Breaking Bad Habits
During our lives, we all pick up habits whether good or bad, we all have them. When working as a Personal Trainer we try to look at the lifestyle of the clients we are working with and much of our jobs is to help them change certain aspects of their lives that may be hindering the goals they try to achieve. This could be smoking cigarettes, eating too much processed food, drinking lots of alcohol during the weekends.
Ok how do I stop these unhealthy habits?
Certain habits may not need to be stopped exactly but just reduced, such as drinking. We all know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for you. It can make you put on weight, give you bad hangovers (which can stop you training) and make you dance in a rather embarrassing way.
But seriously, if you like a drink, that's fine
Just look at ways to reduce the amount you consume. This should be done in a slow controlled manner. You could also check the calories in the alcohol your drinking and you might find an alternative tipple that is lower in calories. I used to drink lager which is high in “empty calories” so I decided to switch to shorts or white wine. Many people like having a bottle of wine at home when they finish work and want to unwind. If you did this all week the calories will soon add up and so will the weight.
To cut down it would be hard to stop altogether in one day, it would be better if you gradually cut down.
Let's say you like four glasses of wine every day after work. You could make a small goal of drinking three glasses a night for two weeks…change the habit. If this is too much in one go, try three and a half glasses for a couple of weeks. Gradually cut down. You can try this method with many different habits such as eating chocolate, drinking sugar loaded fizzy drinks etc.
There is more good news.
Good habits are just as hard to break as unhealthy habits! We can use the same method to commit to good habits to our lifestyles in a positive way. An example could be going out for walk for five minutes a day for a couple of weeks and then increase it to ten minutes until you are going for a period that you will get a decent workout. Maybe you really enjoy walking and want to take it to the next level and you could take up running, join a running club, make new friends!
How long does it take to make new habits?
A school of thought tells us that it takes around 21 days to form new habits but it could be as long as 60 days. Look at it this way; what's a couple of months compared to a lifetime of change? Sometimes we must suck it up and start.
So, what I tell my clients
If there is something you are doing that is stopping you achieving your goals, then target the area and gradually reduce it over the days, weeks, months.