“It seems so easy for her to eat healthy all the time, I wish I could stick to that kind of diet.”
“I wish I had the work ethic to show up to the gym every day like that guy.”
“Why is it so easy for other people to stay lean even through the holidays?”
Chances are good you’ve had one of these thoughts or know someone who has.
And once you understand the relatively simple levers you need to pull to get in shape—controlling your calorie intake, lifting weights, eating enough protein, and so forth—it’s making yourself pull these levers every day that leads to long-term progress.
So why is it so hard to actually do these things?
Why do we get up early to go to the gym for a few weeks before succumbing to the temptation to hit the snooze button?
Why do we eat more home-cooked meals of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats for a month or two, only to fall back into the habit of getting takeout multiple times per week?
Well, the unfortunate answer is this is simply our genetic hardwiring in action.
We seek instant gratification, the path of least resistance, and quick fixes, because these are generally the easiest ways to get what we want in the moment, even if they’re counter to our long-term goals.
This is why it’s much easier to grab that donut on the way back to your desk, bite into it and receive immediate feelings of delicious happiness than it is to eat the carrots and celery you packed as a snack.
The daily discipline required to exercise more and eat better may not pay obvious dividends until months down the road.
So, if our lazy human tendencies are constantly trying to pull us off the straight and narrow path, how do we work around them?
When you ask people who consistently live a healthy lifestyle how they stay motivated to eat healthy and workout, it’s likely they’ll respond with something along the lines of, “I don’t really have to think about it anymore, I just do it! It’s part of my life.”
Good for them, you might be thinking, but how can you rewire your habits so you can stick to healthy behaviors?
That’s what you’re going to learn in this podcast.
The truth is you don’t have to rely on willpower, discipline, and self-denial to force yourself to eat healthy or work out regularly.
Instead, the major key to changing your lifestyle is to first change your habits, and this is much simpler than you may realize.
Let’s get started.
6:03 – What is a habit?
16:40 – How do you get good at creating habits?
Mentioned on the show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
What is up? My lovely podcast pals. Welcome to another episode of Muscle for Life. I’m your host, Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today. Now, have you ever wondered why some people just seem to be able to stick to their diet all the time and why? They always have the motivation and the work ethic to show up in the gym every day and.
Workouts and why even the holidays or traveling or other life circumstances never really derail them. They always just figure out a way to keep to their diet and keep to their training routine at least as well as they can. Now, chances are you have struggled with these things. Let’s be real. We all.
Because knowing what to do is only part of the battle, right? And it’s pretty easy if you’re willing to accept some of the unpalatable truths of getting into great shape, right? Like you have to control your calories. You have to control your macros, particularly your protein, right? You have to pay attention to your protein intake.
You have to train your muscles, and it’s probably a good idea to do some cardio as well, and if you can just pull those levers and push those buttons consistently, you don’t even have to be perfect, just well enough. Most of the time you can build an outstanding physique and you can enjoy outstanding health and so forth.
The tough part, of course, is doing. Those things consistently. Why do we get up early, go to the gym for a few weeks and then start succumbing to the temptation to hit the snooze button every morning? Why do we eat nutritious home cooked meals for a month or two and then fall back into the habit of getting takeout a couple of times per week?
What is going on? Is there something wrong with us? No. There’s nothing wrong. You if you have or are struggling with that. There’s nothing wrong with me for having struggled with that. It is really just some hard wiring that we need to be aware of, and we need to often take explicit action to circumvent because we are programmed to seek instant gratification, to find the path of least resistance, to look for quick fixes.
And that’s not even bad because they’re general. Are shortcuts to achieving things and to getting things we want. But if we get too caught up in that mode of operation, then it can cut into our ability to achieve our long term goals. And so in this podcast, I’m gonna talk about. Habits. I’m gonna talk about how to create good habits, how to break bad habits, and how to get to a place where you don’t have to consistently rely on willpower and discipline and self denial, and you don’t have to feel like you are always forcing yourself to eat well and to work out and where your default lifestyle.
Is what you are aspiring to where it actually becomes harder to not do the things that you know you should do or that you want to do, at least the good things you want to do than it is to not do them. And if you would rather read about this topic, and if you wanna learn more about this topic, head over to Legion F.
athletics.com Search for habits, and you’ll find an article written by Casey or Viez who is a legion ambassador, a sponsored athlete, and who is a PhD, and you will find her article that this podcast is based on, and it is called A Scientific Guide to Habits, How to Build Good Ones and Break Bad Ones.
Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my v i. One on one coaching service because my team and I have helped people of all ages and all circumstances lose fat, build muscle, and get into the best shape of their life faster than they ever thought possible.
And we can do the same for you. We make getting fitter, leaner, and stronger. Paint by numbers simple by carefully managing every aspect of your training and your diet for you. Basically, we take out all of the guesswork, so all you have to do is follow the plan and watch your body change day after day, week after week and month after month.
What’s more, we’ve. That people are often missing just one or two crucial pieces of the puzzle, and I’d bet a shiny shackle, it’s the same with you. You’re probably doing a lot of things right, but dollars to donuts, there’s something you’re not doing correctly or at all that’s giving you the most grief.
Maybe it’s your calories or your macros. Maybe it’s your. Selection. Maybe it’s your food choices. Maybe you’re not progressively overloading your muscles, or maybe it’s something else, and whatever it is, here’s what’s important. Once you identify those one or two things you’re missing once you figure it out.
That’s when everything finally clicks, that’s when you start making serious progress. And that’s exactly what we do for our clients. To learn more, head over to www.by legion.com. That’s b i legion.com/v i p. And schedule your free consultation call, which by the way is not a high pressure sales call. It’s really just a discovery call where we.
Know you better and see if you’re a good fit for the service. And if you’re not for any reason, we will be able to share resources that’ll point you in the right direction. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you want to see more of it, and if you also want to finally stop spinning your wheels and make more progress in the next few months than you did in the last few years, check out my VIP coaching [email protected] legion.com/vi.
All right. Let’s start with a quick definition of habit. What is a habit? A habit is an automatic behavior or a response that’s triggered by a situation, a person, or an environment. And habits are. Formed through repetition. So the more you go through this cycle that I’m going to describe in a minute, the more established a habit becomes, and that cycle or that pattern looks like this.
So first there is an event or a situation or smell that cues us to respond in some way. It triggers some sort of response. Then there is a subconscious interpretation. Of the situation that gives it some sort of meaning, some sort of value. And then we perform an action which is triggered by the situation and the feeling that we get from it and the meaning we have ascribed to it, whether we did so consciously or unconsciously.
Often it happens automatically, seemingly outside of our control and. Lastly, we feel or receive some sort of reward for having completed the action. And so again, the more times we go through that loop, the more powerful a habit becomes, and that is true of good habits. And bad habits. So for example, have you ever been driving somewhere and then ended up taking the wrong exit because that’s the exit you take every day to work?
Or have you ever immediately made coffee upon waking up, only to realize shortly thereafter that you forgot to put the pot in the coffee machine and now your counter has become a black caffeinated swimming? Or maybe you have walked into a dark room and then instinctively reached to flip on a light switch that isn’t there.
Those are examples of actions that are the result of habits. And of course there are many more examples, and those are not exactly the type of examples most people think of when they think of habits, but that’s why I wanted to choose them because they just show how many different actions we take every day that.
Habitual that we don’t even think about. Now, when you have a goal, the very next thing you need to think about is how you’re going to get there. What are you going to do every day to help you get there? What is your system of action going to look like? And in many discussions I’ve had with many people about goals, I’m often surprised how.
Thought they have put into what has to come next. Again, very specific question, What are you doing every single day to try to get there? Now, that is not always appropriate, of course, if we’re talking about a hobby, if you’re saying you want to get good at golf or you want to get good at playing the piano or maybe playing the guitar, you may not be working on it every day.
Maybe it is only two or three days per week, in which case, of course, we could change the question to, Okay, fine. What are you doing? Week to get there. But with many habits and many goals, if you were only to work on them once or twice a week, that would not get you to the goal in a timely manner, if at all.
For example, with fitness, if you were to train just one or two days per week, yes, you will get somewhere if you are brand new and it will make a difference and it is better than nothing. But if your goal is to get super fit, That’s not enough. It’s going to require at least three hours per week of training, and that’s probably not gonna be enough.
It’s probably gonna be more like four to six hours of resistance training per week, and probably one to two hours of cardio as well if we’re talking about super fit. So again, when you have a goal, once you have decided what you want, the very next thing you need to look at is what are you gonna be doing, if not every day.
