Now that you have made it through the habits course, you understand the mechanics of how habits work and the techniques of breaking and forming them, so now it's time to learn some habit hacks!
These will be useful shortcuts to get you results faster, but also to make it easier, and most importantly, to help you wire your brain so the results you get are PERMANENT!
Because you've earned the easy stuff now.
Follow the principles and guidelines below to make hacking your habits easier than you ever thought possible!
Principle 1: Be realistic with your goals and expectations.
Starting this journey with the right expectations and goals you can realistically meet is vital to your continued success and motivation.
People tend to underestimate the progress they can make in 10 years, but overestimate the progress they can make in 1 year.
What this sets people up for is a feeling of failure in the short term, which ends up limiting their progress in the long term too.
One hack is to set your short term goals lower and if you surpass them, you will feel even better about them!
Another hack is to look out 10 years and decide where you want to be and then work backward from there to set your short term goals.
Here's one example with weight loss. The average American gains two pounds a year, with 1.5 of those pounds happening through the holiday season. This means in 10 years, the average American will be 20 lbs. heavier.
Knowing this, if you set a goal to LOSE 2o lbs, in 10 years, then you would also set a goal to lose two lbs. a year and gain zero weight during the holidays, or maybe just one pound and then lose three through the rest of the year. This is a pretty easy goal to hit, right? And you'd feel great about losing weight each year instead of gaining it like most other people.
Then if you lose more than 2 lbs. in a year, you've CRUSHED your goal and can enjoy that feeling is extra amazing when you go above and beyond!
Principle 2: Track your progress
It sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised at how many people don't measure daily. For most people, this means stepping their scale, but I suggest circumference measurements as a better option.
If you are exercising, and you absolutely should, to drastically increase your chances of success (especially long term), the scale won't show progress as fast as your body circumferences because you will be gaining muscle weight as you lose fat weight.
I have people at my X Gym telling me all the time that their weight is slowly changing (or even not at all at first), but their clothes are falling off them! This is the perfect example of this trading fat for muscle phenomenon.
You can also track your progress with a mile walk, or a timed hike, or at the gym with a certain machine, etc.
It's also helpful to track your food, so you can see those changes over time. studies show those who use a food log - even without anyone else seeing it - get 30% faster results because they are less likely to eat mindlessly or forget things they eat, making them think they are eating healthier than they really are.
Principle 3: Forgive yourself
When - not if - you mess up, or "give in," or backslide, forgive yourself immediately and get right back on that train! Put your mistakes behind you and realize you are human.
Every day is a new day. Each morning when you wake up, you have a fresh start! Whether you made progress the day before or not, today is another chance for more progress. Tell yourself this each morning and continue this mantra throughout each day.
Principle 4: Expect progress, not perfection
Another human flaw is that we expect ourselves to be perfect (aka perfectionism) and are then easily and frequently disappointed, which usually knocks us off the train and keeps us off.
Progress should be like a good stock you bought years ago. It's up over time, but along the way, it has little dips and blips. That's normal. That's human. Get over the perfectionist mentality or you'll never get to where you want to be. Seriously. PROGRESS is your benchmark, NOT PERFECTION!
Principle 5: Get some accountability
Find a partner to help keep you accountable. All they have to do is to check in with you on a regular basis.
Introvert brain types prefer to have one friend to answer to, who is supportive and reliable.
Extrovert brain types tell several people and/or post it on social media regularly to get lots of feedback, opinions, and support.
Be careful of the "friends" or spouse who might not be supportive though. Only pick those people who have proven to be supportive in the past and would still be with whatever goal you are trying to achieve.
Principle 6: Set the bar so low you can roll over it
With small goals that are easy to achieve, you feel progress more often, which builds momentum and "streaks" of success. If you are not hitting your milestones or short term goals, make them smaller - so small in some cases, they make you laugh because they sound so easy. This is especially effective at creating new lifestyle habits like exercise. Walking one lap around your house, or even your car is a great place to start. Then, in some cases, you will do more - since you're already out - and that's fine, but as long as you hit your mini-goal, you've won and that deserves a (non-food) celebration! Throw your hands up and say, "I'm awesome!" Your inner toddler will love it and will want more of that!
Principle 7: Make old bad habits inconvenient
Here's one example. It's been said, the battle is won at the store. If you don't buy it, you won't eat it. If you still want to eat it, you will have to go to the trouble to make a special trip go get it and that's highly unlikely, especially with the tools in this course.
P.S. Be sure to visit my personal blog beegeandpeege.com for my most current updates and new posts on habits, brain science, nutrition, exercise, and happiness!