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Heath and Fitness: Habits

by The Next Family April 09, 2013

By Susan Howard, Personal Trainer



Habits are often thought of in a negative way.  Something to be kicked…smoking, nail biting, boozing, getting that sugar fix…the list goes on and on.

We poor mortals are victims of our habits.  Unconnected to our repetitive behaviors, we simply must continue acting them out.  How did it all begin?

Well let’s break it down.   At one point way back when, you felt anxious (or tired or bored) and you turned to sugar, which relaxed you, or gave you a momentary burst of energy.  Now that action has imprinted itself as something to help you fulfill that void.  Then you become addicted to the substance, and at this point you don’t even really need a reason to turn to the habit. The habit becomes the cue.

Our brains are so overwhelmed, sifting through constant stimuli to decipher what is important and what isn’t.  Once something becomes a true habit our brain goes into cruise control and doesn’t even need to think; it just repeats itself.

Knowing that we like patterns, that familiarity is comfortable to us…why not use this to our advantage?   Create a routine to workout everyday (if possible the same time of day).  Put out your shoes and clothes the night before, get your same water bottle ready, all of it.

At first it will take thought.  But ultimately it will become such a ritual that you may not even remember doing it.  Your brain goes into autopilot.  Then when you miss it, you will crave it.  Like a junkie.

So….I want you to have a nasty habit, a dark little secret you partake in at the crack of dawn, something that makes you jittery if you skip using it even once.

The gym.

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