Know what to do to level-up your physique and life, but simply fail to do it?
Your approach to “eating healthier” is ALL WRONG!
Reckon you need a boat-load of motivation to lose weight?
Just don’t have the willpower to workout? No need!
Monday morning: “I’m gonna smash it at the gym later!” Monday night: I’m sat at home, feet up with a takeaway. What went wrong? I know all too well how it feels as I was stuck in this rut myself recently.
Each week started with “this is the week where things will change”, yet by the end of the week absolutely nothing had changed – just back into the same self-sabotaging habits.
It made no sense on paper to act and behave in ways that didn’t serve, but it was really difficult to break the chain.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit ~Aristotle
In this article you're going to learn:-
• Why relying on willpower and motivation to move forward in life doesn’t work.
• How “enjoying the journey” is far more important than “getting to the destination”.
• How to visualise the person you truly want to be and make it happen.
• How to change your habits so your actions propel you toward an ever better version of you.
I’ve discovered that when you effortlessly automate taking action for small wins – you immediately free up time for the more important things in life.
Using this no-fail approach your self-esteem and confidence soar and you can enjoy a more stress-free lifestyle.
AND you can enjoy all the benefits of the actual habits you successful install - such as better sleep, fat loss, strength gains – anything you want really. Master your habits and the sky’s the limit!
What is a habit?
A habit is simply a routine or behaviour repeated so often, it can be done mindlessly for example, driving a familiar route to work or brushing your teeth.
Powerful and influential people often eat the same things for breakfast and lunch, and wear the same thing to work every single day. Even if there is no need to have a uniform.
Albert Einstein bought several versions of the same grey suit because he didn’t want to waste brainpower in deciding what clothes to wear in the morning.
You are what you do repeatedly every day. Excellence is not an accident – it’s a habit. ~ Greg Plitt #Habit #BodyPhi
Habits are very powerful in both beneficial and destructive ways. Washing your hands before eating and smoking being at the two ends of the spectrum.
And when your goal is fat loss, your eating habits can be more of a problem than your food choices. I’ve seen it time and time again – check out more on this below.
Why have habits?
We have habits out of necessity.
Think about it, if you had to engage your brain 100% of the time for everything in life – you’d struggle to complete a tiny fraction of mundane acts due to the time it would take.
You’d also be chronically exhausted from all the mental stress.It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance – our brain wants and needs to take the back seat to conserve energy. Our lives are effectively a big string of tiny routines or habits.
Anatomy of a Habit
There are typically three parts to a habit:
- The Trigger
- The Action
- The Reward
Let’s go ahead and take the example of brushing your teeth as an example:
In this case stepping into the bathroom first thing in the morning is the trigger for multiple habits triggered in sequence – all completed on autopilot.
Here the action is the mundane task of getting your teeth clean
The habit is complete and a clean and fresh mouth is the reward
New Habits – the wrong way
That’s all very simple – why then is it so difficult to do the stuff we know we should be doing and even really want to do?
Let’s go back and look at our existing habits. They took weeks, months, maybe even years to install depending on their complexity. They’ve also been running for possibly decades.
So when YOU come up with the bright idea of “eating healthier” – you’re up against it due to the sheer competition and “experience” of these old habits.
Guys typically use one of two strategies to get the job done - motivation or willpower. Let’s look at how that goes …
Motivation for even the most dedicated of us comes in waves – it isn’t 100% 365 days per year. If you have to rely on it on days where you aren’t really feeling it, you're not going to succeed.
Let’s face it, the health and fitness industry on social media is alive and well due to people’s lack of motivation. I bet you can’t scroll down five posts without seeing a motivational quote. Whether they actually have the desired effect is another matter!
I’d say that for at least parts of their training career, nine out of ten of my clients I coach do so to boost their flagging self-motivation. If they had to rely on their own supply to get them through their workouts – they’d be sunk.
Motivation just isn’t a reliable tool to get the job done - I see it every day!