And maybe every other day, very frequently, what specific actions are you going to be taking to get you there? And those specific actions need to become habits. They can’t be random, sporadic, and they also can’t be dependent on motivation and willpower and self discipline and how you feel day to day.
They need to be things that you are going to do far more often than not, and that don’t require much in the way of activat. Energy, which is a concept that comes from chemistry that refers to the amount of energy required to activate a process. And the goal with any habit is to minimize the activation energy to get to a point where it requires little to no energy to start doing whatever it is that you need to be doing every day or every other day, just consistently to reach your goal.
And you’ve nailed it when you get to a point where, Are going to do whatever the action is, let’s say the following day. So it is the night before and you are supposed to wake up at 6:00 AM to do your workout. You have mastered that habit. When you know yourself internally, there is. No chance that you will not be waking up and doing that workout unless of course you wake up sick or otherwise incapacitated in some strange way.
And if that state seems like a galaxy away to you, don’t worry. You can get there. With enough repetition of the right actions and with the help of some of the tips and some of the advice I’m gonna share with you in this podcast, you can do that, and you can do that not just in one area of your life or in one activity.
You can get to a point where you can consistently do that with. Anything really. So again, just to repeat this key point, once you have a goal, you then need to start looking at how you’re going to build habits to achieve that goal. Because just deciding that you want something isn’t enough, intention doesn’t get it done, intention doesn’t automatically make you start building those habits or taking the right actions.
Things do not just sort themselves out or just work out mysteriously and magically. You have to. Things happen and bigger goals require a lot of individual actions to realize, if your goal is to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you don’t have to do very much. You can get that done in a couple of minutes, but if your goal is to lose 20% body fat, you’re gonna have to get used to being at the coal face.
It is gonna take a lot of swings to get to where you want to be. It’s gonna take a lot of work and research shows. Focusing a lot more on habits rather than intentions is far more effective for achieving fitness goals. And I would say it applies to achieving any goals. But the research I’m going to reference was specifically with fitness.
So for example, in a study that was conducted by scientists at Helsinki University, researchers found that 92% of participants who had lost. And maintained it. Big point there, maintained their weight loss, made a habit of weighing themselves frequently during the weight loss phase, and 75% continued this habit into their maintenance phase.
Now, anybody who has successfully lost weight and kept it off is probably not surprised because by weighing yourself every day, you’re able to stay on top of what’s going on with your body weight. And of course, that doesn’t reflect your body composition. Per se, but it does allow you to know if you are eating too much or too little, especially if you pair it with what you are seeing in the mirror in case you are recounting, in case you are losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time, which will cause a dramatic improvement in the mirror, but not as much in the scale because of course the muscle you are gaining.
Adds weight and the fat, you’re losing subtracts weight and they don’t necessarily cancel each other out, but they can. Oh, in a quick note on weighing yourself every day, that actually is a good habit to get into, especially when you are new to the body composition game. But don’t fret over the day-to-day changes in your weight.
Your weight is gonna go up. Some days it’s gonna go down some days. Instead, what you want to do is. At the 10 to 14 day averages. So you’re gonna take your daily weight every 10 or 14 days, and you are going to calculate the average and look at that over time because that is going to give you a much better idea of what is happening with your body weight.
And then you don’t have to worry about holding a bit more water some days, or a bit more waste because maybe you didn’t have as many bowel movements the day before. And if you’re a woman, you of course have your period and the extra. Retention associated with that, which can really throw women for a loop if they are not expecting it.
And if they don’t realize that they can really just throw that week out if they wanted to out of their data. Just get rid of it and look at the. Weeks where they are not holding a bunch of water because of menstruation. So anyway, another study worth mentioning on the power of habits versus intentions, especially when it comes to improving body composition, is one that was conducted by scientists at Duke University.
And what they wanted to investigate is if people eat the way they do, because it is a subconscious routine, because it is a habit, or because they decide to eat that way on a daily basis. So what the researchers did is they had people complete a questionnaire that measured how habitual fast food purchasing was for them and their intentions to buy fast food in a week long period.
And then over that week, the people complet. Daily assessments indicating whether or not they actually purchased fast food. And what the study found is that the intentions people had did not guide their behavior as much as the habits did. Instead, their habits appeared to be able to just override any intentions they had.
