Unlocking The Power of Habits

What defines a habit? It’s a “settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Habits are ingrained in our daily lives – from buckling your seatbelt when you get into your car to walking your dog after work. These actions become automatic, requiring no conscious thought. Just like breathing or walking, habits shape our routines effortlessly.

While acquiring new habits is within everyone’s reach, it requires a tangible goal for repetition. Saying, “I’m going to work out,” is generic, but reframing it as, “I’m preparing for my upcoming CrossFit competition through my workouts,” makes it more tangible. Establishing an achievable goal makes it easier to break it down into specific movements to excel in the competition.

Adding a scientific perspective, a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that, on average, it takes about 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. This duration varies based on the complexity of the behavior and the individual’s internal motivation. Consistency is key in habit formation. Regular repetition strengthens the neural pathways linked to the behavior. Starting small is acceptable, like committing to two days at the gym initially.

The motivation component must be high for reinforcement. New habits often stem from extrinsic sources, such as encouragement from friends, family, or workplace incentives for a healthier lifestyle. To shift motivation from extrinsic to intrinsic, reduce the frequency of external rewards. If a child receives excessive praise for a simple task, they may not develop internal motivation. Ownership of the behavior is crucial for consistency. Reflecting on your habits through journaling can unveil unconscious actions hindering your goals.

In summary, start with a small, achievable habit and build upon it. Incorporate extrinsic motivators, like a personal trainer, to provide accountability and tools for owning your fitness habits. As you progress, intrinsic motivation will drive you to achieve personal fitness goals. The tools acquired will instill confidence in the gym, complemented by the external encouragement of a welcoming environment, such as Movement Academy!

I’ve included a link that allows you to download a habit-forming document. It gives you tips on how to select habits, what triggers are and what constitutes a reward. The document has a tracker which allows you to cross off the number of days you’ve successfully followed through with your new habit. *cough* like coming to Movement Academy to workout! Click here