When it comes to embracing a life of healthy habits, forget willpower or having to ‘stick’ to anything…
It’s all about finding your why…and rigging your environment!
Rachael Woolston from Girls Run The World is here to help you establish some good habits and stick with them…
Discover your trigger, behaviour and reward
Figure out these three things and then set your home or workspace up so that your trigger is always visible if it is a positive thing, or hidden if it’s for negative behaviour.
For instance, when it comes to running or riding, your trigger could be a training plan pasted to your fridge door. The behaviour would be going out for a run, and the reward, feeling pumped full of feel-good endorphins when you get home. As the old saying goes, you never regret a good run or ride.
For behaviour you want to avoid, bury the trigger and make it difficult to create the behaviour – if you want to cut down on alcohol, don’t have a selection of wine or beer sitting in your fridge!
For things you like doing, make it easier to do them, for things you want to stop doing, make the triggers and behaviours harder to perform.
Design your environment for good behaviour
Relying on willpower alone to start running or to eat healthily is always going to be hard; having to resist temptation will just drain your energy.
Instead, remove temptations and rig your home to encourage positive behaviour. For example, if you always find it hard to switch off, buy an alarm clock and leave your phone out of the bedroom so you’re not tempted to scroll.
If you’ve got to get up early for a run or bike ride, pre-pack everything you might need, including your shoes so there is nothing that will get in the way of allowing your brain to say, ‘I haven’t got time now to find my running socks at the bottom of the laundry basket.’
Become part of a community
It’s not just your environment that affects your behaviour but those in it, whether that’s online or in the real world. Seeing other people doing the things you want to do, help inspires you and it holds you accountable. The consistency of doing something everyday creates the behaviour, while seeing others sharing their daily workouts keeps you accountable.
Set a goal that inspires but doesn’t terrify
Consistency is the easiest way of building good habits, little things done every day rather than one massive big goal. With each mini-daily goal achieved, you build your confidence and behavioural norm.
Be kind to yourself
Don’t get us wrong, if you’re the kind of person who often gives up on something with the refrain, ‘Oh, it just wasn’t for me,’ or ‘Now is not the right time’, building healthy habits or sticking to a programme is never going to work. On the flip-side, being overly critical or harsh is not great either.
Instead, recognise that sometimes, things get in the way in life and that doesn’t mean giving up, it just means recognising that it’s a tiny bump in the road. The trail still continues ahead and you can keep on following that direction, one mile after the other.
Article brought to you by the Official Training Partner for Brighton Marathon Weekend, Girls Run The World