Have you ever tried to start a habit but didn’t get it to stick?
2 years ago I decided that I wanted to start running. I’ve always enjoyed running and the feeling that followed afterwards. So I said to myself: “I’ll run a few times a week in the morning before work. If I can stick to this for a month or two, then it’ll become a habit”. I even mapped out a 5km route on my running app (with no hills!).
Despite my good intentions, this didn’t quite work out as well as I hoped. I found myself only running once or twice a fortnight. I didn’t know why it wasn’t working. Was I motivated? Was I procrastinating? Should I give up running and try something else?
Honestly, I was motivated to run. Yet each morning, I found myself struggling to get up, get dressed and head out the door.
I always thought the habit of running was just getting out of bed and running. But it’s not. Nowadays, I run 5 km, twice a week.
The Crucial Step
The trick for me was to stop, think about what was blocking me and decide how to fix it.
Many times in the beginning I would wake up at 5:50am and tell myself that I might wake my wife or the kids if I started hunting around the house for my running gear. I found it too easy to press snooze on my alarm when there was even the slightest barrier stopping me from getting out the door.
I started to win when I prepared my running gear the night before.
For me this means:
- Folding my running shirt, shorts and skins
- Finding my running socks
- Charging my iPod and locating headphones
- Setting the alarm for 5:50am
When I’m tired, seeing my clothes and gear in one spot at the back door helps me to overcome my lazy brain. It stops me from sabotaging my best intentions.
Just Fold Your Clothes
The reminder on my to-do list to ‘fold my clothes the night before’ was the habit-forming part of running! In the end, the key behaviour change was simple to implement and easy to repeat.
Once I made that transition, I was off and running (quite literally).
What crucial steps have helped you to start a new habit?