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Episode 232: Learn to Love Your Habits

Video Highlights

Video Highlights:
-Why “motivation” fails
-The secret to your “action”
-Plan to survive your worst day

Learning From Superhumans: The Incredible Fitness and Success of Jack LaLanne

All right. It’s almost New Year’s. We’ve got to start talking about behavior change.

You’ve heard me talk about this a lot in previous blogs.

If you’ve been to any of our courses, you know that I always say that the number one job of all health and fitness professionals is actually helping clients create new behaviors, behavior change.

It’s awesome to know vision drills, vestibular drills, movement stuff, how to make people strong, how to make them fast. That’s all really fun, but it only actually works whenever we can help people change their actually lives to enact the new behaviors.

This time of year, people are always talking about it. I don’t see as much happening this year, which is kind of nice because I’m not a huge believer in New Year’s resolutions because resolutions by their very nature seem to tell us that we really need to get our will power ramped up for the coming year.

And if there’s anything that modern science has taught us about behavior change is that your environment and systems are much more important than willpower.

Now, I’ve talked about this a lot. One of my favorite writers on this particular topic is a gentleman named James Clear, and what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna actually link to one of his articles below this in the transcript because I want you to read it.

It’s a really great little article about a gentleman named Jack LaLanne. Most of you, if you’ve been in the fitness industry, know him.

He was really a legend and an icon in the fitness industry for so many years. James wrote a great article about him recently about just showing up, just being consistent and having systems in place. That’s really what I wanna talk to you about going into the new year.

If you are thinking about creating any kind of change, what I’m gonna tell you is that your willpower matters far less than your environment and your systems.

And in James’ article, he’ll talk a lot about trust systems. Trust systems, build systems into your life that allow you to do the things that are important to you.

Years ago I read this great article, and it basically said we need to love the things that we want and love the habits that lead to the things that we want. And I think that’s the real challenge. People wake up, they’re like, “Hey, I wanna be lean. I wanna be strong. I wanna be this.” That’s easy to love.

The challenge is learning to love the habits that get you there.

Now, as you start to think about this, I’m gonna give you a couple of other pieces of advice as you’re thinking about where you wanna go in 2018.

Number one, one of my other favorite quotes is from Tony Robbins, and he says, “The vast majority of people overestimate what they can accomplish in one year and vastly underestimate what they can accomplish in five.” So, overestimate for one, underestimate for five.

The way that I’ve always used that particular idea is that when you’re considering a behavior change, whether you’re gonna try a new dietary approach, adding breathing into your day three or four times to get your stress levels down, whether you want to commit to I’m gonna train in the mornings, it doesn’t matter to me. But what I really want you to start to think about is how can I make that big goal smaller and actually manageable.

My basic little pithy saying I always try to give people is think big, start small, being now.

Teddy bear on a path holding a cardboard sign that says "Looking for a friend"

Think big, start small, begin now.

Because what we found is that action drives further action.

Over and over when you look at the behavior change world, we need to find something that we will actually do rather than something that we will actually think about.

What I’m gonna recommend to you as you start thinking about 2018, write down all of your different goals, I want this, I want this, I want this, I want this, and choose one.

You should choose the easier one, and then I want you to take that easy one and I want you to cut it down to an action that fits somewhere on a calendar. And this is, again, other exercises that we can take you through, but it’s pretty simple because a lot of people have ideas about what they want, but what you want will be driven by an action, that action must fit somewhere on a timeline on a daily basis.

Very often what we find is that people who are incredibly successful over many, many years or decades of perseverance in a given task is they build schedules.

Jack LaLanne, the reason I’m bring up this article–it’s a brilliant article–for 60 years, he got up at 4:00 in the morning, and for 60 years he’s followed a two hour a day workout regimen. Now, he passed away not too long ago, but think about that. 90 minutes of weight training and 30 minutes of either running or swimming. Every day for 60 years.

Now, if you just keep showing up and you have that built into your schedule, what’s beautiful is if that’s your plan, if that’s your schedule and you just adhere to that, it make willpower a lot less necessary. No one wakes up 7 days a week for 60 years motivated. Sorry, it just doesn’t happen that way because in the real world so many different things happen to us.

Again, if you want to get started with something, if you have big life changes, don’t overestimate what you can accomplish this year.

Instead, think you know what, I have these eight things I wanna do, what’s the one thing I can focus on? And if I’m gonna take that one thing, where can I schedule it, and what can I do in my environment to remind me that I’ve scheduled it and help me accomplish it.

That, although it sounds incredibly simple, is a little bit of brain work. You take some time, you have to sit down, you have to think about it, think about your days.

And my last little tip to you is this, whenever we talk about behavior change with our clients and the students in our courses, we always say that any effort that you’re gonna make, any plan that you make that will not survive your worst day isn’t a good play.

Most of us, whenever we’re making our plans, we go, “All right, I’m gonna schedule my life, I’m gonna schedule my days. This is gonna go this way.” And usually in our scheduling we’re scheduling thinking that our life’s gonna go well, that things are gonna go right. The kids aren’t gonna be sick. Everyone’s gonna be on time. I’m not gonna miss my alarm. Everything’s gonna be fine.

Unfortunately, probably three or four days a week for most people, your ideal day doesn’t happen. So, when you’re doing your scheduling, think about that as well.

Will this idea, will this plan, will this schedule that I’m making survive my worst day, not my best day? If the answer is yes, you have a winner.

All right. So, those are my ideas for you this week.

As you start thinking about 2018, please check out James’ article and all of his other writings, fantastic.

Other than that, good luck with this.

If you have any questions, let us know.

Otherwise, we’ll see you in the new year.

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