Fit Fix #19 – Master Habits By Sticking To The Schedule

Habits are simple tools that make the fitness routine a whole lot easier. Conscious activity becomes subconscious, allowing them to go on autopilot. You don’t need to drag yourself into the gym anymore, because it feels like a necessary part of the status quo. It’s the brain’s way of freeing up more space by short-circuiting behaviours that already exist.

But the process of embedding a new habit in your day is not always easy. It can have a jarring effect if it comes at the cost of relaxation or pleasure. You could be kicking up on the coach with a bowl of chilli doritos, rather than going to war with your social anxiety just to get through the gym doors. In these cases, the routine can take a while to settle. 

One of the best ways of speeding up the process is by sticking the habit in a consistent slot in the day, or the week. It’s much like waking up hungry. It’s the habit of having breakfast at 7am that gets you waking up feeling desperate for cornflakes. It’s not a physical need, it’s simply a behaviour that’s correlated to a specific time of day. 

Fitness-driven behaviours, done on a repeating schedule, will be drawn into the habit loop much quicker than one that’s ordered by chaos.

An example of a time-based habit would be going to the gym in the early hours before work. After a few days or weeks of stumbling around half-conscious, the brain will start to adapt to the call for action, reducing the need for herculean willpower each time you have to get out of the covers. The sessions will get easier, as the mind starts to turn the lights up.

Stick to a consistent repeating routine will quicken the entrenchment of new habits into your routine, easing up the challenge of healthy living.

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