How to Create a Habit – a 2-Step Process

When it comes to doing the things that we truly want to do, we allocate our most precious resource to it – our time.


When it comes to doing the things that we know would be good for us, things that we should be doing (like improvements in nutrition and exercise), there is no other way to put it – it can be hard.


A number of books have been written on the subject of habit creation. My favorite, ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg, is a great resource for someone who wants to more deeply understand how habits actually work.


But I want to step back from that and propose a simpler approach – one that fits within your lifestyle. This idea stems from a conversation we had in our staff office several weeks ago. We were reviewing people who hadn’t been to the gym that week and noticed a pattern – the recommendations we made to help people get back on track fell distinctly into two categories based upon the answer to one short question.


I know, I know – what about these two steps?


Step 1: Let’s answer that one question:


“Is your day relatively the same?”


Meaning – are you someone who works a typical 9-5? You generally get up at the same time, take the same route to work, arrive at the same time, eat lunch at the same time, do the same things, and leave at the same time? Your lifestyle is governed by routine. 


Or alternatively, are you someone who’s day can vary a lot in a given week? Perhaps you’re an entrepreneur. Or maybe you own a couple businesses. Maybe you travel a lot. Your lifestyle is governed by your calendar. Google calendar perhaps. Its how you stay on task and get stuff done. This is actually the category I fall into. When I don’t have stuff filled in, I can get easily distracted. Oh look, a pretty butterfly…


Once you’ve identified which person you are, then we can move on.


Step 2: 
If you related to the first scenario, the routine lifestyle, do this: pick a time – before work, the lunch hour, or after work (your only 3 logical options) and make a small change, starting today. It doesn’t matter if it’s choosing the salad at lunch, getting up and coming to workout with our awesome 5:30am crew, or stopping at the gym on your way home. You have to decide. But this must become a part of your routine. Just like brushing your teeth. Just like merging into traffic in the same way, at the same time, at the same speed. All things being equal, you need to make this new habit fit into your already established routine.


If you related to the second scenario, the calendar lifestyle, do this: Go into your daily calendar and make a block of time for working out. You need only to block out one hour if you’re coming to CFG. You must do it ahead of time. Just like you block out time for meetings, or travel, or focused project work, you need to do the same for exercise. And nutrition too, but let’s take it one habit change at a time. Unlike the routine person above, you will likely need to schedule your workout time week by week to fit within your ever-changing work requirements. This is ok. Matter of fact, like I said above, this is the category I fall into. It took me a while to realize this, but ever since I started scheduling my workouts in my calendar, I’ve been more consistent.


(In both cases – don’t say “I don’t have the time.” Yes, you do. There are people with far busier schedules than you and I combined who workout and eat right. Every day. Without fail. Instead of “I don’t have the time,” try instead to say “it’s not important to me.” You have 168 hours in a week. 3 workouts, 3 hours, in a week amounts to less than 2% of your time.)
The best way to be more productive at work, to be a better father, mother, brother or sister…in essence be a better human, starts with the notion that you first need to be a better version of YOU. And that starts with creating a new habit that will make you better.


So to recap:


Step 1 is to identify if you have a routine or calendar driven lifestyle.


Step 2 is to take action based upon #1.


Let us know – what lifestyle to you identify with? What is your first step?


If you need help, reach out and let us know – we’d love to take the first step alongside you!
people working out in a group fitness class


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