Habits have the power to make our lives easier or harder—it’s your choice.
But every decision you make costs you energy. This is why we naturally develop habits, often without even knowing we’re developing them.
If you had to consciously decide to do the same things you currently do all day, every day, you’d lose your mind. And then you’d have no energy left at all!
Thankfully, habits are subconscious. They don’t use decision-making energy, so they make your daily living tasks doable without your having to waste energy deciding to do them.
Except that developing good habits, unfortunately, is not subconscious. But it is achievable!
All it takes is consistent practice and a supportive community.
And now you’re probably thinking, “Wait, that’s it?”
Yep. Practice and support. The only things standing between you and your best self are totally within your reach.
Before we talk about how to develop good habits, it’s crucial we understand what a habit actually is. Let’s dive into a little Habits 101.
Where Do Habits Come From?
Habits are created in the brain. They’re automatic “loops,” where the actions don’t have to use energy from your conscious mind. Habits can be thinking patterns (some of us tend to habitually beat ourselves up), or they can be actions or behaviors.
Have you ever been driving home from work or talking on your cell phone, knowing you have to stop off at the grocery store? But as you park your car at home, you realize you drove right past the grocery store without ever even seeing it.
This is because you’ve driven home countless times. Your subconscious mind takes over so your conscious mind can continue to talk on the phone or review tomorrow’s to-do list.
Habits require repeated action to become habits, and then they actually become part of who you are. For example, smoking is a habit … and smokers call themselves “smokers.”
If you’re trying to quit smoking and still call yourself a “smoker,” you will fail at quitting smoking because you identify yourself as a smoker.
But this also works if you’re trying to create a positive habit. For example, when joining a gym like Mo-mentum Fitness, fitness becomes a part of your life.
You’ll start to call yourself “active” or an “exerciser.” And your friends and family will think of you as an “active person.”
In the beginning, this may be hard to fathom, but with practice, and when you keep showing up, this positive thought will become a reality.
Secret #1: Transforming Bad Habits Into Good Ones Takes Practice.
The key to transforming habits is to practice. And practice again. But here’s the trick: give yourself as much time as you need!
I’ve heard people say creating a habit can take as few as 21 days or as many as 42 days. But it’s not just about how long it takes to develop a habit that matters, as long as you’re committed to developing it.
What’s more important is that you decide to replace old, unproductive habits with new, healthier, and more productive habits.
Remember, developing good habits takes practice. When you’re committed, practicing your new habit every day helps you eventually create it.
After all, perfection isn’t the key to habit success, but persistence and progress are.
Here’s a great analogy that helped me understand the importance of persistence (practice).
My husband Steve and I have a garden. When I regularly pull the weeds out of our garden, the weeds stay small and are very easy to pull out.
But recently, I found a small queen palm tree growing in my garden … and I didn’t plant it there!
A seed from our giant queen palm had fallen into my garden and grew into this small queen palm. I love queen palms, but NOT in my little garden.
During our two-and-a-half-year COVID excursion, I was NOT a person confined to my home. In fact, I spent less time at home than ever! Needless to say, I wasn’t doing much gardening during that time.
I was here at Mo-Mentum Fitness, fighting to keep us open to serve our tribe.
As I look back, I don’t regret prioritizing Mo-Mentum over my garden. However, it did teach me a lesson. When I gave up the practice of pulling weeds, the weeds and this little queen palm were happily growing deeper roots into the ground, taking over my garden.
Bad habits are like weeds.
By the time I returned to my garden in the spring of 2021, I could see I had my work cut out for me. I tried with all my body weight to pull this little palm up, but her roots pulled equally as hard. Needless to say, I lost the battle of the pull.
I cut off the top (because I heard if a palm loses its top it will die), but it turns out queen palms DON’T die if you only cut off their tops.
Next, I had to get out my big shovel, and I ended up digging a very deep hole to get ALL of the roots of the not-so-little queen palm out of my garden.
It took me a couple hours of hard, sweaty work. But I did it. Had I completely ignored the queen palm, I would’ve had a full-grown palm in my garden and I would’ve required help from my gardeners to get her out.
As you can see, the longer you allow an unhealthy or unproductive habit to continue, the deeper the roots of that habit grow into your life. Making the habit much more difficult to pull out or stop.
When it comes to stopping a negative habit, earlier is better! And if you’re TRANSFORMING that negative habit into a positive one, give yourself the time and support you need to change it.
It took me a lot of effort to get my garden back to where I wanted it to be.
But when you keep practicing, extraordinary things start to happen in your life.
A Habit Can and Will Compound Over Time, so Make Sure It’s a Good One.
When it comes to your savings account, compounding interest builds on itself into a great thing.
But when it comes to habits, compounding can be positive or negative. The good news is, you can decide the outcome of the compounding effects of your habits.
Let’s put this into perspective by examining what would happen if you invest $3 every day vs. buying $3 worth of junk food.
If you invest $3 into a savings account every day, it might feel like a slight strain in the beginning. Especially if you have to give up a cup of coffee in exchange for investing the $3.
But after a while, you get used to going without the $3 every day, and transferring the money out of your checking and into your savings feels productive and natural.
Did you know if you start this habit at age 20 and continue until age 60, your investment will compound to a whopping $700,000?
But what happens if you don’t save those three little dollars every day? What if instead of saving, you spend the money on processed junk food every day from the age of 20 until 60 years old?
Individually, each day seems like no big deal.
But the compounded negative effects on your life, your health, and your happiness are what you have to consider.
Be careful what you allow to compound.
Both choices are seemingly small habits, but both compound into HUGE positive or negative outcomes.
Just like the negative effects of all those years of eating junk food, we ALL have thoughts and behaviors that will become destructive habits if we allow them to grow.
Actions, thoughts, or habits that move you away from happiness and away from your WHY in life are like the weeds in my garden. Pull them up!
And if needed, get help pulling them now so they don’t continue to grow even stronger roots. The sooner you start the positive compounding effects of new, productive, and healthy habits the better.
Secret #2: Joining a Supportive Community Like Mo-Mentum Fitness Can Make All the Difference.
At this point, you might be wondering what to do if you find your weeds have grown into trees. That your little bad habits have developed into very-hard-to-break habits.
If that’s the case, take a deep breath. And know that you’re not alone.
There are a few things you can do to make sure you’re developing good habits, but you do have to be willing to question your thoughts and behaviors. Which can be so hard, I know!
When you catch yourself in a habit you know you should break, ask yourself these questions:
- How is this habit helping me move my life in the direction I want it to go?
- What can I do to reduce stress and move toward my best life instead of away from it?
- If this habit continues, is it compounding in a good way or in a destructive way?
- Is the temporary comfort this habit brings worth sacrificing my happiness, love, and success?
When you’re aware of who you are today and what you want in your life, you’ll start noticing other habits that aren’t moving you in the direction you know your life can go.
This brings us to Secret #2. To create good habits, joining a supportive community is key.
For example, not sure how to answer the questions above? I get it, self-reflection can seem like you’re a teenager again … who just got grounded for a month a week before Prom.
But at Mo-Mentum Fitness, we specialize in helping you identify which negative habits can be transformed. And we work with you to tailor an exercise and eating plan to your needs.
We help you make sure you’re putting your energy into good habits that are moving your life toward happiness, love, and your version of success.
And if you don’t live in Huntington Beach or even in California, we now offer online nutrition coaching.
If you’re ready to take the next step toward developing healthy, life-long habits and living your most extraordinary life, Mo-Mentum Fitness in Huntington Beach is here to help!
Click here to schedule a complimentary 30-minute in-person or online assessment and strategy session with one of our world-class coaches.