Changing your habits to adopt a healthy lifestyle | The Health Minister

“How to make workouts easier”: Refocus your habits to make healthy lifestyle choices

If you look online, here are some common healthy lifestyle search terms that you’ll find. 

“Easy workouts to make you skinny”; 

“How to make workouts easier”; 

“Easy workouts to make your stomach flat”. 

This isn’t surprising. As humans, we’re programmed to get the most out of the least effort. 

But what if I told you that you can make adopting a healthy lifestyle easier for yourself? Good news – you can. 

We’re going to look at a couple of ways to do this today. 

Understand that you’re not ‘quitting’ a bad habit

As Allen Carr said in his book The Easy Way to Give Up Smoking, you don’t *actually* enjoy bad habits. For example, quitting smoking will help to manage your stress because smoking… wait for it… damages your nerves. If you want to stop drinking, you can still be social. The only difference is the substance in your glass. 

Our ancestors had the same desires. The difference is that to get a dopamine hit, they had to fish to feed their family and not browse Instagram for 20 minutes. 

Reminding yourself that bad habits serve no purpose will put you in control. You’ll stop feeling helpless and instead think about what you can do to live a more fulfilling life. 

Easy habits are attractive

As humans, we’re always looking to achieve an outcome with the least effort possible. That’s why CD records became the iPod, which then turned into Spotify. 

How many times do you reach for your phone in the morning because it’s right next to your bed? Every morning, for a lot of people. Well, what about putting your gym clothes there instead, or hanging your gym bag on the front door? 

This applies to your diet, too. “Out of sight, out of mind” applies when it comes to keeping junk food out of the house. But you can also remove friction between yourself and good habits by meal prepping, putting a healthy lunch in your bag the morning before work and so on. The easier it is to adopt a healthy lifestyle, the more likely you are to follow through with it. 

Cut out distractions, or make sure you do what’s needed before tending to them

One of the easiest ways to motivate yourself into picking up good habits is to give your permission to do things – but only once you complete a necessary task. In the context of fitness, James Clear outlines an example of this in Atomic Habits. Want to check Facebook? First, do 10 burpees. And once you’ve done that, you can like the latest photo of your friend’s dog. 

The other option is to remove distractions altogether. If you find yourself going to McDonald’s after work instead of the gym, pick a different route home where you can’t see fast food. Find yourself hopping onto Netflix as soon as you walk through the door? Hide your laptop, TV or whatever device you use and put on your running shoes instead. Both of these tips will also benefit your productivity in the workplace, so it’s a win-win. 

Final thoughts

There is no secret to adopting a healthy lifestyle and in reality, you don’t need to be ‘motivated’. You just need to make it easier to adopt better habits. 

Remember – it’s in our nature to reach an outcome through the least effort and conserve energy. So instead of wasting your time on things that you *know* do not fulfill you, think about how you can limit or remove these actions from your life. 

Of course, the only way you can do this is by knowing yourself. Analyse what you perceive to be stopping you from adopting a healthier, happier life and then identify what you can do to change this. And once you’re ready for the next step, know that there’s a personal trainer who can help you to live that healthy lifestyle on your own terms.

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