They were used to eating that way, and so they just continued to eat that way regardless of whether they intended to eat that way or not.
If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my v i p one-on-one coaching service because my team and I have helped people of all ages and circumstances lose fat, build muscle, and get into the best shape of their life faster than they ever thought possible. And we can do the same for you.
So then the question is how do you get good at Habiting? How do you get good at creating habits you want and discarding habits you don’t want? The first tip I have to share is when you are trying to work out what it is you want to be doing, just thinking about it is often not enough. Your planning of action remains in your head.
The chances of you making it happen are low. Instead, what you wanna do is you want to write down exactly what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it. And you also, and this is a key point, this is something many people don’t do. You want to also think about the obstacles you’re most likely to encounter and any potential opportunities that might arise, and then work out and write.
How you are going to respond to those negative and positive circumstances, and that is a great habit to get into in any sort of planning. I do it in business, for example, when we come up with plans that can be really the highest level strategic level plans, as well as more tactical level plans.
That process always includes a meditation on obstacles. It always. Thinking about what things could get in the way. And of course there is a certain threshold of probability. We are not going to waste time brainstorming about things that have, let’s say, a 1% chance of actually happening. No, we focus on the things.
That are the lower hanging fruit. But the point is my team and I spend quite a bit of time sometimes just as much time on thinking about what could go wrong and what could get in the way as we do what we are going to do, the exact actions we are going to do to accomplish the goal of the plan. And one effective way of going about this is to conduct what is referred to in the business world.
Post mortem, but this also applies to fitness as well, where you lay out your plan. This is what you want to do. This is broad strokes, how you’re going to do it. Then you imagine you have failed. It did not go well. Why? What happened? You turn it into a story almost like a narrative. And you do that by looking step by step at your plan, and you imagine you are going through the actions in the environments that you are going to be operating in, and you try to envision what could get in the way, what could happen that could lead to a complete failure.
Then when you are done constructing this alternate reality, this scenario, You look through it and pick out the obstacles, you can do something about right away. So what can you do to forest stall those things? And then you also come up with contingency plans. In the case of things that you can’t really do anything about right now, you’re just gonna have to roll the dice.
You’re gonna have to. Take the risk and the action steps that you have derived from that process, then get rolled into your plan. Sometimes you need to start doing some of those things before you even start step one of your plan. It becomes step zero a, step zero B. It could just be your step one, but you get the point.
And again, don’t underestimate the power of that exercise. It is not academic. It is not a waste of time. I would say it is just as important as the more fun part of planning, which is the imagination of what is going to get done to reach your goal. I get it that is certainly more pleasant, but this post mortem is going to save you a lot in the way of frustration and wasted resources.
And a quick historical anecdote of this is Napoleon’s planning process for his military campaigns. And one of the reasons he was so dominant in the beginning of his military career is he was very good at reading math. He was very good at looking at a two dimensional map and envisioning it as three dimensional terrain, and then figuring out how to best maneuver through it and how to best use it to his advantage.
However, he would also engage in excessive. Planning. So in one case before a major battle, he disappeared into his quarters with his maps for it was like two or three days and he didn’t come out. And what he was doing is he was gaming out every scenario he could possibly think of. Every action he would.
Take, and then every counteraction that his opponent could take and how he would respond. And this allowed him to come to the battle far better prepared than his opponent and not having to make as many on the fly decisions. And that gave him a huge advantage in battle because the right moves in the heat of the moment.
Are often hard to see, especially when the stakes are high and there is a pressing deadline, like one of your lines is breaking and you have to decide how to respond or lose the battle. So let’s apply all that to fitness. For example, let’s say you have determined that you need to work out three days. To reach your goal and you have decided exactly when you are going to do those things, Make sure you do that.
Don’t just say, Oh yeah, I’m gonna work out three days a week. Or even worse, I’m gonna work out every week. No, when, Okay, I’m gonna work out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at these times. Great. That’s a good plan. I like that. Now, what if you can’t do one of those workouts for whatever reason? No matter how much you might want to, you’re really not making an excuse.
It is not going to happen. What are you gonna do? You wanna work that out ahead of time. So for example, you might add a contingency to your plan and say, I’m gonna work out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at these times. And if I can’t, for whatever reason, I’m going to make up the workout. I miss if I missed one.