Research has shown that repeatedly making decisions throughout the day depletes willpower and can cause bad decision-making when you’ve run out.
President Barack Obama has read the research too.
“You also need to remove from your life the day-to-day problems that absorb most people for meaningful parts of their day. You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits, I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
The only way to get a newbie habit up to speed is to mimic how our already strong habits got started – with tiny almost meaningless steps.
The fewer decisions you have to make the more willpower and energy you’ll have for the important stuff in life. #Willpower #BodyPhi
5 Steps To Life Changes: New Habits – The Right Way
To make your habit upgrades stick for life – repetition of tiny changes is key. They become so mundane, you don’t even have to think about executing them – they just happen.
Smart, successful guys don’t rely on a single BIG consciously-planned daily habit - their success is a result of countless TINY habits that all happen without thought.
Habits are like a tonic for your willpower. Every time you use a habit over willpower – your willpower not only remains untouched – it even gets a boost from the confidence high of your success.
The five steps to creating kick-ass habits are:
- 1. Change Your Thinking
- 2. Go for “small wins”.
- 3. Make a plan.
- 4. Don’t stop
- 5. Celebrate
Lets take a look …
#1 CHANGE YOUR THINKING
IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL
How you think about your new habit is vital to nurturing it’s success. Adopting the mindset that it’s “here to stay” is critical. It’s going to become a best mate – reliable, loyal and on time.
Habit’s like getting out of bed, showering, getting dressed, going to bed - are permanent fixtures in your life. They don’t have a finish line, they’re part of your life-schedule and there for the long haul.
ACT LIKE YOUR HERO
The second key mindshift is how you identify with this change. Take for example a guy who’s vegan - he doesn’t think of himself as someone who eats vegan food – anyone can say that.
No, he IS vegan - can you see the difference? No questions, willpower or decisions about eating meat or not, he just doesn’t - and that’s.
Shifting your identity to be more in line with your goal supercharges success. #BeTheChange #BodyPhi
Shifting your identity to be more in line with your goal supercharges success. Identify others who are effortlessly on point with the habit you’re going for and become more like them.
Or use your hero, real or fictional, it doesn’t matter – and when it comes to executing your habit ask yourself “What would my hero do in this situation?”.
Visualisation is a powerful way to further strengthen this identity and is in itself a great habit to have on your daily list. Top athletes and successful entrepreneurs know this all too well and make good use of it.
Nothing complex - daily take a couple of minutes to close your eyes and imagine your new life. Repetition is the key - Jim Carrey has a great tip to get going with this.
#2 SMALL WINS
This is huge – make the starting point for your new habit so small you just can’t fail for example.
- 10 push-ups every day.
- Drink a glass of water with every meal.
- Get up 5 minutes earlier.
- Park ten spots further away when parking.
The reason this is so effective is that the amount of willpower needed to execute is so tiny it hardly even makes a dent.
Plus, you immediately get back whatever you did use and then some, because you actually succeeded in taking action and did what you said you would! #JustDoIt
#3 MAKE A PLAN
As I’ve mentioned before decision-making drains willpower. It makes sense then that morning is it’s powerhouse – the earlier the hour, the fewer decisions have been made.
Armed with this, I recommend starting your good habits early for the best chance of them being ingrained into your daily lifestyle.
I’m sure you’ve experienced long days, the boss shouting at you, getting stuck in crazy traffic jams and late with deadlines. You arrive home with willpower trailing in on the floor and that cookie dough sitting there gets demolished – didn’t stand a chance!
Hands down, planting habits in the morning has for me and my clients lead to some of the biggest returns on investment. #WinTheMorning
IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ‘EM
The most powerful plan to get your “newbie” on the team relies on power of your already strong old habit – not something extra or new you have to think about. 
Here’s how it works. Let’s say you’d like to become stronger – you’re currently a couch-potato and don’t have a gym membership – let alone know where the nearest one is.
