How often do you start an exercise program full of motivation and get into it all gung-ho..... for about 4 days, then stop because the excitement and motivation has worn off because now it's just hard and you don't like it and life is too busy and .... and .....
You and so many others are all affected by this. It is not uncommon whatsoever! But what now? Are you destined to never get into an exercise routine or achieve the results you want or MUST get in order to be happier and healthier?
No. There is absolutely a way for EVERYONE to get into an exercise routine, you just need to know how to do it.
The answer is actually very simple. In fact, it's so simple that you'll think it's totally bonkers! Intrigued?
Of course you are!
The answer is MINI HABITS.
I'm pretty sure everybody has heard of habits, but how many of you have heard of MINI habits?
MINI habits are essentially a habit that is so small, it is almost impossible to not do it.
Before I give you an example of a mini habit, I want to give you a bit more info on why it's so easy to fall off that damn bandwagon to start with. Firstly, motivation does not last long. You come up with a goal, like eating cleanly for a month. The first day you're super excited. You go to the supermarket, buy a trolley full of fresh produce and meats and make some wonderfully tasty, super healthy meals for the next couple of days. Then, you're over it. It's not exciting anymore. You can smell your neighbours Fish and Chips wafting over the back fence and you're miserable because you now have to deny yourself in order to achieve your goal. So, you go to the pantry and think to yourself, "I'll just have one chocolate biscuit". Then after eating one, you think, "Well now I've blown the clean eating plan, what the heck, I may as well eat another 3 or 4". The day after the same thing happens, but instead of just the biscuits you add on some ice cream. Oh oh. Clean eating plan is now out the window. CRAP.
Right, so our motivation is lost after only a few days, what now? Next, we move on to willpower. Yeah, yeah. I can hear you saying, "Oh no, I have zero willpower". That's not true. Everyone has willpower, but what we also have is a finite amount of willpower we can exercise on any given day and various things that happen to us during our day can reduce or improve that willpower. I'm not going to go into exactly what types of things do that (because there's wayyyyy too much information so that will have to be saved for another post). However, just know that each day your willpower whittles down and if it's low, then things like trying to exercise or stop yourself from eating a cookie are EXTREMELY difficult.
The reason people are unable to instill new habits, is because they try to do too much at once. In the simplest terms, if your new habit requires more willpower than you can muster, you will fail. If your new habit requires less willpower than you can muster, you will succeed.
So, how do we overcome this problem?
How do we do these mini habits?
Mini habits are exactly as they sound. First, you choose a habit or change you’d like to make—let's look at exercise, seeing as that's what this post is meant to be all about(!)
Now shrink this habit down until it is “stupid small,” a term used by Stephen Guise (author of "Mini Habits"). He uses this because when you say the requirement out loud, it is so small that it sounds stupid. Here are a couple examples you can use for exercise:
1. Do 1 pushup each day.
2. Do 1 squat each day
3. Put on your workout clothes
Easy, right? You could complete any of these things without batting an eyelid. Meeting these daily requirements 100% of the time is stupid easy.
Your mini habit is also known as the minimum daily requirement. For instance, if you chose the mini habit of 1 pushup per day, all you need to do to succeed each day is one pushup. BUT, after you've done your one pushup, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from doing 2 or 5 or 10 or adding on a whole workout. These are known as bonus reps. Aim for your one pushup and if you end up doing more, awesome. If you don't, it's still awesome, because you achieved your goal.
It works because your brain falls for the bait.
“Oh, only 1 pushup? I can totally do that.”
And then you start. And you’ll find that once you start, good things happen.
Once your mini habit turns into a habit that you do without thinking, it's time to either start a new one or increase the habit. Let's say from 1 pushup to 5.
Before you know it, you will be a habitual exerciser. Sweeeeeet! And you did it without even trying! BONUS!
The one thing to keep in mind though, is once your habit is established, it can become boring. So, in the case of exercise, you need variety. I'm thinking of starting up a project that will help you spice up this habit.
I'm considering starting up a Supermum Monthly Workout Program, where you receive new workouts each and every month. Does that sound interesting? I'd love for you to fill out this quick survey below and tell me your thoughts...
You can change nearly any area of your life; and at one mini habit at a time, it’s easier than you think.
When you remove the pressure and expectations, you allow yourself to start.
What mini habit(s) will you start today?