I was reading an Interesting book from the field of ‘Positive Psychology’ recently that highlighted an interesting take on forming habits that I hadn’t been exposed to before.
Research shows us that adopting new behaviours or breaking old habits may be harder than even we realize and that most attempts to change will result in failure. This is especially true with exercise. The key is to think about change differently; rather than trying to be self-disciplined, we need to introduce ‘Rituals’.
A ritual is an established or prescribed procedure. For rituals we define exactly what it is we want to do and we define exactly when it is we want to do it. Think of a ritual like brushing your teeth or even turning up to that weekly art class without fail. You will brush your teeth without even thinking about it and not miss a class if your life depended on it. The key aspect behind successful rituals like these examples is that they are backed by deeply held values. So being creative and socializing with others that are creative also may be a value that you hold dearly, so missing a class is not an option.
See where I am heading with this?
When creating exercise rituals for ourselves they need to be important to us and be a value that we hold. If we have that covered than we simply define our new ritual for ourselves.
For example: “My exercise ritual is to exercise 4 times per week at 6.15am. I will wake at 5.45am and leave for the gym at 6am. I will do 30 minutes cardio first on the cross-trainer followed by resistance training for 25 minutes. I will finish with 5 minutes stretching. When I return home I will have a protein smoothie for breakfast!”