Building Habits

Building habits and focusing on the process will lead to great results.

By Coach Michael

It’s the beginning of the year and hopefully you’ve set yourself up with some new goals. Great! Without goals it’s hard to know if you are moving forwards or backwards. Learning how building habits will lead to success.

The biggest question is, “how do you plan to reach those goals?”

In sports, everyone has the same goal, to WIN. What’s one of the differences between the ones that do and the ones that dont? The winners tend to focus on the process (behavior based) and not the end goal (outcome based). And why is that? It’s the small things you do everyday that make the difference.

In Atomic Habits:

An easy way to building good habits and break bad ones, James Clear lays out several strategies that can help make this happen. One of my favorite concepts from the book is how he breaks down behavior change.

James describes behavior change on 3 different levels.

The first level is changing your outcomes. This is basically the goals you are trying to achieve.

The second layer is changing your process. This is your system and habits to reach your goals.

The third is changing your identity. These are the beliefs you have about yourself, what you see in the mirror…

For now we are going to focus on the process or systems that we need to think about to build strong, lasting habits (behavior based) to help us reach our goals (outcome based).

As an example, lets say your goal is to deadlift 300lbs. You know you can lift 200lbs, so what do you need to do to get 300? You talk to one of your coaches here at OC who identifies some weaknesses and suggests you do a couple of 30 minute personal training sessions a month to work on those weaknesses. Typically you come to the 5:30am class and decide you want to put in the extra work on Wednesday evening when you don’t typically train.

You are not much of an after work training person, so scheduling these sessions ahead of time is going to take some planning. The plan or system you are going to use to make this easier will include your new behavior based habits.

Some of those habits might be (in no specific order):

Each one of those habits will also have its own system of habits to get accomplished. One of the things that’s magical about having a system, is that the habits stack on top of each other eventually becoming automatic.

A great strategy is to incorporate your new habit in between ones you already have.

Let’s say every night before you crawl into bed you brush your teeth. To help save time in the morning you decide to lay your gym close out so you are ready to go. Easy, brush your teeth, lay your clothes out, get in bed. It may sound simple, but attaching a new habit in between two established habits is very effective. Another bonus of these small wins, a shot of dopamine each time you are successful (see “Chasing Dopamine“).

Big picture is to focus on tiny behavior based habits that you can do each day to get you to your outcome based goals. Start small, you don’t have to start everything at once to be moving forward. It’s a marathon not a sprint no matter what your goal might be.

For more info on habit formation I recommend you read or listen to:

Atomic Habits: An easy way to build good habits and break bad ones
Tiny Habits: The small changes that change everything
The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business

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