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Changing your Usual

Category : Exercise

Spring is a time of change. Humans, in general don’t like change. We like things that are predictable and safe. We go to the same restaurants and order “the usual”. We have many routines and traditions. Sometimes that’s good. It’s efficient, it’s comforting to know what to expect. However, some routines and habits are sabotaging our health.

If you do what you’ve always done,
you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
-Tony Robbins

Examine your USUAL

If you want to change your body, you may have to change your “USUAL!” Start by making a list of your “Usuals.” Some of them may be good; some of them may not be so good. Here is a list to get you started:

• What do you usually eat for breakfast?

• What is your usual morning routine on weekdays (before work)?

• What do you usually have for lunch?

• Do you usually have a snack or two during the day? If so, what do you usually have?

• What do you usually do after work?

• What do you usually have for dinner?

• What time do you usually eat dinner?

• What is your usual evening routine?

• What do you usually do on Friday night?

• What do you usually do on Saturday? How about Sunday?


Pick one and ONLY one

Don’t try to change everything all at once! Now that you have identified the things you would ideally like to change, pick ONE thing that you are ready to change. According to Leo Babauta, author of The Power of Less, people have an 85% success rate when they focus on changing only one habit at a time. If they attempt to change two habits at once their success rate drops to 35%. Trying to change three habits is a recipe for failure…only 10% succeed.


Rules for Success

In the blog, Zen Changes, also by Leo Babauta, he outlines the rules you must follow in order to change a habit.

1) Start with an easy habit. How certain are you on a scale of 1-10 that you can make this change? If you aren’t a 9 or a 10, you should start with a different “usual” or “replacement”. Don’t worry, the ones that seem too difficult to change right now won’t be once you have gained some momentum! Start with small successes and soon you will have the confidence to tackle the tougher ones.

2) Make it measureable. At the end of the day did you do it or not? It should be easy to tell. If your goal is to exercise set a goal in minutes. If you are going to eat more vegetables, decide how many times per day you are going to eat them. If your goal is to get more organized, spend 10 minutes putting things in order.

3) Be consistent. This is your new usual, so it will most likely happen at the same time of day every day.

4) Report daily. When you are getting started you should share your goal with someone who you can report to daily. So tell your spouse, your best friend, your sister or your personal trainer. You need to be accountable to someone! You may also want to keep a daily journal.

5) Keep a positive attitude. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to be perfect. You will get better at your new habits the more you practice them.

Courage doesn’t always roar.
Sometimes courage is the little voice
at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.
-Mary Anne Radmacher


When can you change another Usual?

Wait at least one month to make sure you have given yourself enough time to develop your new usual. If you are really struggling, you may need to give yourself more time. Remember, the more you love your usual, the more difficult it will be to replace it. Of course, it doesn’t have to mean you must refrain forever, it just means it is no longer your usual…instead it is an out-of-the-ordinary treat!

If you really want to change your body it’s time to examine your “Usual” and become aware of the many things that you do on auto-pilot. Some habits lure us into a sedentary lifestyle such as turning on the TV or checking email and facebook. Others cause us to eat more calories than we intended. (Why is that candy dish on your desk, anyway?) We automatically do other things that are good for us for instance fastening our seatbelts and brushing our teeth so it is possible to other adopt good habits too! This month choose that first habit you want to change, tell someone what you are planning to change (email me if you’d like), then get started! You can do this! XO Karin

Karin Jennings owns and operates XO Fitness, LLC in De Pere with her husband, Ryan. She has been a certified personal trainer since 1996. XO Fitness specializes in personal and small group training. They focus on helping people reach their health & fitness goals through exercise and lifestyle changes.