Have you ever gone to bed telling yourself you were going to get up early the next day and go for a walk? How many times have made a commitment with yourself to curb your late night snacking? Do you find yourself in a cycle of repeated behaviors that you would rather disown? I’ve experienced at some point in my life all of these. However, I don’t anymore. Yes, that’s right! By utilizing the incredible power of the mind to form new habits I’ve discarded all of these and instead replaced them with alternatives that I am much more productive with because they have improved the quality of my life, my relationships with those I love, and my productivity, both at home and at work. I’m sharing my successes with you because I want you to see that the patterns we get into in our lives can be changed. Now let’s explore how.
As I just shared I used to find myself eating snack foods, things like Oreo size cookies, chips, bowls of cereal, just about every night. I’d eat fruit and other options as well. They were less the majority though if I’m being completely honest. Here I was exercising pretty regularly, eating very healthy foods all throughout the first three quarters of the day, and then consistently ending the last section of my day in front of the television, usually later at night than I really wanted to be up, and snacking on stuff that appealed to me in the moment but left me feeling less than after.
A quote I share often with clients who are struggling with finding control in their lives is, “Stop being the victim of your circumstances. Instead, find victory in your circumstances”. In other words, establish a position of control in whatever area you feel out of control. I set out, successfully, to do the same for myself. Let me teach you how you can too!
Aristotle said it best in his well-recognized quote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” When we are seeking to change something that we have repeatedly done, we have to apply a level of consistency that rivals the level that formed the adversarial habit in the first place. And, it also helps to know your enemy. Habits have a very clear series of steps for how they are formed. If we can deconstruct this framework into its steps we will have the formula for eliminating unwanted practices.
- Identify the routine
- Experiment with rewards
- Isolate the cue
- Have a plan
For the rest of this article I’m going to take you through the different steps of this framework using my late night snacking habit as the example. My hope is that you will be able to identify with the science of a habit enough to then go and start slaying those you currently own but would rather not.
Step One: Identify the Routine
This step is so critical. It is the behavior that you want to change. With a little more awareness you will be able to pinpoint the circumstances that produce any negative habit you are trying to get rid of. My routine was pretty simple to identify. I would eat snack foods at night, usually later at night, while watching television.
Step Two: Experiment with Rewards
In his book, The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg communicates the why of this step eloquently when he says, “Rewards are powerful because they satisfy cravings. But we’re often not conscious of the cravings that drive our behaviors”.1 The key word in his quote that I want you to connect with is “conscious”. So many times we do things without really being conscious of why we are doing them. We can empower ourselves to create change by seeking to understand the why of things that we do. This step can be challenging because you may have to experiment with several different rewards before revealing the true keystone, the one that, by itself, has the most influence over you.
I had several potential rewards in my scenario. One was the enjoyment of sugary or salty foods. Another was being up later at night. Still one other was watching television. So, I experimented with different rewards until I was able to isolate the one that revealed what I was actually craving.
Step Three: Isolate the Cue
When I felt a craving coming on for sugary or salty foods, I switched to some yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit. Although that did make me feel better, it did not curb my craving. In fact, sometimes I was eating that and then eating some chips! Next I watched television but only till a fixed time of 9:00 p.m. This impacted my craving the most. So, I addressed it more aggressively by getting my wife involved. I asked her to set the television timer to shut off at 9:00 p.m. and password-protect it with a code I did not know. My habit was cornered. I realized quickly that my night time snacking had nothing to do with sugar or being hungry. No, in actuality it was simply a by-product of staying up past 9:00 p.m. ingesting food commercial after food commercial.
Step Four: Have a Plan
My plan remained consistent for several months, all the way up till we switched from Direct TV as our provider to Comcast. If you’re a U of A Wildcat fan, you understand why! This proved telling though because Direct TV did have something that Comcast did not, a parental control timer. So now I really had to have a plan and what I continue to live to even now is the shut off no later than 9:30 self-imposed rule. It really works!
As you set out to eliminate unwanted habits of your own, be encouraged. You can do it and understanding the framework of your habit is a great step to get you going. Once you recognize that the majority of your daily routines are programs that your body has learned to simply run on autopilot you can be empowered to change them. Now, go pick one and slay it!
1 – Duhigg, Charles. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. New York: Random House, 2012. Print.
