Do we make the right decisions (most of the time – I mean, come on, we’re not superhuman)?
Are we mindful of our actions (most of the time)?
Assessing our habits is the first step we can take to becoming fitter and healthier for the long term. If our habits are unhealthy or not consistently good, they will not enable us to progress – lose weight or get fitter and stronger – and we need to consider habitual change or the formation of new ones.
The 3 R’s of Habit Formation:
It’s a fairly simple cycle of reminder, routine and reward which keeps us on track. Knowing the positive effects this can have on our lives encourages us to repeat the cycle. We therefore get better and better at making decisions and sticking to rules – practice makes perfect after all – which allows us to succeed and makes us happy.
Reminder – this is the trigger or cue that reminds you to take a certain action. This could be a physical reminder, something as simple as an alarm set for a session at the gym or a body measurement that you are unhappy with. It could be a realisation, some deeper feeling or an emotion – maybe you feel you don’t look or feel as good as you could. This could be triggered by somebody else – you might suddenly feel inspired and motivated by a friend, family member or colleague.
Routine – This is the action you take. This could be something active, the doing. For example, it could be the getting out for a stroll in your lunch break, the preparation of food and snacks to take with you to work or the choosing the healthier meal off the restaurant menu. It could also be a passive – perhaps the saying ‘no’ – turning down the cake that is offered or the glass of wine. Either way, this is the most important step, this action will be the difference between failure and success.
Reward – This is the benefit you get from taking the action i.e. you hit a weight loss goal or you skin is better or you are stronger in the gym or you simply feel happier. It doesn’t have to be something that is physical or concrete or easily measurable but you just know it is good or having beneficial effects in your life. If the reward is positive, you’ll want to repeat the action. This is the process of habit formation. This means that by practicing this cycle and repeating, you’ll continue to make good choices and make good progress.
So what are good habits to get into if health and fitness is your goal? What do fit chicks do regularly and consistently?
Here’s a little rundown of the things that healthy women do every day. We know if we can do these things too and cement them as habits, we will have more energy, be more productive, get results faster and as a result, become happier in ourselves.
My advice then? Do as they do:
1. They eat foods that don’t come with a nutrition label.
Eating natural, unprocessed foods has an overwhelming effect on health. There are huge benefits for digestion and gut health but also significantly improved energy levels, clearer skin, stronger, healthier hair and nails and a quicker route to success. There’s also a better general ‘feeling’ – a more spiritual health and awareness that comes with eating pure, natural foods.
2. They’re active in some way.
It doesn’t have to be a groundbreaking session in the gym – it might be a gentle jog, a yoga class or taking the pooch out for a long stroll. Either way, it’s proven that with the release of endorphins, it’s easier to stay in that routine of keeping active. Be active to stay active.
3. They think about their goal.
Like the majority of healthy women, always keep in your mind why you live a certain way or why you choose to eat certain things. Even consider setting reminders with alarms, post-it notes and pictures. These are all small actions taken to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The rewards of feeling good, hitting a target, achieving a certain result keeps these women on track to consistently make the right decisions.
4. They balance it up.
They think about everything on balance. For example, if they over eat at lunch, they might have a smaller dinner to compensate. They don’t sweat the small stuff or worry about the mistakes made (it happens!), but they do take control of their actions afterwards and make sure that everything is enjoyed in moderation in a balanced, healthy way.
5. They come with a water bottle.
You can spot a fit chick a mile off when she’s clutching her water bottle. It’s a great habit to get into to ensure that you drink plenty of water. Since a high proportion of our bodies is made up with water, adequate hydration is necessary for many internal processes such as energy production and also has positive physical effects such as clearer skin. Water consumption should be a special consideration for gym-goers because of the greater loss of fluid through sweat.
6. They carry healthy snacks.
They always have something in their handbag to ward off hunger pangs or cravings. Eating for weight loss or maintenance is made much easier when you plan what you eat. However, sometimes, work may spring something unexpected on you, or for any other reason, you simply can’t eat a proper meal so having convenient, healthy snacks on hand is ideal. The healthy women are the ones that always appear to be eating but hey, they must be doing something right!
Re-think the actions you take on a consistent basis and see if you can implement changes to make your habits healthier. Habit formation is a powerful tool and one which when done successfully, will have huge benefits on your life.
Follow the women who have got it right and remember health and happiness should be your priority!