If you’re with me this week, then you likely read last week’s post about step one of building a healthier lifestyle and the mindset shift that has to come first.
Well, now that you’re on board with that mental reconfiguring of physical activity, you might be asking, “okay, great! Now what?!”
And to that I say, HABITUATE HEALTHY.
Get Healthy on Autopilot
Let’s break down what I mean when I say habituate healthy.
First is the habituate part – that means make it a habit.
Now, you may have heard all the habit “rules” or sayings out there, like the 21/90 rule which says it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and 90 days to make a lifestyle change.
Or that it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit.
Or you might even have the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule) in mind.
The reality is that MUCH of our days are spent on autopilot, meaning we’re living by habit or routine. Research goes from 40% all the way up to potentially 95% of our everyday behaviors being habits.
I don’t know about you, but to me it sounds like a no-brainer to develop good habits if 95% of my day is determined by my habits. Even if a conservative estimate of 40% is motivation enough for me!
Because then it means the following: if you have healthy habits that happen automatically (40%-95% of the time) then you don’t have to rely on motivation, willpower or self-control!
Uhhh, where do I sign up!?!?!?!?!
Not having to think about it sounds like the easiest way to get healthy EVER!
And right you are… it IS the easiest way.
Up Front Costs
However, it does take work on the front end of things. And that’s the part that trips people up when they’re going at this alone.
If the habits aren’t deliberately created beforehand, then the 40%-95% relies on whatever habits just happen to be in place.
That goes back to the idea of living life by default or by design. The beauty is that you get to choose!
I recommend all my clients get started with habit stacks – where you attach one habit to another – because it has the power to instantly form a new habit. (yes, I said instantly – no typo there)
Then, even as you’re figuring out the second part of “habituate healthy”, you’re still making progress toward healthy.
Which brings me to the second part of the up front costs is that as you’re figuring out what healthy habits you want as part of your lifestyle, you’ll want to figure out what your version of healthy actually looks like.
I’ve written an entire post on what I mean and why you should have your version of what healthy is, so I won’t re-write it here.
But when you’re designing your habits, it helps to have your version of healthy in mind because you’ll want your habits designed to get you there.
You don’t want to design habits that are other people’s ideals of health. For example, I have a goal of being able to do 5 pull ups by year end. But if you have no interest in doing pull ups, why would you design a habit stack like mine where every time I go up the stairs I do a pull up? (you wouldn’t)
So when you have your health goals and your vision of healthy in mind, you can design your habits purposefully. And only then are you on your way to habituating healthy, every day throughout the day (40%-95% of time!).