top of page

New habits for a new you!

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

Creating a new habit can be exciting and full of possibilities. I know that whenever I set out to implement something new in my daily life, I think about how my life is going to improve and how I will be taking yet another step to bettering myself. I’m all jacked up and can’t wait to get started. I invest in whatever I need to make that habit a success (or what I was told I need) and get to planning. Next thing you know I’m in it. I’m doing the thing and it’s great at first, but then something comes up and I miss a day. Or maybe I’m just not feeling it, so I skip a day. Usually, when this happens, I spiral out of control and I stop doing the new thing altogether. Then I enter a period of self-loathing, get totally put off of the thing, and revert back to life as it was before. Sound familiar?

I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this. It’s frustrating and we feel like we’ll never achieve that goal we have in mind. However, inevitably in most cases, that spark will return and we want to try again. I have personally implemented many healthy habits into my life that either A) served me well for a period of time, but just don’t work with my current lifestyle, B) stuck with me and will be with me for life, or C) didn’t work out and fell by the wayside.

The problem I had, was that I was putting way too much pressure on myself and wanting to do too much all at once. Now, there are some cold turkey people out there and I think studies need to be conducted on these people’s brains so the rest of us slow-roast butterball-style people can understand how this is even possible, but not all of us can wake up and start a new habit right away. I’m not saying it can never happen, it’s just not common.

Almost all of us want to change something that we are doing in our daily lives, but how do we do that? I’m going to walk you through what I did to begin running five days a week. Sometimes seeing how someone else breaks it down can be helpful.

Let’s begin! At this point, I was starting from ground zero and had been on a bit of an exercise hiatus. I had tried to implement this habit a few times before but always got discouraged somehow or simply fell off. This time I was determined and had learned from my previous attempts, so I was ready to be successful!

First things first: Why are you wanting to implement this habit?

For me I wanted to prove to myself that I could create a steady fitness routine and running was something that I found extremely difficult. The difficulty appealed to me because I like to challenge myself. Another motivator was that I wanted to be able to walk the walk. I can’t expect my clients to make amazing changes in their health and overcome challenges if I can’t even do the same. I had many other why’s like being in the best shape possible and being healthy, but honestly my drive to be the best version of myself, especially as a practitioner, is what kept me going.

Your why doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but it should really tug on those heartstrings of yours. We are mostly driven by emotion. So, what gets you going? I would personally watch a ton of David Goggins’ videos (STAY HARD!) to get pumped up because I can seriously relate, like many others, to feeling like a complete failure and then wanting nothing more than to rise above it. David Goggins isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so find what works for you.

Secondly, you need to simplify

I took my ultimate goal of running five days a week and took it down to running just one day a week. We often take too much on all at once and then become discouraged when we can’t keep it going. You want to be real with yourself. In my case, I wasn’t running at all at that point so if I could commit to one run a week, I would be working towards my ultimate goal of running five days a week.

Thirdly, focus on timing / trigger

I had to think about when would be the best time to incorporate this run. For me after work was ideal because I didn’t have to alter my morning routine and move much around. Less stress is best. If I had to get up an hour earlier that would be two habits I’d be trying to implement. 1) Getting up earlier and 2) Running.

When it comes to creating a new habit, it’s ideal if you tack it onto another habit, you have that doesn’t require much thought. For example, if you want to create a new nightly reading habit and you brush your teeth every night before bed, place what you’re reading next to your toothbrush. The toothbrush becomes your trigger and you’re going to be reminded of all your why’s when you see that book next to your toothbrush.

My trigger for running one day a week was my running shoes. I wore a different pair of shoes at work that I would change into when I got to work and change out of when I was leaving work. I started to wear my running shoes to and from work so I would already have them on during the time I was planning to run, which was after work. I even started bringing my workout clothes with me to work and changing into them before I left for the day, even though I was going to drive for 30 mins home and run around my neighbourhood. This gave me no option but to start my run immediately upon my arrival home because I had removed the possibilities for resistance and was ready to go.