I will do it on Saturday. If I miss two, I will do them on. Thursday and Saturday, and if for whatever reason I miss all of my workouts and I can’t work out for a week, I’m going to forgive myself the lapse and carry on the next week as if nothing happened, and write these things down again. Do not just think these things, write them down.
And how else could our fitness plan go awry? Let’s talk about our diet. So let’s say part of your meal plan is going to be a salad. With some sort of protein at lunch, so you can get in some vegetables, some dark leafy greens and some lean protein. What if you don’t have time to make your salad the night before, or maybe that morning when you were rushing out the door, or maybe you forget your salad.
I’ve done that before. You leave it in the fridge accidentally. What are you gonna do? What you could do is you could add a contingency to your plan. For whatever reason, I don’t have my salad with me. I’m going to head to the local salad, place to the sweet greens down the road, and I’m gonna order this salad because it is similar in terms of calories and macros to my normal homemade salad.
You can even use these tactics of specificity and contingency with something like eating out a cheat meal. For example, let’s say you have a cheat meal planned, you’re gonna go to your favorite restaurant. You are gonna save up some calories so you can enjoy yourself. You can be specific with what you are going to order, so you can look at the menu online.
If it is a place you are not familiar with, or if it is your favorite restaurant, you can decide, I’m gonna order this appetizer, this entree, and this dessert, and then stick to the plan. And maybe also that includes how much bread you’re going to eat. So I’m going to eat one or two pieces of bread, and I’m gonna have the steak tartar, appetizer, and I’m going to have the fish entree.
The bread pudding dessert, That would be what my meal would probably look like. And then the contingency would be if for whatever reason it doesn’t work out and I eat more than I plan to eat, I will again forgive myself because it’s not a big deal. Yes, it would be better if I stuck to my plan because then let’s say my calories would end more or less where they normally are.
But if my calories are a bit higher than big deal, even if I’m cutting big. What’s the worst that’s gonna happen? I’m going to erase my fat loss for one day. Let’s say I get to maintenance calories instead of maintaining a deficit. Okay? One day of maintenance. That means no fat loss for the day, but it also means that we’re gonna feel a little bit better for the day.
We’re probably gonna notice a little bit more energy, and our body’s gonna be. Grateful for the extra calories, especially if we have been cutting for some time and if we end the day in a surplus, even a large surplus, okay, maybe we gain a little bit of fat for the day, but it’s one day. Even if you were to go all out for an entire day, eat way too much food, drink way too much alcohol, the most fat you could possibly gain in a day is probably around a half a pound to.
A pound, and I’m talking about eating thousands of calories there. I’m talking five, six, 7,000 plus calories, a ton of dietary fat. Throw in some alcohol as well just to maximize fat storage. Really a worst case scenario, a blowout that might lead many people to feel super guilty, and then purge and then go back to binging half a pound to maybe a pound of fat gain.
And so let’s say it’s a half a pound. You’re not gonna do that in one meal, but let’s say it’s a couple of meals a day really does not go per plan, and you gain a half a pound of fat in a day. Okay? So what? You’ve extended your cut by, what, three or four days? Who cares, right? The problem only arises when you’re doing that consistently.
But if you are consistently sticking to your plan, if, let’s say 80% of the time you’re sticking to the plan, then you can afford. Lapses. You can afford to make some mistakes and we all make mistakes. Even the super disciplined among us, I would probably count myself as one of those people. And for example, when I’m cutting, sometimes I just really get the feeling that my body could use some more calories.
I tend to get it probably every three weeks or so. Where I just feel the need to eat more food, not so much because I’m craving things that I haven’t been able to eat, but more because my body is almost like asking please can you stop mildly starving us for at least a day and just give us some more food?
And why my body is speaking to me in the plural, like Gollum, I do not know, but I will go with it. I have no problem taking a diet break really is, it’s not even a diet break at one day, but maybe it will go two days or even three days depending on how I feel. I don’t see that as a detrimental.
Development because I know, for example, that diet breaks help you stick to your diet better on the whole, So coming back to this scenario of not sticking to the plan when going out to eat or maybe during a holiday, which would involve maybe an entire day of eating, Yeah, fine. That wasn’t exactly what you wanted to do, but you can reward yourself for generally doing what you want to do and for the results that you’re getting.
