Replacing bad habits with good ones

Something annoying is happening with me and my training. It’s not quite that I’ve ‘lost my Mojo’ or that I’m ‘lacking in motivation’, but something is still not quite right.

I’ve written about ‘fitting exercise in’ before (links at the end)…

…and I know all the tricks there are, but somehow some weeks are going by and I’m not on the top of my game as much as I could be – with training and eating.

I’m doing my best to plan my training, making loose plans with myself to do certain training on certain days (including rest), and I’m trying to stick to it, or find other ways to ‘fit exercise in’ (like lunchtime runs, or making sure I arrange to run with friends to get me out of my bed). Whilst still listening to my body and being flexible with my plan.

I’m trying to remember that it’s important not to overdo it, and that rest is important. I’m also trying not to feel any guilt if I miss a workout in favour of a rest day I need.

But this week, although I’ve trained every day:
– Monday run with Eileen,
– Tuesday run with Gill,
– Wednesday: strength training at home after work…
…my week could have gone better – stupid bad habits are annoying me.

On Sunday I’d planned to do my weekly strength workout that I’ve been enjoying at the Gym. We mixed things up last weekend, a little out of routine, we did our long (9 mile) run on Saturday morning.

Then on Sunday morning, although I’d planned a Gym strength session in the morning, the normal routine was put out as Fit Girl decided to take a day off from it (to visit her family), and I decided maybe strength training this morning wasn’t to be.

So I opted to make myself (and Fit Girl) healthy pancakes instead (promising myself that I’d gym at 4pm that day instead).

Then I met my friend Gemma and had a good time with her. 4 hours of chat (including 2 hours walking) and I was knackered by 4pm (and decided that 2 hrs of walking, whilst it wasn’t strength work, was plenty – and the chat was good too). So no gym.

Monday I (met Eileen and) ran in the morning, and planned to do my missing strength session after work – but instead I came home and lay on my bed and read for an hour instead (and guzzled some chocolate before dinner!!) Oops.

Tuesday was EXACTLY the same – a win with the run (meeting Gill that morning) then a failure with not getting myself to strength train (and eating the remaining countless thornton’s chocolates we had instead instead!) :-/ oops again.

Wednesday morning, I’d planned to get up at 6am to strength train at 630am, but instead I was lazy, lay in bed and slept for another hour. Not going good.

All that felt like 4 failures to try to strength train, and 2 failures to eat well (or give in and eat chocolate).

Guilt building, failures rising. Mmm. Not ideal. Hmmmm.

So how do you fix it? How do you get back to making sure you get your exercise in? For me, I can see a lot of it comes down to HABIT.

1. First I recognised that I was binging on chocolate after work, probably meaning I wasn’t getting enough fuel / food through the day.

2. Second I recognised my bad habit and decided I needed to change it.

3. Third I needed to do my workout today. I needed to place an importance on it, to help me feel success and pride after doing it, rather than failure and guilt for not doing it (again).

On Wednesday at work, I was careful about the timing of when I ate, eating only when I was hungry (and more later in the day). I also changed my regular routine / habit to have a coffee at 4pm.

I’d noticed a bad habit seeping in for two days in a row (coming home from work, settling into laziness and eating chocolate for a buzz/energy/craving), and decided I needed to change it.

The food I ate and the coffee I drank (timing important in my head), set me up for the appointment I’d made (6 – 6:30pm) with myself to do some strength training on Wednesday after work.

In my head, I was allowed a coffeeafter lunchtime, and it would give me a buzz and a cue for my workout (whether it does it not is another story). Setting cues can be a great way to improve what you do, linking good things with actions you do, turning them into positive habits.

I got home and got changed straight into my workout gear, procrastinated a little, by going on Facebook and surfing a little, before finally confirming to myself that 630pm was my exercise time. I made my workout short and intense and manageable.

Old habit: not properly fuelled > tired and unmotivated after work > try to get a kick from chocolate > lie down and read instead of workout.

I felt let down, lazy, fat and a failure after all that. Not good.

New habit: fuel properly all day > have a coffee late in the day > go home > change into workout gear asap > drink water and have protein shake on hand > set a time to train/exercise > do it!

I felt really good after it, I’d worked hard, felt accomplished, happy and like I’d won at something. Good!

I also realised that procrastination is one of my bad habits, so recognising that I need to stop putting things off by going on Facebook or whatever. And I maybe need to set myself some rules around that again, and make other things (and people) much more important than my phone and the rather ‘anti-social’ Facebook.

Anyway, I made an exercise appointment with myself, planned to do it all day, then did it.

During my workout, I worked hard, to my limits, for a short 40 minutes, then got my dinner and had done down time. Easy peasy. I felt much better for having done it, and of course could see the benefits right away.

Feelings of guilt and failure are crap, and what you probably forget is that most people probably get them.

It’s what you DO, what action you take to improve yourself and your habits, that really matters. Not what you failed to do.

If yesterday didn’t go well, forget about it and start afresh from that moment. You have the power to change what you DO to get whatever outcome you desire.

I’ll leave you with an excerpt from a good book I’ve read: NLP – How to take charge of your life. By Richard Bandler, Owen Fitzpatrick and Alessio Roberti.

> What you believe determines how you act. How you act determines what results you’ll get. The results you get determine what your beliefs are.

> Beliefs leads to actions, leads to results, leads to beliefs.

> If you don’t do it, it won’t work.

> Happy and successful people have a lot of useful beliefs about themselves, the goals they want to achieve and the resources they have to achieve them. They believe they can have what they want, and they believe that they deserve it. This is what allows them to take massive action, which gets them results. >

> Your beliefs limit or expand you world.

> If you’re looking for problems, you’ll find them. As soon as you ask yourself a question, your mind will actively begin to look for an answer. So if the question is: ‘Why do I feel so bad?’, you’ll get plenty of reasons. Looking for the reasons you’re feeling so bad, might not be the wisest idea. Instead start asking yourself the kind of questions that will improve the quality of your life. And see for yourself, how that’s going to affect you. >

> Four questions to transform your goals into actions:

> 1. What do I need to do more of to reach my goal?
> 2. What do I need to do less of to teach my goal?
> 3. What do I need to stop doing to reach my goal?
> 4. What do I need to begin to do to teach my goal?

> Remember, disappointment requires adequate planning. Instead of looking at what you don’t have, enjoy what you do have now. This helps you to propel yourself, step by step, into a future that’s more and more exquisite. >

> In the absence of hope, sometimes you need to create it. Act as if you’re the controlling element of your life. When you do, you will be. >

Now, I think I need to revisit and remind myself of my goals, to make them more important to me and help me keep on track … I’ll do that soon.

Does any of the above resonate with you? Have you successfully swapped bad habits for good ones?

Here are some quick tips to help you (and me) keep on track;
1. Set goals and have a plan to achieve them.
2. Make your goals and actions important to you.
3. Set aside time to achieve your goals (exercise / food)
4. Take action and make it work for you.
5. Make things routine or habitual to make them easier to do automatically.
6. Recognise if you’re going off plan, or if bad habits are creeping in – recognise and improve your habits.
7. Get support from others, or be social with others along your journey.
8. Revisit your goals every now and again to make sure they’re working for you.
9. Be realistic with your goals and your workouts / eating plans, short and intense is better than nothing at all.
10. Believe in yourself, take action, believe that you can do it, and you will. 🙂


To be successful, make goals and plan to achieve your goals ,

Ways to be the best you can be:

How to fit exercise into your life:

Getting up in the morning to exercise:

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1 Response to Replacing bad habits with good ones

  1. Pingback: Wk6 into Wk7 | Lorn Pearson Trains…

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