Two years ago, I got a book “The power of habit” on my hand and I decided to read it. That moment was the turning point of my life. Let me just give you two lines which can summarize the idea of the book. Which is: “Most of what you actually do in your daily basis is just a habit not a decision you make. I don’t want to go deep and say every belief you believe is might be more a habit than being a decision or a self-belief”.
Charles Duhigg the author of the book The Power of Habit in one of his TedTalks explained how the world learned about the formation of habits.
“ There is a woman named Dr. N Graybill who has for years been doing experiments with rats. She is a neurologist and for years she was trying to get sensors into rats’ cranium so she could measure what was going on inside their skulls. This took a long time and a lot of rats. But eventually she got to a point where she could get about 150 sensors inside a rat’s skull and she could measure its neurological activity.
So Dr Graybill takes this rat, she drops each of them in the maze again and again 150 times. Over time unsurprisingly the rat learns how to run through the maze faster and faster and faster, find the chocolate. But what’s really interesting is what happens inside its head. As the rat learns to run faster and faster as finding the chocolate becomes more of an automatic habit, the rat starts thinking less and less and less.
Later, there’s a researcher named Wendy Wood who followed around a couple of thousand people to see how much of our daily behaviors were habits. And what she found is that about 40% to 45% of the decisions we make actually every day aren’t actually decisions, they’re habits.”
Extremely interesting, So simply every habit has a cue as the click , routine as running into the maze and a reward as the bar of chocolate.
let’s list a common example we do usually; reaching to the office might be the cue, running to get a coffee having it and the sweet taste in your mouth is the reward. Smoker? The urge of having a cigarette is not the cue, the cue is you just want to get a break may be because you tired of reading 50 emails and respond on your Jira tickets or even bored of setting on your couch, having the cigarette is a routine being out with your mates in the office break or smell the fresh air outside is the reward that you are looking for.
But what if you can break the routine? Or change it? If you know the cue you can change the routine and reward yourself even better. Instead of going to the break area with a cigarette, take an apple or go to the pantry not the smoking area and have a good chat with your mates. What if you replace the sugar on your coffee by a toast with peanut butter? Yes, even more delicious and a good boost for an amazing powerful morning. Think about it! And u can completely apply it on most of everything you do daily.
Now let’s focus on how habits can shape psychologically your daily decisions specially the habits that stand between you and your perfect physique and better health life.
My old me was totally living on multiple of bad habits. He never woke up early and even if he did, He never had a breakfast before going to work. This is a bad habit which leads you to grab any food to eat without thinking for a second, is it good, bad or can you find a better option.
He also used to add A LOT of sugar to his drinks, never had a control about the sweets he eats. He also used to say, “I love sugar” and “It taste bad without sugar” without thinking if this is the truth or not. But the truth is he just got used of having it like that.
After all of that don’t expect that I will tell you he was doing workouts, he never did he never had it as a thing in his weekly or daily schedule or any plan and definitely he used to give excuses, about the limitation of time, much of work, no food choices and no time to cook blah blah blah.
No surprise, he was sick. He had a high cholesterol and sugar level in blood. As well he was always suffering from high blood presure, a daily headache and fatigue and the worst is having a back-slip disc in an early age as 25 years old. It was so sad.
Out of all pains, medicines and being a regular visitor to different doctors and the hospitals, He just got a book on his hands which made him to rethink about the whole life habits, beliefs and the daily routine he had. It was definitely a turning point of his life.
Once he understood how all of these are just habits or patterns he made it by himself and he could break the old ones and replace it by new interesting ones that can give same or even better rewards. He started to change his old bad habits and started a new ones and now he took a big jump towards his dream physique by losing 30KG (over 60 pounds) body weight and gaining a better shape, a muscular one. No medicine, no headache, no high sugar or cholesterol in his blood.
Doing all of that is not a big deal. Maybe it is going to take a time and more effort but it’s not impossible but it’s a long term invest, and you will never lose and you will never regret.
For him simply 3 main big habits he changed and they lead to a massive change in his life.
1. Read, Listen & Learn
Yup, simply you will never be good in anything without understanding it really well or learning it. Read more articles, books and watch videos how your body save the fats, how it burns, what calories means, does it really matter or the nutrition facts and what’s my macros that will make me lose weight and what the hell the macros is.
There are tons of online materials, videos and books just explaining many details about food nutrition, body shapes, the carbs, the fats and the protein intakes. Without understanding your food and your body it’s difficult to manage the expectations and you will lose the motivation in a week or two.
You have to build a habit, a new habit to include this at least for 30 minutes a day to watch videos, reading articles or listen to a coach and definitely you have a time for it. I was playing these videos or reading these articles on my way to work and while I am having my coffee break or my meals during the day at work. Just read an article or watch a video teaching you about your body that you never knew about.
I was lucky to have a personal trainer trying to throw information to me, but I would say it’s nothing without learning it yourself. He is with you only 3 hours a week or even less. You are your main coach! No one is staying with you as much as yourself.
2. Be Your Chef
This is a big habit no doubt, it will need time, it will need a fight with your laziness and of course it will need a lot of visits to the super markets and food preparation pages and videos.
I would say I am a real foodie, I love food, I love to try all types of food and cuisines. I am enjoying hanging out and having food with friends. I remember the first 7 months in Dubai I was just eating, trying all the restaurants and the cuisines. I tried Tanzanian food I never thought that I would even give it a try, but I did, and it was delicious.
So, it was hard for me to accept my poor skills in cooking instead of having the real good food out, but I did it, I tried I learnt the hard way making food and it might be with less salt and not really well cooked or just taste like crap.
Right now, after one year of trying, here are my master pieces. Have a look! As I am a designer, I like to design my plates too.
So, it’s not easy yes but you can do it. it’s not about learning cooking but it’s all about preparing your food and knowing exactly how much fat, carbs and protein you add to your food.
It will help you to figure out what type of food you should cut off, replace or reduce. What type of food you should eat, pre or post workout and without watching what you eat, no changes going to happen.
3. Cut The CRAP
Sorry but it’s crap. Cut the moaning about “I have no time to cook and workout”! Cut the moaning about “I have no option for good food around”. Cut the time you spend on watching 4 or 5 episodes of Game of thrones. Watch one and give yourself the rest of time with doing workout and If you really can not go to gym, easy you can have a massive workout sessions at home with no complicated expensive tools just your body weight.
Cut the time you spend scrolling in your timeline looking for something interesting. There’s nothing interesting in your timeline. Use this time for reading about something useful or watch a video which is teaching you something or go talk to your family.
Cut the time you spend swiping right on Tinder, looking for a girl to date. Go and impress her by doing a good body shape not eating fries at home and swiping.
The point is; cut the bad habits that wasting your valuable time and use it for something that really matters; your body, your brain, your family and again you will never regret.
If you already reading this line, Let me thank you for your time. If you enjoyed what you read, and looking forward for more, Let me know below there on the comments and share with me which topic you want read about.