How to Change Your BehaviorNov 26, 2022
You are the sum of your habits.
And your habits define your behavior and shape your character.
So if you are looking to make a change, start with your habits.
Let's say you are struggling with obesity-related health issues and are feeling sluggish and depressed.
Perhaps you received blood work and the results are troublesome.
Your doctor tells you to "lose weight and exercise."
My humble suggestion is to focus on the fundamentals.
How to Change Your Behavior
If you leave your days to chance, it's tough to experience consistent success.
If you want to change your behavior you will need a plan.
In particular, plan your week on Sunday night, and then reevaluate the plan each night, making small adjustments for the next day.
There are a lot of people that don’t plan the night before, that don’t write things down, and those are the same people that forget things all the time and live a very scattered life.
You set 90% of your day up for success if you plan the night before.
Sure, I get it, you can’t control all of it; however, you can still be as proactive as possible and be prepared for the day ahead.
If you feel frustrated, start with the "mapping" habit.
On Sunday night, map out your week.
Block off all your “non-negotiables.”
What does your day look like?
Any scheduled appointments you need to be on time for?
What time do you have to be at work?
Focus on the things that can’t be moved.
Then, from there, around that, plug in the rest of the things that need to get done each day.
What time are you scheduled do your training session?
When are you going to get your creative time in, your personal development time?
What are the big three things you're going to get done to make forward progress?
To be clear, this is you mapping out each day and not a to-do list.
And after 25-plus years of coaching, here are the two common mistakes I see people make.
1. You put too much in one day
It's common to overestimate how much you can get done in a day, and underestimate how much you can get done in a year.
Once again, this is not a to-do list, this is a plan, so you need to map it out accordingly.
2. You fail to create time containers
For example, you have an appointment from 12:00PM to 1:00PM.
That goes into the plan.
However, assuming a 30-minute commute, the actual container of time is more likely 11:15AM to 1:45PM, which is a 45-minute buffer on each side for the 30-minute commute and a 15-minute buffer.
Side note: Arriving on time matters a lot and that's because it gives others an insight into how you view them and yourself.
As a general rule, if you show up 10-15 minutes early, you're on time. If you show up on time, you're late.
All of this planning may sound like a lot, but once it becomes a weekly habit, it doesn’t take more than 5-10 minutes every Sunday night.
Then, each night, acknowledge what you did that day (you did more than you think), have a moment of gratitude, and then adjust the plan for the next day.
And keep in mind, as you map out your day and your week, don’t “copy and paste.”
Meaning, I don’t love the goal, for example, of completing five workouts a week.
Every week is different.
Although it’s great that you want to get to the gym every day, there will be weeks that’s not possible, because each week presents its own challenges.
Instead, look at maybe a monthly objective, in this case, 16 workouts a month.
You can apply that across all areas.
Don’t just copy and paste each week.
Since each week is different, your plan needs to adjust, your expectations need to adjust (holiday weeks for example), etc.
But the most important thing to do is the plan and spell out the details.
I see it all the time.
If my clients plan for their day before, if they write down what they are going to do, if they plan for the circumstances that could come up, they have much better days.
If you are frustrated and feel like "you've tried everything," may I suggest you plan the night before, pack your meals, pack you workouts clothes, and plan your day so you can complete your workout before your day gets in the way.
If you do this, you can expect better days ahead.
Now, you still have to execute on that plan, since a plan without action is no good, but everything worthwhile starts with a plan.
I think what you’ll find, and what I think my clients from last night will find, is that planning is a cornerstone habit.
Now, because you are executing on the plan, so many other things fall into place.
- You’re consistent and productive in your work.
- Your fitness and nutrition consistency improve because you plan for it.
- You block off family time, so your personal life improves.
It all gets better.
Now for a very personal story about how I changed my ways.
I used to drink alcohol to excess.
Starting in my second year of college, it was not uncommon to have five drinks in one sitting and more than 15 drinks per week.
To make matters worse, I was surrounded by friends who were also abusing alcohol and encouraging this drunken revelry.
It was the cliche tale of addiction as a result of bad habits, poor choices, and an environment which enabled my destructive behavior.
My weekend escapades continued, albeit less frequently, into my early thirties.
Heck, anytime I would hang out with my friends, booze was always on the menu.
This is not an excuse, just stating the facts.
Drinking too much and simply feeling terrible later.
At a certain point I felt that a proper coach should not drink alcohol, simply because it's tough take somebody seriously who drinks to excess.
Especially when a professional coach is supposed to be a role model and teacher of all things healthy.
Getting drunk is not "fun."
Dig deeper and you'll discover it's a temporary anesthetic for something that's bothering you... a fleeting, purposeless escape.
So, one day, I just eliminated booze.
I also stopped meeting friends out at bars "for a drink" because, well, I don't drink.
(Consequently, I don't see these friends as much.)
Same way I eliminated cable TV when I realized that it contributed to an environment of being more sedentary.
If you’re looking to make a change, then I say stop worrying about results and start worrying about your identity.
Become the type of person who can achieve the things you want to achieve.
Build the habit now.
The results can come later.
To your success,
Joseph Arangio helps 40+ men and women get leaner, stronger, and happier. He's delivered over 100,000 transformation programs to satisfied clients around the globe. If you want to lose weight from home, with the best online personal trainer, or you want to visit the best personal trainer in the Lehigh Valley, you can take a free 14-day trial.