You may have heard the old adage that it takes 21 days to form a habit. The idea first originated when Maxwell Maltz – a plastic surgeon – noticed it took his patients about 21 days to get used to their new “look.” As time went on, motivational speakers, teachers and clergy adopted the phenomenon to help their charges kick old habits and develop new, more positive ones. Twenty-one days isn’t a sure-fire reality for every lifestyle change, but it’s worth a shot and is always a great start. Just think about that…21 days could be the only thing standing between you and your fitness goals.
Here are six steps to help you start your 21-day journey.
Step 1: Out with the bad
It’s just as important to kick your bad habits as it is to adopt new, better ones. For instance, exercising every day probably won’t give you the results you’re hoping for if you’re still indulging in chips and dip every night. So take a little time to identify the bad habits you need to kick. Be realistic and don’t try to do everything at once.
Step 2: In with the good
When you imagine yourself as a happy, healthy, active person, what habits will you have? Will you make time in your busy schedule to get in your circuit training routine three to four times per week? Perhaps you’ll start taping all your TV shows and watching them later to give you more time to be active in the evenings. Whatever the habits are that you want to develop, make sure they are specific and reasonable.
Step 3: Develop your plan
It might not be enough to just make a resolution to start working out at Curves three to four times a week. There are probably specific things that need to change to make that happen. For instance, will you need to pack your workout clothes the night before? Will you need to switch your carpool days with someone else? Think about all the little things that might impact your ability to form new habits and make sure they’re all part of your plan.
Step 4: Get rid of barriers
Before implementing your 21-day action plan, get rid of any barriers you identified in Step 3 that might interfere with your success. Make sure your path is clear to succeed and there are no easy excuses in sight.
Step 5: Implement your plan
You’ve developed your plan, you’ve problem-solved known barriers to success, and now it’s time to work your plan. Be firm in your resolve – the first few days will be the most difficult. But as you get closer to your 21-day mark, you’ll find that things will start getting easier. It won’t be long before you’re actually looking forward to your workout at Curves!
Step 6 : Reward yourself
Don’t hesitate to pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Buy yourself that new sweater or get tickets to that concert – you deserve it!