My Journey From Couch To Fitness... Part Deux. Replacing Bad Habits With Good Habits.

My Journey From Couch To Fitness... Part Deux.  Replacing Bad Habits With Good Habits.

Getting started is the hardest part.  That's the reason so many people give up on health and fitness.  It's about developing new habits that will become life long habits.  Fitness and nutrition are not about quick results or short-cut answers, they are about finding something you can live with for the rest of your life, to assure that you live the healthiest and fullest life possible.  I bet all of the "bad" behaviors people have in life can be attributed to habit and routine.  We develop these habits, they aren't programmed from birth.  In fact, we likely have good habits programmed at birth that are left behind for the bad habits we create as we age.  So, what is a habit?

HABIT: an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.

Focus on that... ACQUIRED BEHAVIOR PATTERN REGULARLY FOLLOWED.  Gasp!  You mean to tell me that if I do a workout today that it's not automatically going to be easy to incorporate into my life right away!?  Sorry, no.  You need to develop the willpower to do that behavior enough so that it becomes habit.  Trust me on this.  I've gone through this not just once, but twice now.

The first time I developed the habit was back in 2004 when I first started exercising and eating better.  It was hard.  I struggled.  I did, however, make sure that my friends and family knew what I was after.  I set my goals.  I knew what I wanted and I wasn't going to let my lame habits and cravings that I'd developed over the years stand in the way of what I wanted more... my self esteem back!  That meant I had to get OUT OF the habit of going through the fast food drive through.  I had to get OUT OF the habit of eating a whole box of cookies with a glass of milk in front of the television at night.  I had to get INTO the habit of exercising regularly.  I had to get INTO the habit of eating a balanced diet (*note* this doesn't mean to go ONTO a diet, it means to adjust my regular eating habits into something healthy and sustainable) and drinking water instead of soda.

The second time (part deux) I had to develop habits was this Fall.  I ended up getting sick with mono for the second half of the summer.  This meant that I had to give up habits I was used to for habits that I wasn't used to.  I had to stop exercising so hard (doctor's orders) and rest more.  That was hard at first.  I wanted to get up and lift weights and do things, but I didn't want to rupture my spleen.  So, I rested.  Then those new habits developed over the course of the month.  I got into the habit of sitting on my futon watching television all day.  I got into the habit of sleeping many extra hours.  I got into the habit of not exercising.

Well, let me tell you... even when you've developed good habits in the past, it's not any easier to redevelop those good habits again.  This Fall has been a journey of habits for me.  Going back and re-breaking those bad habits and re-learning my good habits.  It was a struggle at first.  I am no different than anyone else.  I wanted to be lazy.  I didn't want to work out.  I wanted to sit in front of the television and munch on snacks.  But you know what I wanted more?  I WANTED MY STRENGTH BACK!  I wanted to get rid of the aches and pains I'd developed from my month of mono.  It felt like I'd aged 20 years simply because I'd been inactive.  If you are tired all the time, if you ache... I bet a lot of that has to do with letting yourself be immobile.  Sure, exercise is hard at first, but the rewards are SO worth it!!!!

I've now been exercising regularly again since mid-September, and it's just now started to feel like it's a habit again.  It takes time to develop habits, so don't give up on yourself.  You'll get there.  I know this because this is the second time I've gotten there for myself.  Once you develop that good habit, don't let it go... keep up with it so that it remains part of your life.  Remember what you want, and go for it!  The reward at the end of the journey is so worth it :-)  DEVELOP GOOD HABITS!

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