinterest with a special board, labeled Easy Meals.
- Collect ideas from my cookbooks, like Practical Paleo by Diane SanFelippo .
After I have a collection started, I will cook a few and see if I like them. Then I will add them to my meal prep. I’ll freeze some that I can bring out on those times when I just don’t want to cook, but want to eat healthy.
I think this strategy can help with my sugar habit too. I can start collecting recipes that don’t use sugar for those times that I’m craving something sweet. I don’t want to use artificial sweeteners, but I’m not opposed to natural sugars, like monk fruit, honey or molasses. Of course, I don’t want to eat them every day. That’s the goal anyways. I’m really far away from that now, so I’ll start collecting recipes! 🙂
4 Easy Steps for Any Habit:
1. Plan the logistics. What do you need? (books, recipes, containers, instructions, etc.)
2. Take step 1 at least for a few days. Maybe it’s driving somewhere like the gym, maybe it’s carrying your water bottle with you to drink more water, or maybe it’s just getting up and dressed for your morning routine.
3. Take the next step, while giving yourself grace. If one day goes bad, don’t give up! I started waking up at 5:00 am for my morning routine a few years ago. It was so hard to not push the snooze button! I woke up every morning for a few months and then stopped doing it for a few months. I really noticed a difference in my focus during the day, so I started waking up again. Even though I took a few months off, it showed me that my morning routine was really making a difference in my life.
4. Celebrate every step, even the smallest. Count them as success! You woke up! You got dressed in your workout clothes! You carried your water bottle all day! You collected 10 meals on your Pinterest board! Each little thing is one step forward to creating the life you desire.
I would love to hear about a habit you are trying to change or a small step you’ve taken to change a habit. Let me know in the comments below!