Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared last year, but the principles haven’t changed, and what better way to start the new year!
I’ve recently been discussing why so many are failing to implement health and fitness programs—it’s because health and fitness are NOT a priority.
But let’s say that you received that message and are ready to make health and fitness a priority. How will you guarantee the success of your program?
The power of habit.
Uh, okay,,, you may be thinking that the answer sounds pretty basic. But I assure you, it is the case–habits are that powerful. Anything you’ve achieved in your life–outside of a one-time fluke–has very likely been achieved via the power of habit.
So how do you implement the power of habit?
By establishing a routine.
Routine? No that sounds even more basic. Why am I saying this?
Because I believe most people are poor at establishing an effective daily routine, and it has a direct correlation to the results—or lack thereof—that they’re achieving.
I’ll use myself as an example. I have WANTED to establish an effective general routine for years to achieve better productivity, and better sleep and therefore health. But I could never quite stick with the routine. Now I realize that the reason I couldn’t carry it off is because I didn’t respect the power of the routine to bring me success with any goal.
I wanted health, so I’ve continued to break my routine to take naps at odd hours, to go back to bed when tired, and so on. I’ve kept thinking that catching the sleep up what was what I needed but yet I’ve never been able to quite catch up. Can you relate?
Yet napping at odd hours (especially late in the day) can be a disaster! You know it’s true when you toss and turn after going to bed that night. I’ve been there and done that countless times.
And going back to bed in the morning after a sub-par sleep (that may have been induced by a “too late in the day” nap)… I’ve tried that so many times and nine times out of ten I feel like I’m underwater all day—not a pleasant way to live.
Following a routine is really another way of saying that you’re following order. Natural order needs to be observed, and obeyed, if we are to succeed in any area of life. It’s just the way it is. You can fight it or work with it. I suggest the latter.
The Power of the Calendar
I often find with clients, that if they’re busy people with out-of-control schedules and heavy demands on their time, that it may take them until halfway through a 12-Week Transformation Program to finally “get with the program.” So I’ve become more and more insistent that they “calendar” their workout time—once we calendar something, it takes on a more respectable status. I have always done better when I’ve blocked off time for the thing I need to do, I believe most people do too.
I have talked quite a bit about order, and how physical health and fitness are more important than anything else with the exception of our spiritual health. But having said that, having great health and fitness also positively impacts our spiritual health! If you don’t believe that, then consider the quality of your prayer or meditation life, if you practice those things (and I highly recommend that you do). Have you ever had a poor night of sleep, and then tried to pray the next morning? Or have you ever been really tired, and tried to pray and fallen asleep? So these different elements of health affect the others, no question.
How to Successfully Implement a New Routine
The bottom line to successful implementation of new habits, which together create a new routine, is that you must be willing to go through some temporary discomfort. And by “temporary,” it usually is not a long time. When changing your sleep routine, for instance you may need to fight through some drowsiness (unless you’re just drop-dead tired!) in order to recalibrate your system. If you’re going through a change in diet, there is usually some discomfort (mostly in your head—not your body!) in the transition period. But the payoff is worth it!
Daily implementation of new habits (or positive “old” habits) is the key to success. In fact, you could say that without daily implementation, any action is NOT yet a habit!
It may help to have someone help you to be accountable, especially in the early stages of habit change. For fitness, it could be a workout buddy, or at times a coach.
In truth, the “secret ingredient” of any “transformation program” (such as I have employed with many clients) is not as much the fitness program—as the accountability the client must bring to the program. This is a regular reminder of his or her goals, and what needs to be done to achieve those goals. The accountability component is truly the secret sauce.
Conclusion—Change Your Routine, Change Your Life!
So if you’ve been wanting to start or stick with a health and fitness program, and haven’t been able to quite make it happen, understand that it needs to be a priority, that implementing that priority requires good habits—and that cultivating good habits happens through the power of routine. Yes, the word routine may sound a bit…. routine, but this one change will get you where you want to go—guaranteed.
So set a recurring appointment with yourself (and put it on your calendar!)–I like to do something just about every day (taking one day off per week to rest), but I recommend you set aside at least three times per week for half an hour at a time–to start getting into better condition. If you have any medical conditions, then I recommend you get them checked out first.
If you need some assistance in getting this off the ground, then contact us.
I’m not currently taking on new clients for the full 12-Week Transformation Program, but I do have a few open slots for 45-Minute Consultations.
Whatever you do, be willing to change your existing routine–it’s your ticket to success!
I wish you well this year!
Patrick Rooney is the Founder of OldSchoolUs.com, a website that believes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Its focus is Health, Success, and Freedom—yeah, in that order. Patrick is the author of GREEK PHYSIQUE: The Simple, Satisfying Way to Sculpt Your Body—Even if You’re Old, Weak, or Broken Down; and is also the creator of Greek Yoga™ and the Greek Yoga for Beginners video. To reach Patrick, email him email@example.com.