And understand that there are some positives here. There is a silver lining to eating a bunch of calories if you’ve been in a deficit for a while. It does have positive effects, not just psychologically and emotionally, but. Physiologically. Okay. The next big tip with habit building and habit breaking is to start small.
Start slow. Start with something that you know you can do that produces very little resistance in your mind. That requires very little. Activation energy, even if you know that little habit is not going to get you to your goal, that’s okay because first, we need to work our way up to being able to do the things consistently that will get us to our goal.
Now, some goals don’t require big actions or don’t require difficult actions. Sometimes it is just a bunch of little simple things and that’s fine, but bigger goals general. Do require the regular performance of things that we don’t really want to do. And if you start by trying to go from zero to 100, you might just crash along the way so it can be smarter to gradually build up to the habits that ultimately will win.
The day, and this can even start at the level of what some people would think is silly. For example, if somebody is brand new to exercise and is feeling a lot of internal friction at the idea of getting in the gym and doing a few resistance training workouts per week. All right, Why don’t we start with something smaller?
Why don’t we. Just a workout at home, and if that still doesn’t quite click, okay, let’s start with just doing 10 pushups per day. And if you’re feeling up to more, maybe 10 pushups and 10 body weight squats per day, that is it. And we really could start with one if we needed to, one pushup a day and then you do the easy habit.
You do the small thing until it is on automatic again, until you reach. Point where you just know it is going to happen. There is no way you are not going to do your pushups or your body weight squats. And then you make the habit a bit more robust, you add to it. So then that might become more pushups and body weight squats.
And then you might add some rows like on a table, for example, some body weight rows. And if you could do them, maybe it’s gonna be some chin ups and some pullups as well. And eventually, and it may not take that long. It may take four or maybe six weeks, you’ll feel up to getting in the gym and lifting weights, which you know is what you really need to do to reach your goal.
But you don’t have to start there. You can start with whatever you can do consistently. That is totally fine. And if it seems embarrassing that you have to start so slowly, and I would say this applies. Fitness and anything else, then just don’t tell anybody. How about that? Just keep it to yourself.
That’s okay. You don’t have to tell everybody everything. You don’t have to be an open book and in the end, if it gets you to where you want to be, value that not did you get there as perfectly as possible. Another useful little tactic for establishing a habit is to pair it with something else you already do regularly that you enjoy.
So for. If you would like to do more cardio to lose fat faster and to get healthier, you could pair it with, let’s say, watching your favorite TV show. That works really well for many people. They get some sort of cardio machine to keep it home. I personally use an upright bike and they grab their tablet and they just.
Put on something that they like to watch, and 30, 40 minutes can fly by. Another simple thing you can do to make it easier to avoid bad habits and stick to good habits is to just make it harder to do the bad things and easier to do the good things. For example, why don’t you stick the ice cream well?
I would probably say don’t buy it if you really don’t wanna have to be tempted by it. But if you have it, maybe stash it in the overflow freezer in your garage. So if you want some, you have to go all the way out to the garage and get it. And don’t think something as silly as that can’t make a difference.
Research shows it can. Same thing with the cookies and the chips and maybe the other little snackies in. Pantry, put ’em high enough to require a step stool to get ’em, for example, and you will probably eat less of them. If you wanna watch less TV and you have a TV in your bedroom, take it out. Use your bedroom for sex and sleep only put it somewhere else.
And it is now harder to watch TV because you can’t just lie in bed and. Veg out. It takes effort to get to the room where the TV is and then to get into bed afterward when you are tired, and if you don’t have a TV in your bedroom, let’s say you have one in your living room, you can remove the batteries from the remote, for example, to make it a little bit more difficult to turn on the tv.
Again, sounds silly, but it really can be the difference between watching TV one evening. Not. And as far as making good things easier to do, let’s talk about diet. You can prepare your vegetables for easy use and easy snacking by washing and chopping and peeling them as soon as you get back from the store.
Or you can even buy them pre-chopped a little life hack, so then you don’t have to. Even make them ready to eat. They are good to go for drinking water. Something that many people struggle to do, enough of buy a bottle. I like to use a metal flask and keep it with you at your desk and sip on it throughout the day.
Whenever you’re feeling a little bit thirsty, take a swig and whenever it. Is empty, go and refill it. That is part of the habit. Always have water in your bottle or in your flask, and if you do that, you’ll find quickly that it is pretty easy to drink three quarters to a gallon of water per day, which is what most people, especially most of US fitness people who do a fair amount of sweating every day.
