CHANGE TAKES GRIT.
When starting a new habit, any habit, there's a period where the new routine is very fragile.
Your brain will come up with all sorts of excuses why you should stop doing that new thing.
It usually pipes up at the first sign of inconvenience or struggle.
- I’m getting busy, and getting up at 6 am to go to the gym is inconvenient, so take a break, and I’ll start again next month when things settle down.
- Doing some meal prep feels like it takes forever, and I’m tired and hungry now, so I’m going to order out.
- Scapular exercises are boring, so I’m going to stop doing them.
This voice in your head will sound perfectly reasonable and logical.
It is not.
It wants to take the path of least resistance. It wants to stay the same.
This internal resistance to novel activity is a survival mechanism.
Our brain has been shaped by tens of thousands of years of surviving a much crueller, much harsher environment than we live in today.
As such, our brains are wired for survival.
Why does this make change hard?
Changing habits requires a lot of energy.
i) Cognitively and metabolically, change is expensive.
ii) It may sound silly but having to make many new decisions and perform unfamiliar movements requires a lot more calories than being on ‘autopilot.’
iii) For much of our prehistory, calories were hard to come by. So energy conservation was a top priority.
Change, in general, invites the unknown.
i) Uncertainty in itself can be threatening.
ii) Predictable is safe. Unpredictable environments can be dangerous,
That's a lot working against you.
So, here are two things to keep in mind when you feel yourself wavering:
First, the struggle you feel is normal.
- Expecting change to be easy makes every bump in the road look insurmountable.
- So harden up and buckle in.
- You’re probably not going to knock it out of the park on your first try. It may make take a few runs at the new habit to make it stick.
- Change experts suggest that people go through 7-12 serious attempts at a new habit (full-on "I quit" episodes) before cementing the new routine.
Second, the more you reconnect with your goal, the better you'll be able to fend off that voice in your head (...the one with all the excellent reasons not to do this new thing).
- Getting up at 6 am to go to the gym is inconvenient, but I need to be fitter to keep up with my 12-year-old, and the early training session gets it out of the way before the workday gets on top of me.
- Doing weekly meal prep feels like it takes forever. Still, I want my clothes to fit better, and preparing some healthy meals ahead of time will help me make better food choices, leading to the body composition changes I'm looking for.
- Scapular exercises are boring, but doing a pushup without wincing is important to me, so bring on the Shoulder Taps and Band Pull-Aparts!
Staying the same is easy, change takes grit.
Focus on your why.
And if your effort falls short, shake it off and try again.
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