Behavioral habits are the small decisions you make and the actions you perform every day. For the most part, these are done without consciously thinking about them. It's estimated that around 40% of the things we do each day are done habitually without conscious thought.
What behaviors you do repeatedly are what forms the life you live now. Like it or not, your current shape, level of energy, and happiness are the result of the decisions you've made leading up to today. Understanding how habits are formed can help you to change the practices that no longer serve your body composition and fitness goals. You will be able to replace bad habits with good habits that get you closer to your goals.
Why Rely On Habits?
Reliance on habits can help you to make progress towards your health goals and body transformation. Once you're doing good things without having to choose them consciously, it takes the mental energy out of the process of transforming your body. It allows you to put that energy and focus on other tasks and makes the process of getting lean feel much more accessible.
When dieting and training feel more natural, you can put more effort into it and get better results. If you want to start working on your daily habits, the first step is to identify the ones you think you need to change then begin tracking them.
Which Habits Should I Track?
Track Your Food and Drinks
Food logging has an impact even when it's done short term. Knowing how many calories you're eating is essential when you have a body transformation goal. Food tracking keeps you honest, so log everything, even (or especially) if you go off plan.
It can help to pull you back on track quickly. It can be a good idea to return to food tracking often as you're going through your body transformation, even if you don't want to track your food forever. It's a useful learning tool. There are apps available to help with meal tracking, such as My Fitness Pal, which have a big library of foods and make it easy to get started.
Track Your Sleep
Not many people realize how big of a role sleep has in how we feel, how energized we are, or how easily we can lose weight. You can start as simply as writing down when you go to bed at night, what time you get up, and if you wake up at all overnight.
If you have a fitness tracker, check what other sleep parameters it can track and keep an eye on the different sleep stages. REM, deep sleep and light sleep are all essential, so our brain can do all the job it's meant to do while we're asleep.
Track Your Activities
Whether it's a gym session, a group class, daily steps, or recreational activities like cycling or hiking, it's worth keeping a log of them to see how they align with your sleep and food intake.
Track Your Energy Levels and Mood
Your food, rest, and activities will add up to how energized, recovered, and lively you feel each day. So, tracking the above habits is essential to be able to identify patterns. However, keeping a log of your energy levels and mood will help you understand the big picture and connections between food, sleep, and how you feel.
How To Start Changing Habits?
Changing habits can be tough. Often those habits have been with us for a lifetime, and we might not know that we're even doing them. The first step is to take a look at the habits and identify where you want to make changes.
Start small: Try to change something tiny first. Something so little that it seems ridiculously easy. When something feels natural to start, you won't need to rely on willpower to keep you going.
Increase slowly: You'll have some success quickly if you've picked a small enough task, but making each increase in the challenge tiny will help keep you on task.
Chunk the habits: If you want to achieve something massive, you might need to break that goal down into smaller chunks. If the goal is to run a marathon, the first chunk will be to put your trainers on.
Get back on track: If you miss a day, try not to miss two in a row. Getting back on track is essential in building the momentum you need to succeed.
Patience: Change takes time. It's a process that transforms you into a new person. That requires patience and consistency.
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