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Change Your Habits, Change Your Life

People often ask me how I stay so committed to my goals, such as eating clean and staying on top of my workout and nutrition routines. The honest answer is that it has very little to do with me, it has everything to do with the habits I've formed. While it is impossible to change your destination over night, you can certainly shift your direction. Through the power of forming new habits, you can literally change your life.

Your life is essentially the culmination of the communication you have with yourself and others, the habits you form, and the actions you take. Each area is a beast to slay in its own right, so we're going to focus on habits for now. Like Tony Robbins says, "where focus goes, energy flows." So, let's get laser-focused on what a habit is and how they can be formed.

By definition, a habit is: a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance; an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.

I'll show you this in action with two examples:

1) Have you ever woken up at a specific time everyday for an extended period of time? Let's say you developed the habit of waking up at 5:00am every single day. Now, let's pretend that today is your day off and you really just want to sleep in. What you may see happen is that you will still wake up at 5:00am, despite not wanting to. Why? A habit was formed and your body's circadian rhythm is going to cause you to wake up at the same time you do everyday. Effortless and involuntary, but creating the habit to get to that point is where you put in the most effort.

2) Have you ever taken the same route to work at the same time every day and then one day needed to go in the opposite direction, but you were distracted and busy singing in the car so you still proceeded to go in the direction you usually take out of force of habit?

At a very basic level, that's how a habit works. It all starts with the discipline to continue doing something repeatedly until it becomes a habit, because once it becomes a habit, you will won't even have to think about performing the action. As far as how habits are formed, I believe it takes a few key elements: knowing your outcome (goal), being disciplined until it's formed, and remaining consistent.

In my own experiences, I've found that it's astronomically more difficult to try and overhaul every area of your life at once. It's substantially easier to focus on forming one or two new habits at a time, as opposed to jumping straight into all of them at once. Starting off with one one or two habits would be ideal, as it's much easier to form more after new ones have already been established.

I knew that starting my day off right was the most important set of habits to form into a routine. My morning routine contains multiple key areas of importance, such as a healthy breakfast, gratitude, and exercise. I'll share an example of one of my mornings to help give you an idea of what you can do as well:

Every day I wake up before the sun and immediately begin my morning routine. I start my day off by going to the bathroom (TMI, I know, but when you drink about 3 gallons of water each day that's the first stop in the morning). At this point, I'm still pretty much a zombie as I stumble into the kitchen to boil water for my tea while I make a healthy nutrition shake and a banana for breakfast. While I drink my tea, I find some motivational quotes that resonate with me to share with the world on my social media and in my private groups with clients. After this I begin writing in my gratitude journal, where I kick-off my day with thoughts of what I'm thankful for and also tend to write down my goals and any lessons I've learned recently. From here, the routine is almost done before the chaos of the day ensues. My final step is prepping for my workout and heading out to get in my exercise for the day.

It's important to note that this routine was formed one habit at a time. My healthy nutritious breakfast shake with a banana is a habit I formed 4 years ago, then everything else followed suit. I started one discipline at a time, to create one habit at a time, to change my life one day at a time. Whether it's in my morning routine, my nighttime routine, or anything in between, it all started with a goal in mind. With each goal I knew there would be obstacles, but when you focus on the outcome and not the obstacle, everything tends to work out.

Focus on what works best for you as you begin to form new habits. I hope that sharing a few of mine helps you, but it's not necessary to do exactly what I do. Find some areas of your life you want to improve and set a goal to work on them. With that goal in mind, start working the discipline muscle and do something daily until it becomes a habit. This is the surest way to drastically change your life, by the compound effect of consistent action. Change your habits, change your life.

"You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great."~Zig Ziglar

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