When I eventually got into the habit of running five days a week and I was confident enough to switch up the timing to every morning before work, I would put my coffee cup on top of my running shoes. I have a very specific cup I like to enjoy my coffee out of so this worked beautifully as I was highly unlikely to just grab another cup. I would have to literally go over to my running shoes which were at the door to grab the coffee cup, so at that point, I would just put my shoes on which brought me one step closer to getting out the door for my run. I also started to change into my workout clothes immediately after waking up. I put them on top of a laundry basket in my bedroom that I’d also hang a very snuggly robe off of. If I had to go digging for my workout clothes, I’d have likely reached for that robe which was a trigger for my old habit of starting my day slowly with a cup of coffee on the couch and wouldn’t make it out for my run.

Fourth, don't forget to prep

In the beginning, I just needed to get the running shoes on to wear them to work (Yes it was that simple in the start!). Shortly after though, I started to pack my workout clothes and headphones the night before and put them next to the running shoes so I would also take those when I would go to work to change into after work. I also spent the time and created a playlist on my cell phone with songs that would be motivating and keep me going on the run (lots of DMX). In my early attempts to make this habit happen, I would compare myself to people around me who were experienced runners and get fixated on the pace, duration, and amount of kms. This time I chose to just get out there and run. Being a novice runner as well, I decided to give a running app a try to track what I was doing and progress gradually. I chose an app that was free called “Zombies! Run!”. It gamified the whole experience which kept me interested for sure as there was a storyline that would kick in every now and then. I also chose not to look at the stats at all during the run and to my surprise, I was making some of my best times.

When planning the execution of your new habit, think about what you need in order to create the least amount of resistance for yourself. If it’s that nightly reading habit and let’s say you’re not reading from a physical book but a tablet for example, then what needs to happen? That tablet needs to be charged, the app or whatever you’re using needs to be downloaded, and you have to have selected and downloaded/uploaded that chosen book. Once you have all of that set up, you’re well on your way. Then just try to open the book. Once you’ve got that book open, you’re already there! Even if you read just one word, you’re already implementing that nightly reading habit. I guarantee that one word will turn into two words, then a sentence, and the next thing you know you can’t put the book down!

Fifth tip is tracking the habit

When I was building the habit of running five days a week, I tracked the days I would run. I wouldn’t pressure myself and say it had to be every weekday or anything like that because sometimes you are just tired and rest is important too! Or something comes up. So, I would put a big X on the days of the week that I would run on my calendar. I got this idea from Megan who told me about Jerry Seinfeld’s “don’t break the chain”, and it worked! I put the calendar on my fridge where I could see it every day and it reminded me of the progress I was making. We have borrowed and tweaked this concept for our own Well Rounded Habit Tracker and have seen some great success with it! It’s pretty cool!

Habit tracking is important because you can measure your progress and see if there are any improvements that can be made. It can however create anxiety for some, so in the start, just try to do the thing once a week. You’ll easily be able to track that in your mind and then you can eventually implement a more effective long term tracking method.

Sixth: Staying motivated and on track

To keep me motivated I had a variety of tools implemented. The running app with the storyline was great because it made me want to know how I was going to evade the zombies the next day. I also would take and send photos at the end of or sometimes during the run of myself all nice and sweaty with a big thumbs up to family members and friends. Having a strong support system is very important. I also worked on being my own support system. I wrote out on a cue card affirmations and positive messages and put this next to my bed so I could read it morning and night. Eventually, I just needed to see the cue card on the nightstand and I already knew what it was all about which was motivation enough. I even programmed the words of encouragement into my phone that would come up as reminders periodically throughout my day. I still have one that says “Let’s get moving!” which still gets me amped up. I also stopped comparing myself to others. I don’t subscribe to any social media outlets with a personal account so it was pretty easy to stay in a bubble and do my thing, but I also stopped comparing myself to the old me. I decided that I was shedding the previous Rajni that “failed” to create a consistent running habit.

Letting go of the past is part of the process. You’re trying to implement something new, and even if you’ve tried before you’ve learned from every other attempt. Find what works for you and know that you can do it. I hope this was helpful and motivates you to create a new healthy habit. Remember, you create the life you want to live. So, if you’re not happy with the way you’re living now, you have all the power to change that. Start small, and you’ll see great returns!

27 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All