Podcast: Play in new window | Download
You’ve heard of the never-ending auto-refilling block of chocolate right? It’s what ever flavour you most desire. Even a combo.
Mine would be part 70% Lindt, part white like a Milkybar, part Dark Pixie Caramel and part Malteser.
Sounds good right?
Perhaps it’s something you used to dream about as a kid. However now the thought of such a miracle stress’s me out! Like a buffet. I’m really not a fan of the all-you-can-eat buffet format.
In todays show I’m revisiting HABITS. Specifically: How To Master Your Habits.
The thing is, as much as it’d be brilliant if there was a one size fits all best approach to optimal habit formation, like most things health and body gain that’s just not the way it works.
Perhaps YOU could actually handle the never-ending block of chocolate?
It’s worth knowing if you could.
In fact it’s Part 1 in the 4 Step Habit Mastering Framework I want to share today. The time of the actionable is sprinkled throughout today.
Before we get rolling with my framework please know there is no right, wrong or BEST way to be.
It’s just about creating the habit that is aligned with YOUR natural tendencies.
Part ONE: Are you the RULES Eater… the ABSTAINER?
Or, Are you the GUIDELINES Eater… the MODERATOR?
In relation to food I’ve previously talked about The Rules or The Guidelines Eater. To recap…
First: The RULES Eater.
That’s the person that likes to have a plan to stick to. You actually find it FREEING to not have to worry about what to eat when.
You just want to know it’s going to work. You don’t want to ever waste energy thinking “Is this ok?” or “Can I get away with this?”
If you have a super-tempting-type-trigger food (mine is extra crispy hot chips!) you actually find it easier to just abstain from that food and never eat it. You can’t stop at one… you can’t stop at half a bowl however you can tell yourself “I don’t eat chips” or even “I’m free of hot chips.”
Maybe, in contrast you’re: The GUIDELINES Eater?
That’s the person that hates the exact plan to stick to. You’d see it as RESTRICTIVE and BORING and you like to eat what you happen to feel like eating on the day, at that time… and you certainly don’t know what that’ll be in advance!
You’re able to keep your fav foods in the house (I really don’t get you!) and moderate how much you eat. That gorgeous block of Lindt 70%? You’re absolutely fine with enjoying just 1-2 little squares each evening.
One. Are you the RULES / ABSTAINER Eater? Or, Are you the GUIDELINES / MODERATOR Eater?
Once you know which one you are, the decisions you need to make in advance to make it easier to stick to your good habits will be clear. For example:
=> As a RULES Eater you really need to clear home and work from all super-tempting-type-trigger food.
=> As a GUIDELINES Eater it’s important to get clear on the general guidelines that work for you. As I covered in the lean, clean series where I spent a show each on lean, clean breakfasts / lunches / dinners the rules eater can follow the exact rules… however as a guidelines eater you go with what you feel like – and that can lead to missing out on some of the quality fuel I’d love you to get every single day (ideally every single meal). I’ll link to the lean, clean series in the show notes however here’s a good guideline: Start with a serving of lean protein. Add 2-4 cups of different salad greens and fibrous veg. Finish with a satisfying good fat.
Part TWO: has to do with how you respond to expectations. Specifically INNER EXPECTATIONS and OUTER EXPECTATIONS.
So inner expectations would be those you set for yourself. Perhaps the habits you choose to form like starting your day with a green juice or going alcohol free Monday-Thursday.
Outer expectation are those set for you by others. Perhaps a work deadline or the eating plan your trainer gives you.
Credit to author Gretchin Rubin for this information.
Your past experiences will give you a good idea as to whether you are driven more strongly by inner or outer expectations. When did you get great results and what did you have in place?
If the only time you stuck to regular exercise was when you played a team sport or had a personal trainer then perhaps it’s outer expectations? Here’s another way to work it out: Does showing someone your food diary work for you?
For me that means nothing. I don’t care if I let someone else down in relation to MY goal. I care if I let me down. So I’m an inner expectations chick. Again there’s no better way to be… and you can be a bit of both. The important thing is to understand what helps you to master your habits.
Two. Are you the person compelled by INNER EXPECTATIONS or OUTER EXPECTATIONS? Or both?
Once you know which one you are, again there are some decisions to make in advance to make it easier to stick to your good habits. For example:
=> As an INNER EXPECTATIONS person it’s one thing to know you don’t want to let YOU down however you need to get emotional leverage on yourself for this to be really compelling. So this is about aligning the attainment of your goal – and as such the habits you need to form to achieve it – with your most important values and beliefs. I cover this in depth in the #250 show.
=> As an OUTER EXPECTATIONS person it’s vital to lock in a form of accountability for any new habit you want to create.
