As a Personal Trainer in Mississauga, I often see that the New Years Resolutions are an opportunity to kick start the new year with new habits. However, some habits, especially related to fitness, can be particularly difficult to adhere to. So why do so many of us fail? The answer lies in the way the human brain creates habits.
Wiring Of The Human Brain
The human brain is wired to pay attention to stimuli, especially if it’s previously tried and tested. When people see something associated with a past reward, their brain flushes itself with dopamine. For this reason, old habits that provide a reward stimulus in the brain are hard to break, and new habits with no history of a reward stimulus, are hard to establish. In order to establish a new habit, we need to develop a history of reward stimuli in the brain through repetitive action that provides us with a good feeling. Therefore, practicing a new habit under the right condition is very important for you to experience that dopamine rush.
Here are some tips that I recommend as a personal trainer in order to create the right conditions for establishing new fitness and nutrition habits:
- Mix working out with pleasure– Make your workouts fun by adding music to your workouts, wearing trendy workout gear, having a tasty post-workout shake ready, getting social and working out with a group, or relaxing with a nice hot shower after.
- Manage long term progress not short term progress– With the influx of digital monitoring devices out on the market, it’s easy to see the benefit of tracking progress from your workouts. But beware of how that may impact your ability to create that reward stimuli for your newly implemented habit. Tracking progress can sometimes result in high expectations. The best way to track progress is at the end of 1 or 2 months of implementing your fitness habits. This provides enough time for your body to develop noticeable changes.
- Practice managing stress better– Don’t wait until you are stressed to do something about it. High stress takes away energy. Take yoga, swim, nap, or whatever works for you to reduce stress regularly.
- Get more sleep– Getting enough sleep makes a big difference to how efficiently your body manages energy levels throughout the day. If you have a hard time falling asleep, try supplementing with Magnesium, taking melatonin, or chamomile tea before bed.
There are no secrets or short cuts. Focus on building new habits and everything else will fall into place
For more info, check out this article about habits!