A Fond Farewell to Judi Stahl
Our dear friend and BodyBasics family member, Judi passed away Saturday, August 22nd. For those of you who had the privilege to see her each week in the gym you will remember her bright smile welcoming you at the door if she was not working out. Here are a few fond memories posted on our Facebook page about Judi:
My fondest memory of Judi is simply her smile. No matter what she was dealing with physically or emotionally, Judi always had a smile. And she loved to share the corniest jokes to get others to smile with her. God bless you Judi. ~Chris Litten
Judi’s smile of light, wit, warrior energy, bravery and the joy she got from sharing her art. I hope she is dancing in the sky and the angels know what they have gained because the loss here on earth is felt deeply. God Speed Judi. ~Barb Rock
I will miss being greeted by Judi when I walk through the door and her mischievous sense of humor. Truly rest in peace, Judi! ~Marny Wellman
Of course I remember her jokes, how could you not? But I loved how every time she was riding the bike she always talked about going to San Diego. She just wanted to feel the sand under her feet. May she rest in peace. ~Amber Stazenski
Having the opportunity to train Judi the past two years, I got to know a tremendously tenacious and and very strong minded woman. She never complained about her pain or let anyone feel sorry for her. her attitude and outlook on life kept her mind sharp, creative, witty and even a bit rebellious! She loved good conversation and bad jokes too but mostly loved living life. I will miss our sessions and take a little piece of her with me. A great person who will be missed. Rest in peace. ~Mike Haas
For this month’s client spotlight, Molly Madigan, you could define 2015 as a year of renewal and refocus. After a friendly push from a friend and BodyBasics’ alum, Erene Waymeyer, and a perfectly timed brochure at her favorite shoe store, All About Running and Walking, Molly came in to see if we could provide the supportive and encouraging environment she craved. Her first experience at BodyBasics was with Maureen who conducted her evaluation with such a harmonious blend of informative dialogue and thoughtful reflection that Molly knew BodyBasics was where she wanted to make her fitness home. After 3 years of dedicating every part of herself to taking care of her dying mother and father, Molly was ready to start getting back to time for herself. Her initial goals reflected that sentiment. She wanted to regain a good level of fitness and get back to doing the things that she had once enjoyed, such as traveling and gardening. During the years that she was tending to her parents, she had also gained a significant amount of weight. She came in determined to eliminate those unwanted pounds. Last, she wanted a fun and supportive group environment to workout in.
Fast forward 8 months from those original goals. Molly is now leaner, more muscular, and feeling more like the athletic self she once was. In her words, “I have energy and stamina, and feel 5 years younger. My outlook on life has improved. My husband and I just returned from a 14 day trip to Italy and England that included lots of walking and long days, and I did great! We even climbed the 525+ steps to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral dome in London! It was a great feeling to know that I still “have it”!
Molly, congratulations on both your renewed self and your improved fitness! You are such a wonderful example of sacrifice with the years that you dedicated so unselfishly to your parents. I cherish our conversation you shared about them.
Welcome New and Returning Clients
Taffy Conrad referred by Mary Holloway
Kim Holloway referred by her mom Mary Holloway
Ben Crebbs referred by Lorri Tomeo
Bob Huckleberry referred by Marjory Wack
Pratt Rogers referred by Kim Blanchard at Ideal Physical Therapy
Heidi Thompson Welcome Back!
Denise Roepke Welcome Back!
Sharon Statlin referred by Dr. Lemke
Holly Cluff referred by our one and only Mary Maher
Brennan Tryk Welcome Back!
Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. What you don’t know is that we start every Wednesday staff meeting with our shout outs. After doing this for several months and realizing how many incredible experiences are being shared, We thought it would be excellent to position a place within our newsletter to share also with all of you. We’ll keep it to our top 5 each month.
Sandra Spangler – For achieving a benchmark goal of safely lifting up a 42lb. bag of kitty litter by using the hip hinge learned during her workouts!
Paul Simon – For achieving his weight loss goal! He is in better shape now than he was over 20 years ago when he graduated from law school!
Amy Maharry– for aligning her focus with her personal nutrition to match the amazing precision she already demonstrates with her workouts!
Chuck Warren– For owning his workouts! He has had a huge mindset shift and it is contagious to all those around him!
Linda Goodwillie – For noticing how much better, more energized and powerful she feels while enjoying her active lifestyle because she works out.
2nd Annual Tools for Teachers Supply Drive
We are excited about helping our BodyBasics teachers again this year with our Tools for Teachers Supply Drive. For the month of September we will be collecting much needs tools for our teachers to use in their classrooms. Specific items in need are:
Copy Paper, Clorox Wipes, Lined Paper, Glue Sticks, Tissues, Gift Cards to Wal-Mart and Michaels for projects during the year.
Recipe – Quick and Easy Egg Cups
6 slices of deli meat (ham, chicken, or turkey)
6 large eggs
1/2c Veggies of your choice (bell peppers, broccoli, squash, tomatoes, etc)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
Lightly grease your muffin tin and add the slices of meat into the tin.
Place vegetables in the deli meat cups.
Crack the egg right into the cups and bake for 12-15 mins depending on your preference.
You can serve them right away or place them in the refrigerator to have a handy breakfast through out the week. They also go great with sweet potatoes on the side.
Video – Prone Dumbbell Triceps Kickback
Chris, Kris, Amber, Maureen, Mike, Myrya, Mary, Ric