Last week’s blog we dove into the topic of stress and the power it has over our mind. Habits are essential for combating stress. Well-developed habits allow us to rely less on willpower and self-control, helping with long term success in overall health.
Oftentimes, when someone is starting their health journey, they are extremely motivated– they focus on whole foods, they eliminate sugary sodas and limit alcohol intake, they are consistently going to the gym and executing their training to the best of their abilities. But eventually things start falling through the cracks– they start missing a few training sessions here and there, they start losing track of their nutritional intake and rely on fast foods, and they start slowing down the progress they were making. Why does this happen? Motivation is not forever, and once it fades, you are left with your discipline and habits.
For this reason, it is imperative to focus on building habits that force you to operate on automatic when life throws curveballs that could potentially derail you from your tracks. We have written about this topic extensively (previous blogs listed below), but its importance is worth highlighting over and over.
When you look at someone who is resilient with their routine, they are unphased by set backs, they adjust their plan as needed, and they usually never talk about how much they are dreading their training session. They walk into the gym and they start their work. They just do it. In this blog, we’ll talk about habits of resilient people.
Build your Resilience
The more resilient you are, the less likely you will be affected by stressful situations. With training- and life- you will experience setbacks and failures. Your response to these life events is what defines you. When training gets hard, do not use it as an excuse to give up or halt your training. Not every session will go the way you want it to go, but you will definitely learn something from each one– whether it is how to improve your form for next time, or how to manage your frustrations with a failed set. Either way, you’ll strengthen your mind and body.
How do you build resiliency with your habits?
Adjust your game plan accordingly. If you want to be strong, you must train for a long time and consistently. If you want to master a skill, you must actively work towards it. You can’t do pull ups if you don’t practice it, and you can’t deadlift 2.5x your body weight if you don’t stick to a training program. It takes a long time to get there, and there will be setbacks and road blocks throughout the way.
Having a plan will get you there, but the plan must be well-written and reasonable in its progression. If you take too big of a step, then it can add to your life stressors, which will cause you to be turned-off by the program and drop your training. Instead, make a plan that has small wins, gets you to consistency, and helps establish a routine of training. When life gets in the way (as it does), be willing to adjust accordingly instead of giving up.
Learn Perseverance. As mentioned above, things happen in life, which creates a ripple in our routine. Learn to come back from those setbacks, and come back even stronger. Use adversity as an opportunity for growth and triumph.
Create your Routine. As mentioned in our previous blogs, routine is essential for developing habits. In your routine, make sure to do the following:
Set time for yourself. Use this time to reflect, express gratitude, set expectations for the day, or do some self-reflection
Set non-negotiable times. For example, every day at 8am I will go on a 30-minute walk, nothing will interfere with my daily walk time unless it is an emergency.
Set Short-Term Goals. In addition to establishing a daily routine, you must be able to define short term goals so that you can remind yourself of your purpose, assess your progress, and keep some type of motivation in your system.
Train Hard. Not every training session should be leaving you feeling drained and forcing you to go above the maximum threshold, there is a time and place for that. Your training plan should be smart and well-thought out in order to give the body proper time to recover. However, you should training to maximum effort on occasion (depending on your training plan) in order to build strength/endurance/skills, test your limits, and to build the mental fortitude needed to execute a high-intensity, difficult workout. If you don’t push yourself beyond your limits, then you will not be able to practice how your body and mind respond under stressful situations.
Habits are powerful, which is probably why there are a myriad of books out there about building habits. The ultimate goal is to operate on discipline and be resilient to challenges you may experience. This takes time to build, but it’s worth the effort.