You’ve decided your small win is 10 push-ups a day – but when? Simple – use your “hanging up your coat” habit as you enter the front door after work as your trigger. Drop down and crank out ten pushups.
Boom - your strength habit just sneaked on to your list with the help of an “old-timer” habit of hanging up your coat. And how long did that take? #SmallWin
Piggy-backing on existing old habits is a game-changer.
#4 DON’T STOP
Now you’re up and running it’s crucial not to stop – consistency of the habit is more important than the specific action of habit.
HAVE A PLAN-B
Of course things don’t always go to plan - that’s life and no-one’s perfect. Get up, learn from it and come up with a plan-B so you’re ready next time.
A great way to deal with life’s spanners is to install some success logic – all you computer geeks will be pretty familiar with IF/THEN programming. Let me give you an example:
IF I forget to pack my snacks the night before
THEN I will only buy fruit at the canteen at work
This method is so powerful - it’s secret being pre-deciding what you’re going to do. Remember – no decisions to make equals willpower levels maintained and confidence soars.
Here are some IF/THEN templates you can add to your arsenal.
[Bringing healthy lunch to work]
IF I have to attend a last-minute business lunch
THEN I skip an appetiser and dessert, have meat and veggies for my main.
[Not drinking alcohol for a month]
IF I go out with mates
THEN I let them know the deal beforehand and order diet drinks.
[Working out for 40 minutes at home as soon as you get in from work]
IF I have to work late and go straight out to dinner
THEN I do 60 seconds of body squats – straight back on track next day #SmallWin
[Late for work}
IF I sleep in and haven't time for breakfast before work
THEN I stick to black coffee to blunt hunger – NO using vending machine!
Always keep the reward part of the habit in mind. Don’t forget to stop to smell the roses – celebrate and recognise your small wins and how awesome you are!
- Start reading a new book / audiobook
- Have a nap
- Do something you’re usually to scared to try
- Watch your favourite movie
- Try something new
- Book something fun
- Make plans with mates
- Buy yourself something small
Breaking Bad Habits
It’s more often the case that you actually need to push out a bad habit rather than create a brand new one. However, with the right strategy, this too can be relatively painless.
I’m not saying it’s a pain-free exercise, but the results are well worth the effort. Again long-haul thinking is key! Lets have a look at the two strategies.
#1 HAPPY LIST
Start with a thorough examination of what’s really going on.When and where does your trigger kick off – is it the 10am donut at work for example?
Next – establish the reward you’re getting from your habit. This is a little trickier as old habits have become so subconscious that nine out of ten times you won’t even realise you’re doing them and more importantly are clueless as to WHY you do them.
Pinpointing the exact reward isn’t important though - all rewards are simply being in a happier state than before the habit was executed. The important point is to identify other actions that yield that same happiness.
Start a list of tiny things that boost your happiness such as:
- Listening to music
- YouTube browsing
- Chatting with best mates
- Catching up on social
- Going outside
Then it’s a case of experimenting with a switch. Be patient with this as it won’t happen overnight but with persistence and consistency you will succeed in retraining your unruly bad habit.
#2 OUT OF SIGHT – OUT OF MIND
Why is it much easier to adopt healthier habits when on holiday or on some kind of fitness bootcamp? It’s the environment - everything is set up for success.All the triggers for your bad habits disappear – for example you no longer:
• arrive at work and sit for eight hours
• snack at 10am
• have lunch at 1pm and eat poor food choices
Instead your bad habits are stopped dead in their tracks – no trigger equals no habit. Simple as that. But, how can you take a habit holiday EVERY day and dump those bad habits for good?
The solution I’ve found to be absolutely crucial in my coaching practice and one I’ve had great success with – the “out of sight, out of mind” approach.
Think of all the times where your bad habits happen “just because” it’s easy. Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer, cookies on the counter, donuts near your workstation.
Just the sight of these “trigger foods” causes havoc. Why torture your willpower with temptation and convenience? Don’t keep ice cream at home if it’s like “kryptonite” to you; keep cookies hidden in a cupboard; move the donuts to the staff room.