Should be drinking. One other factor you should consider when you are trying to master your habits and take control of your habits is who you associate with is going to have a major impact on how well you do. If your friends are making it hard for you to stick to your habits by doing very different things themselves, or maybe teasing you about the changes you are trying to make, or even trying to just talk you out of them, know that can.
A lot more difficult than it needs to be. So explain the situation to them. Explain what you are doing and why you are doing it, and maybe even ask them to stop poking you about it. Or maybe don’t join them when they’re going to go to the greasy bar joint and drink a bunch of beer and eat a bunch of wings and burger sliders and so forth, because going and having a salad and some water.
Not gonna be very easy or enjoyable. And if it is really a problem, if the people you generally spend time with are not the type of people that you want to emulate, if they are not living in the way you want to live and they’re not doing the things you want. To be doing. And if they are doing the things that you do not want to be doing, you should think about finding a new group of friends.
Why not find people who are aspiring to accomplish the same goals as you and who are consistently doing the things you want to be doing, and who can inspire you and help keep you accountable, even if it’s indirectly maybe. Explicitly checking up on you and asking if you ate your salad. But they eat salads every day themselves, for example.
And you see them eating their salads every day. And it would be a bit odd if you were not eating your salad and you brought a McDonald’s hamburger instead. And some people will struggle with that advice, especially if we’re talking about friends that they. Been connected with for a long time, maybe even childhood friends, and I do understand that, but my perspective is that’s life.
Relationships often have a shelf life. They often do run their course and what was appropriate and what was positive at one point in your life, can. Inappropriate and negative at another point in your life. And unfortunately, no matter how you try to deal with it internally, if you are consistently subjecting yourself to these negative external stimuli, you are almost certainly not going to.
Break free of that gravity well, so to speak. You are going to be kept down to some degree if you surround yourself with negativity or with people who are not accomplishing any type of goals that you wanna accomplish and are not behaving in ways. That you want to behave, and if nothing else, by consistently being around it, you are going to be subconsciously agreeing with the behavior.
You are going to be tacitly approving of the behavior to some degree, whether you consciously or deliberately do it or not, because if you really disagreed with it, and if you really disapproved, The behavior you would have the courage of your convictions and you would stop being around the people. And speaking from personal experience here, I have gone through this several times in my life where I cut ties with people I was once close with because they had just become.
Toxic to use a trendy term. And in some cases I did explain why I was gonna be moving on and I was going to be running in other circles, and in other cases I didn’t, and for different reasons. But in some cases I just simply. Stopped talking to them. That was it. That’s the end of it. And the reason why I didn’t say anything in a couple of these cases, In one case, I wasn’t too close with this person, and the reason was not, he was not going to take it.
The reason was I basically learned that he really was just interested in pumping me for as much information, as much business advice, and as many connections as he could get out of me, and he was completely unwilling. Reciprocate at all. And I fundamentally disagree with that operating basis and I do not do business with, and I do not associate with people like that.
So once I realized that, I just stopped talking to him because I knew it wasn’t going to change me saying something wasn’t going to result in some epiphany on his end. And he wasn’t going to radically change his character because that’s really what we’re talking about. We’re talking about fundamental values here, actually what people like him.
Would do, and I have experienced this before, is they would apologize and they would pretend like it was not on purpose, and they would maybe even offer a favor and then slowly they would just go back to their old ways because that’s the way they are. And there was another case where I abruptly cut ties with somebody who I was closer with and who I did know for a longer period of time.
And the reason for my sudden departure was similar to the. Little story I told, but even more so with this person, I realized that this person has deep problems. Mental illness that is probably like dark triad kind of stuff. Narcissism, machiavellianism, psychopathy, real malevolence. And I’m lucky I got outta that relationship relatively unscathed because those types of people can be very dangerous.
I was fortunate in this case because he also is very lazy and low energy, but if he was a bit more ambitious and if he had a bit more will to power, he could have caused real damage in my life. So anyway, that’s me encouraging you to find a new circle of friends if appropriate, even if it’s a small circle.
Even if you go from having many friends to just two or three good friends who are very positive and who lift you up, and also me urging you to screw your courage to the sticking place. If you have someone in your life who is particularly odious and blow them out of the. I’m behind you, Mike Matthews understands such extreme measures and approves of them.
