Creating New Habits

Posted by Leslie Padorr on

Confession time:  I hate exercising.  In my whole life, if I wasn't working at a desk, I was reading a book or watching a movie. I always knew that martial arts were beneficial but convinced myself that I lacked the discipline and athletic ability to pursue them.

I'm very grateful to the many teachers I've recently encountered who have helped me understand the value of movement.  While I don't want to run a marathon any time soon, I do want to be more active and flexible. 

Katy Bowman's Book Whole Body Barefoot is so inspirational. 

But at first I found it quite overwhelming.  I wondered, how can I adopt that lifestyle and make so many changes?  

Author James Clear has some useful tips in his Blog Post How to Build New Habits.  One is to start with a very small, very do-able goal and then gradually build on it.  Many people try to accomplish too much and then give up.  Starting with a small step which you repeat day after day, you can feel proud of your achievement.  After it's become an integral part of your schedule, it becomes easy to add on as needed.

Another tip is to add a new behaviour to something that you already do regularly.  Examples would be massaging your feet while you watch TV, balancing on one foot while waiting in a lineup or rolling a texture ball under your feet while you do the dishes.

James Clear also says, never skip the new habit twice in a row.  This is good advice.  If you find you can't keep it up every day, adjust it so you can do it daily.

Once you start seeing those results, you're encouraged to keep going.  Research shows it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic.  At that point, it's so natural that you don't feel right if you miss it.  It's the momentum of the daily practice that really brings results.  

What's your method for creating new habits?  What's worked for you?  What is a new habit you'd like to build?

 


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