Effectively send them on a habit holiday.
Hey I love cookies as much as the next guy, and I work 'em in to my food plan from time to time. However, when it’s time to shed bodyfat - you best believe there isn't a crumb to tempt me in the house.
OUT OF SIGHT - OUT OF MIND! #Willpower #BodyPhi
A key point to take on board if you suffer from cravings is recognising that a craving is NOT an uncontrollable urge for the action part of the habit. What you’re really looking for is the reward of the habit.
For example many guys mistakenly think they crave eating chocolate or chocolate itself – no, this is the action part of the loop.
What they really crave is a happiness hit – the reward. Studies back up the feel-good hit that processed foods such as chocolate gives.
With this info under your belt you’re much better equipped to ditch your “cravings” by using your happy list and make the switch to something more in line with your new-found identity.
Lets just recap the process with a quick example:
You crave a Snickers at 4pm at work …
- Your trigger is 4pm at work.
- Your crave a happiness boost at 4pm – NOT a Snickers
- You check your “happy list” and go on Facebook to distract and have fun.
Other daily routines such as the “4:10pm email check” then kick in and you’ve forgotten all about the Snickers.
Boom! You’ve just hacked a bad habit.
As I’ve said before, we all live in the real world – adding other factors such as stress on top of a bad habit, will impact your success.
Keep the long-haul approach in mind. Chalk any bumps along the journey up to experience. Get up, learn and smash it next time. #Persistence #Consistency
IN A NUTSHELL
Using wIllpower or motivation to create lasting change in your life is a bad move.
Upgrade your identity – think, act and eat more in line with who you want to be.
Success is a journey NOT a destination – think of your new habits becoming life-long friends and allies.
Start with small wins – reward yourself when you smash them.
Don’t stop - when things go wrong get back up and persevere
Be consistent with all the above until you're new good habits are on autopilot.
1. BE YOURSELF
Ideal World: Just be authentic in everything you do.
Small Win: After dressing close eyes for 2 minutes and recall a situation you want to be more authentic and visualise a more authentic version of events. There is no need to impress anyone but yourself.
2. GOOD SLEEP
Ideal world: Shoot for 7–9 hours of shut eye every night.
Small win: Switch off all phones, laptops and TVs 5–10 minutes before going to bed.
Ideal world: Download the Headspace app and do 10–20 mins daily.
Small win: Before you get dressed in the morning – take 5 long, deep breaths
4. MINDFUL EATING
Ideal World: Eat without any distractions present. Simply enjoy the food and social interaction.
Small Win: Take 15 seconds before you eat anything to mentally describe it: colour, flavour, texture, temperature …
5. REAL FOOD
Ideal World: 80–90% Unprocessed foods
Small Win: Switch just 1 junk-food item in the day with whole food e.g. apple for Snickers, water for fizzy drink.
6. STRENGTH-BASED TRAINING
Ideal world: Hit the weights 2–4 X per week, with compound exercises in the 8–12 rep range predominantly
Small Win: Not currently training - 10 body squats while brushing teeth or 10 pushups before dinner.
If currently doing 1 x week add 1 x 5/10-minute home bodyweight routine
7. ACTIVE LIFESTYLE
Ideal World: 10,000 steps every day #fitbit
Small Win: Exit elevator 1 floor early on multi-floor trips and take the stairs
Ideal World: 2–3 litres every day.
Small Win: Switch just 1 juice/fizzy drink/coffee for water.
As a final success tip – only tackle say three small-wins at any one time.
Once you feel they’ve gotten a hold – you can start expanding them into full-blow habits. For example your 10-minute digital curfew can stretch to 15, 20, 45 up to 60 minutes before bed.
Remember, your initial small win is always available to call on in emergencies - you can’t fail.
From there you can move on to other areas for small wins and repeat the process. Your small-win habits become ingrained as new positive habits all running on autopilot.