I’ve never been one to fight against adversity. When things don’t quite work out the way I’d like them to, I usually either:
1. Figure out a way around it, that’d allow me to get to the same result. I could for example, give up on that level of Candy Crush I’m stuck on until I have enough magic candies to win it easy-peasy. Or get somebody to open all cans for me (I’m so bad at handling can openers that my dad formally prevented me to do so a few years ago).
2. Simply consider that this one thing is simply “not for me” and just give up. Running? Not for me. Swimming? Not for me. Cycling? Most certainly not for me. (See the pattern here?)
And yet it is when I go over that sort of things that I get the most rewarding results. Up to two years ago, I would have SWORN aubergines were not for me. It is now one of my favourite vegetables. Crunches were also not for me. They’re still not my best friends, but I’m working on it. And it was the same for a number of other things: un-doing my make-up every day, drinking enough water, stews… All sorts of things.
I’ve been on the “good habit building” roller-coaster so many times I’ve stopped counting. But I’ve learnt a thing or two along the way, that are making it easier for me to fulfill my goals…
1. Reminder – Apps and trackers:
Call me crazy but I don’t think there’s anything quite as satisfying as ticking things off a to-do list. I already confessed my addiction to tracking apps in my “How to drink more water” post, so you won’t really be surprised to hear that whenever it comes to building new habits, I turn to them as well.
I still use Water Your Body to keep track of how much water I drink and I’ve started using Coach for all my other goals. Even if it’s not the most easy app to use at first, I like the flexibility it gives me in terms of goal-setting (you can pick goals from a list or create your own + you can decide how many times a week you want to perform a certain action).
And you get to tick that box once you’ve accomplished any of your goals that day (which clearly doubles my happiness since 1. I kept up with my habit 2. box-ticking is so satisfying!)!!
2. Routine – Not getting bored:
The other day, I was mid-way through my third set of 30 squats when I finally realised why it had been so difficult for me to keep exercising every day; it’s not that it was especially difficult, or that it hurt me; I was just bored of going through the exact same routine every evening.
When it comes to staying motivated, I truly believe variety is key… You wouldn’t want to eat brownies for breakfast, lunch & dinner every day (or would you?) so why have the same packed lunch or exercise routine every day?
Speaking of which, I’m currently working on some healthy packed lunch + snacks recipes… so hopefully there’ll be some ideas for you to get inspired by over here soon!
3. Rewards – Planning (possibly buying) them ahead of time:
When I came back from Barcelona, I felt both exausted and stronger from all the walking we had done in three days and I didn’t want to let go of that habit. So I made a deal with myself: I would walk to and/or from work every day, and with the money I’d save doing so, I’d treat myself to something nice at the beginning of the following month. Having my eyes set on the prize (a proper pedicure, if you must know!) help me stay focus and stick to the habit (I haven’t missed a day yet and I’ve saved over £20 already!!), so I’m considering extending this little experiment to my general workout routine in the future…
How do you achieve your healthy-living goals? Any tricks to build habits that stick?