All right that’s everything I wanted to share with you on habits in this episode. I hope you found it helpful, and I hope you like what I have coming up next for you on the podcast. I have an interview I did with John Goodman on how to become a successful online trainer, which is something I get asked about fairly often, and I.
Felt like I didn’t have great advice. And so I got John on the show to give great advice and I explained why I thought my advice was not as useful as it could be and why I went to someone like John for better advice. And I have another episode or another installment of says you. Coming where I address a few things like high protein dieting and the claim that you don’t really need that much protein to be healthy and fit, and that blue zones don’t eat much meat and they don’t eat much protein and don’t need much protein.
I’m also gonna be talking about a study that I referenced some time ago on why it may be okay to go back to the gym and. Research shows that the gym is not a likely place to catch the coronavirus. But what about group classes and safety protocols? Because not all gyms are the same in terms of their safety protocols and group classes would seem to be more risky than sitting in the corner at the squat rack by yourself.
And lastly, in that episode of says you, I’m gonna be addressing gun laws and the claim. All gun laws are an infringement, which I don’t agree. All right. That’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening to me from in whichever app you’re listening to me in.
Because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search. Ability. And thus it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier as well. And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff.
And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com. Just muscle f o r life.com and share. On how I can do this better. I read everything myself, and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. Even if it is criticism, I’m open to it, and of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have.
Questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with? Definitely send me an email. That is the best way to get ahold of me, [email protected]. And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.
+ Scientific References
- Lally P, Van Jaarsveld CHM, Potts HWW, Wardle J. How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. doi:10.1002/ejsp.674
- Krogholm KS, Bredsdorff L, Alinia S, Christensen T, Rasmussen SE, Dragsted LO. Free fruit at workplace intervention increases total fruit intake: A validation study using 24 h dietary recall and urinary flavonoid excretion. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010;64(10):1222-1228. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.130
- Goto K, Waite A, Wolff C, Chan K, Giovanni M. Do Environmental Interventions Impact Elementary School Students’ Lunchtime Milk Selection? Appl Econ Perspect Policy. 2013;35(2):360-376. doi:10.1093/aepp/ppt004
- Milkman KL, Minson JA, Volpp KGM. Holding the hunger games hostage at the Gym: An evaluation of temptation bundling. Manage Sci. 2014;60(2):283-299. doi:10.1287/mnsc.2013.1784
- Bélanger-Gravel A, Godin G, Amireault S. A meta-analytic review of the effect of implementation intentions on physical activity. Health Psychol Rev. 2013;7(1):23-54. doi:10.1080/17437199.2011.560095
- Adriaanse MA, Vinkers CDW, De Ridder DTD, Hox JJ, De Wit JBF. Do implementation intentions help to eat a healthy diet? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the empirical evidence. Appetite. 2011;56(1):183-193. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2010.10.012
- Gollwitzer PM, Sheeran P. Implementation Intentions and Goal Achievement: A Meta-analysis of Effects and Processes. Adv Exp Soc Psychol. 2006;38:69-119. doi:10.1016/S0065-2601(06)38002-1
- Ostendorf DM, Caldwell AE, Creasy SA, et al. Physical Activity Energy Expenditure and Total Daily Energy Expenditure in Successful Weight Loss Maintainers. Obesity. 2019;27(3):496-504. doi:10.1002/oby.22373
- Soini S, Mustajoki P, Eriksson JG. Weight loss methods and changes in eating habits among successful weight losers. Ann Med. 2016;48(1-2):76-82. doi:10.3109/07853890.2015.1136428
- Neal DT, Wood W, Labrecque JS, Lally P. How do habits guide behavior? Perceived and actual triggers of habits in daily life. J Exp Soc Psychol. 2012;48(2):492-498. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2011.10.011
- Wood W, Quinn JM, Kashy DA. Habits in everyday life: Thought, emotion, and action. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2002;83(6):1281-1297. doi:10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1991
- Schwabe L, Wolf OT. Stress prompts habit behavior in humans. J Neurosci. 2009;29(22):7191-7198. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0979-09.2009
- Dickinson A. Actions and Habits: The Development of Behavioural Autonomy. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci. 1985;308(1135):67-78. doi:10.1098/rstb.1985.0010