Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 3 - Forming New Habits - The Four Day Rule

First we make our habits, then our habits make us.
- Denis Waitley

    Whether it comes down to picking up a new exercise routine, or acclimating yourself to a new diet, I have found that the difficulty in forming a new habit comes within the first four days. Once you are over the four day hump your new routine starts to becomes exactly that, a routine. Old habits have emotional and physical ties to them that will take time to rewire. These first four days will be the most difficult because your mind will question your new actions and want to revert back to what it's used to. But once you get over the four day hump your new actions wont be as mentally draining and you will begin to see the positive benefits that your new routine is starting to build.

    I have heard the first four days of building a routine compared to walking up a flight of stairs in order to reach your goal. It's difficult, tiresome and draining. But as you continue with the routine, and make it over the hump, those feelings begin to ease and the flight of stairs becomes an escalator, taking you on much more pleasant and rewarding journey to your goal.

Tips to making it over the four day hump
  • Take it one day at a time.
  • Think of each day as an accomplishment.
  • Plan your course of action the day before and write it down.
  • Keep telling yourself you're going to make this change and why. It is all mental.
  • Make yourself accountable. Tell someone what you are trying to accomplish and report to them at the end of the day. You don't want someone to see you fail.
  • Find a buddy to embark on building a new routine together.
  • Keep your eye on the prize. Constantly remind yourself why you want this change.

NOTE: Once you're over the four day hump it does not mean that you can stop trying. Your will start feeling/seeing results and the habit will become more routine, but in order to keep the habit you need to stick with it.

Tomorrow: Avoid Diets

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