How Habits Change Who You Are And The Results You Get
This is a time-sensitive article, where I talk about:
- My personal experience with habits change, and how creating good habits has not just changed my life but who I am
- Today I’ll be doing a FREE live webinar for people who want to make exercise a habit. So if you’re “lazy”, or if you’re”procrastinating”, then scroll to the bottom, or click here to register. You can either attend by phone or through the web.
During the Labor Day weekend I realized the extent habits change you from within.
Just like any other weekend, I went to the gym. To my disappointment, the gym was closed! Ugh, I went all the way to the gym only to find it closed. I was angry at them for not clearly displaying their Labor Day holiday hours, and for not updating their website. I was very unhappy to miss the workout I was so looking forward to.
And this is when it hit me. Had this happened a few years ago, I wouldn’t have been angry for NOT working out. I would have been relieved! I would have thought: “Yay, I don’t have to exercise, and I have an amazing excuse for not doing it, so no need to feel guilty either!”
That’s just one of the instances that shows how much I have changed. It’s not that I hated exercise in the past – I didn’t. It’s just to an extent, I did see it as a chore.
I did see exercise as something I had to do, more than as I something I really wanted to do.
Maybe that’s why I was inconsistent with exercise back then. I was in need of a habits change. I used to exercise 1-3 times per week. I now do some type of exercise almost every day, and if I don’t exercise, then my body will make me do something about it.
That’s because I now clearly feel it that my body needs to move. If I, say, spend the whole day at home, mostly sitting, my body will be asking for some type of movement. It’ll feel stiff and just lethargic, weird, not sure how to explain it the sensation.
Even if I don’t want to do a work out, I’ll need to either go for a walk, or do a few exercises at home. I’m now so in tune with my body that the “I need to move” sensation is loud and clear and enough to make me do something. When my body speaks, I listen.
I didn’t have that “listening” skill a few years. That’s something I developed. It came along with building better habits.
Because habits change who you are, they are changing your whole identity. What you like, what you don’t like, how you relate to yourself, to others, how you go about pursuing your goals. But what are habits exactly?
Habits are the activities you do without thinking about it. It’s who you are.
Habits change you from the inside out. We don’t think of the following examples as habits, but they are.
Some people are kind, right? Others are rude.
The reality is that some people are habitually kind and some others habitually rude. Their instant response to others is either kind or rude, depending on the habit they’ve built. They might think that it’s their nature to be kind or rude, but it’s not really. It’s their second nature, because both of those characteristics, are actually consisted of behaviors that have been repeated so many times, they just do them without thinking about it.
Other habit examples:
- Putting your seat-belt on when you get in the car
- Unlocking the door with your right or left hand
- Washing your hair, your way of doing it. Yes, you have a small routine. Maybe you do circular movements. Maybe you use three fingers while others use their whole hands. I bet you now have to think about that you really do when you wash your hair. That’s how deeply ingrained the habit is!
All your life is a sequence of habits. You wake up at a certain time. Eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed. The way you talk to others (do you say “hello”, “good morning”, or “hey”?). Yes, all these are habits.
And they can all change if you want to. You can change. As your habits change, your whole life changes.
You can learn to wash your hair another way. Yes, at first, you’d need to apply conscious thought to it. You’d need to stop yourself from doing your “normal” hair-washing routine, and instead do something else.
At first, it’ll feel uncomfortable.
But the more you repeat your new routine, the stronger your new habit becomes, and the less conscious effort you need to apply to it. Sooner or later, your new habit will take you on autopilot.
Of course, habits change is tricky. Just imagine you decide to unlock the front door with your left rather than your right hand. If you fail to think about doing it the new way when you’re at the doorstep, then you’ll unconsciously repeat your old routine. You’ll get in the house, and then (maybe) realize, “oops!”
Now that was a silly example. Why would you ever want to change with what hands you open the door? But exchange this example with waking up at 7 am rather than at 8 am. If you “go with the flow”, then you’ll just wake up at 8! Oops!
Same with exercise. If you’re not strategic enough, you’ll find yourself sitting at the couch, having completely missed the yoga class you planned to attend. Oops!
Or, take anger issues. If you repeat your old routine of how you respond to certain situations, you’ll get angry! Because getting angry is a habit. Time for a habits change?
Now imagine a world without habits.
Welcome to the world of a new-born. No sleeping habits. No eating habits. No ability to walk (yes, that’s a habit too!), or use your hands.
Terrible! You wouldn’t be able to do anything, other than the habits that you have no control of anyway, like breathing, or your heart beating.
Just imagine having to figure out how your shower works, just like you have to figure it out when you’re at a hotel. When you’re not at home, you have to think about actually using the shower, the process is not automatic. You have to examine the mechanism to see where the hot water is, how to use the faucet, etc.
In a world without habits you’d have to figure our your shower every day! Repetition wouldn’t make things easier because habits are not being formed! Over and over again, you’d have to think about how to actually use this shower, all with the motor skills of a baby (because motor skills are also habits)! Right. Terrible!
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had good habits instead of bad habits?
Just imagine doing the right (vs. the wrong) things automatically, without you having to think about it:
- Eating veggies instead of cake
- Exercising instead of sitting on the couch
- Drinking water instead of being dehydrated
- Going to bed earlier vs. later
I’ve written all about changing your habits in my book: “Surprisingly…Unstuck: The power of small, healthy habits in a world addicted to instant results”.
Regarding the exercise habit in particular I’ll be holding a live webinar tonight (see below)!
FREE Webinar: Are you ready for a habits change + start exercising more?
Today, Wednesday, at 5.30 pm Pacific Time, I’ll be holding a FREE, live webinar for everyone who wants to stop being “lazy” and exercise more.
The topic? The Cure For Lazy Exercisers! We’ll discuss:
- What to do to get BIG Results – think flat belly and firm butt – and never lose them!
- Why people who WANT to exercise, don’t exercise (hint: it’s not lack of time!).
- The difference between small and big goals and why it matters (and why exercising for 5 min/day may be better than 30 min/day).
- Why you’re wired to love exercise, even if you feel you hate it, and how to unearth this love and live healthy, energetic + toned for the rest of your life!
I expect the call to end by 7 pm. I’m probably not going to record this, so if you want to be there, then be there! You can either attend by phone, or through the web. Drop your name and e-mail here to register and get the details on how to attend.
Again, it’s free!
Photo Credit: Bryan Mills