We are creatures of habit and our routines make us or break us. Some of our routines are good. Some of them suck. And whether our routines yield positive, productive results or negative, self-limiting results depend on the person and the individual circumstances.
Positive: wake up –> work out –> have healthy breakfast –> get started with day
Negative: watch TV –> boredom –> eat chips & drink beer –> gain weight
These are simple examples but the important thing to identify in any routine is the TRIGGER that gets the process started. The trigger is what starts the chain reaction and gets the ball rolling.
In the above examples, it’s the workout that gets the positive routine started. In the negative, it’s EITHER watching television OR the boredom that starts the cycle. Whichever one it is, the trigger has to be identified.
People cannot understand how I work out every day. I don’t do this because I’m wired any differently than you are – I do it because it has become my ROUTINE. If I don’t do it, something is missing from my day.
Most people think most of life and health is about willpower and sacrifice. It is…to a certain extent. But these things are minimized when proper triggers and routines are put in place.
In the above negative example, there are multiple solutions to rectify the problem:
1 – don’t watch so much TV! Choose another activity.
2 – do something while you’re watching TV so you’re not bored.
3 – have healthier snacks on hand.
An incorrect solution to this is to continue watching TV, continue being bored and trying to RESIST chips & beer. This is a test of willpower…and it’ll never last long term. Instead, provide more practical, proactive solutions.
Athletes use triggers to put them in “the zone” and to get them ready for competition. If you watched the Olympics, you’d notice that athletes do the EXACT same thing before every competition. They listen to the same music, walk the same way, stretch the same way, etc. Then when it is time to perform, they no longer have to THINK about what they’re doing. All they have to do is follow their ROUTINE.
We’re no different.
So, going forward, if you have behaviors you’d like to change, stop thinking about resisting a given behavior and start thinking about the trigger that is causing it. Once you’ve identified this trigger, take action, do something about it and put a more positive trigger in place. Your results, routines and happiness depend on it.