We often get derailed when our plans get pulled off track. When our diet plan encounters a bump in the road (or a box of doughnuts). Or our day runs behind schedule and we can’t fit in our usual training session. As always, life has a funny way of throwing the unexpected at us and it can make building new habits difficult, since we tend to default to the easy option when the unexpected or difficult gets in our way.
But, that’s not what should be happening. While setting up new habits is difficult, there’s no denying that, we can’t only work on them when the going is good. Sometimes we have to tough out the hard times and do our best to reinforce the habits we are trying to build.
So today I have a tip for you to help with exactly that.
When things go wrong, you have to tap into the identity of the type of person you are trying to become. What would that person do in this circumstance?
If you are trying to lose weight, get stronger and healthier, what would that type of person do?
If a box of doughnuts is brought out unexpectedly, you might say that you’ll have one, because you know you can be flexible with your food, enjoy the doughnut and stay on track. Or you might say that that isn’t what you fancy eating right now, because you are becoming more mindful of your hunger and know that you aren’t hungry right now.
If you miss your workout, you know that you can do a 10-15 minute circuit instead. While it may not be the same as a heavier gym session, you know every workout reinforces your identity and overall goal.
Whatever comes up, tap into the identity of the person you are trying to be, and use them to help. Your habits reinforce that identity, and the identity makes choosing your actions a whole lot easier.
Motivation is a struggle for many of us just now. We struggle to get good workouts done with minimal equipment and space. We struggle to find the motivation to prepare healthy meals. We struggle to switch off from work and relax because they both happen in the same place.
Because things are a struggle, and we repeatedly “fail” to get them done, our motivation to try again drops a little more each time. Until, eventually, we just say “f**k it” and stop trying.
It’s ok though, we’ve all been there. And there is a way around it. A couple, actually.
- Change your mindset. One component of motivation may be a sense of autonomy over what we do. Changing your thoughts from “I have to workout/ meal prep/ etc” to “I get to workout/ meal prep/ etc” increases the amount of autonomy over that task, making motivation easier to come by.
- Break it down and schedule it. We don’t often feel motivated to workout or cook a healthy meal at the drop of a hat. It’s often too big a task, and there’s always a more enticing option available to us. But breaking the tasks down in to easily manageable chunks, then scheduling these chunks, makes it much easier to do. And don’t just say you’ll do your workout at 7am (or whenever), actually write it into your diary and stick to it. Start small, build wins, and motivation to continue will build too.
Rollouts are one of my favourite core exercises. They teach you to control your hip and rib position by building anti-extension strength. They challenge your shoulder stability and get your lats working hard. You certainly don’t need many of them to feel like you’ve done a tough workout.
But they can be hard to master, so this weeks video shows a simple way you can gradually build strength, control and confidence with rollouts without the risk of falling flat on your face.
Have a great day,