Whether that’s the trainer or online forum with an individual accountability thread and weekly food diary audit (like the Body Gain Lifestyle!) or even the training buddy you’d feel bad letting down.
Part THREE: KEYSTONE Habits.
Keystone Habits are those most effective actions that when added to your daily and weekly routine will form the foundation from which your other positive habits grow. I covered them in detail in show #170.
Once you stop to think about it your own keystone habits will be clear. Whether you’re doing them right now or not they are the habits that mean everything else just goes better. And when you skip them generally you’re inviting a downward spiral.
Three. I’d love you to pick and commit to 5 KEYSTONE Habits. You don’t need to implement them all at once. One at a time rocks. When you feel confident maintaining one add another. I’ll share my top 5 to get you started and also a few more that are also super valuable and may resonate more with you.
=> 7-8 hours SLEEP.
=> Plan and then consume NUTRITIOUS MEALS consisting of fibrous veg + quality lean protein + good fat and plenty of water.
=> Incorporate at least 20-30 minutes of PHYSICAL ACTIVITY daily.
=> PLAN your day to come the night before.
=> Consciously practice GRATITUDE daily.
Here are some more: MEDITATE (even for as little as 2 minutes daily) / JOURNAL / TIME WITH YOUR LOVED ONES.
It’s absolutely personal and you can take a keystone habit for a spin to see if it works for you and then trade it in for a better option at any time. I did that with meditation for years before it finally stuck.
Part FOUR: LOOP-HOLING Your Habits.
Part four is about creating a self awareness around those crafty ingenious little excuses – those LOOP HOLES – you make up to evade a good habit. Again I first heard of this concept via author Gretchin Rubin and now I’ll make it applicable specifically to your body gain goal.
Here’s an important distinction: Loop-holing your habits involves invoking an on the spot reason why you can break the habit. In contrast you can of course mindfully decide in advance to break a habit. The difference is how you feel after.
If it’s just an excuse you know it. You feel guilty.
If it’s a mindful decision you enjoy the experience and you look back on it with pleasure while moving forward on track with the good habit.
Once you know which loop-holes you regularly invoke, you can start to out plan them to make it easier to stick to your good habits. Here are some common loop-hole examples:
=> This doesn’t count. You know, “This doesn’t count because I’m on holiday / I’m sick / it’s Christmas.”
Or maybe, “This doesn’t count because I’m just nibbling while I make the kids dinner / I skipped lunch / it’d go to waste”
=> You only live once. That’s when, “Everyone else is / It might be my last-ONLY-chance.”
Or maybe, “Isn’t it more important to accept me as I really am? Without trying to conform to societies ideals. It’s about loving me on the inside!”
=> It’s just one/once. True, “It’s only one skipped training session / one sleep in / one desert / one ride home rather than walk home.” However, How many ‘just ones’ does it take to derail a good habit or enforce a bad habit??
=> I’ll make up for it tomorrow. HA! Sometimes you even believe it at the time you utter, “I’ll spend twice as long at the gym tomorrow.” Or “I’ll eat half the cashews tomorrow.” However, How often do you honestly come through for YOU tomorrow?
=> Concern for others. For example, “She’s gone to so much trouble I really can’t say no to a home cooked cookie or two / a piece of birthday cake / a carb-fest-dinner when I’ve already eaten / a second helping of carb-fest-dinner.” Or “I can’t let him eat alone – he’d feel bad – and he’s making an effort by offering to just share one dessert.”
There are likely limitless types of loop-holes through which you could escape your great habits if you choose to.
Humans are awesome at reasoning ourselves out of a great decision however thankfully we’re just as capable of reasoning ourselves into continued great decisions too.
Four. The last sprinkling of actionable today is to: Choose the ONE loop-hole you most commonly invoke and out plan it.
It may be as simple as getting really clear on how you feel AFTER invoke a loop-hole. That self awareness is often enough. To get clear on how disappointed you feel when you let yourself down and to focus on that – on the desire to avoid that – when you’re next tempted to loop-hole.
That’s almost it for me today. I know there’s a bit of work involved in Habit Mastery. However as always it’s time to Back Yourself and remember you only need take it one step at a time. Todays quote is curtesy of Brian Tracy: “Winners make a habit of manufacturing their own positive expectations in advance of the event.”
I hope you can join me for the Wednesday Weigh-in show. I’m covering: Stop Allowing Past Experiences To Define You.
If you liked this you’ll also like: Weight Loss Success Habits.
If you’re yet to share the Healthification love – just click here to zip over to iTunes and leave an honest rating and review. It’d help me out big time. With gratitude, Kate.