How are all your resolutions going?  Are you sticking to them?  Have you been able to change those habits you're determined to break....or make.

Us humans are habitual creatures.  We generally do the same things at the same time each day.  If you're a bodybuilder then you'll definitely be a creature of habit eating and training the same time daily and probably eat the same foods everyday too.
Habits, good or bad, make you who you are. The key is controlling them. If you know how to change your habits, then even a small effort can create big changes.


One habit I want to change is drinking coffee and controlling the amount of pre workout drinks I have. I need to lower the consumption because it just stimulates my adrenals too much which makes my body feel stressed (and probably me unconsciously stressed). By lowering the adrenals and hopefully the cortisol, my body will be in a happier zone to burn fat at more effectively.

Both these rituals, coffee and pre workout, are well and truely entrenched in my daily routine. As I'm sure in yours. 

Nuria and Lisa doing coffee

Usually its coffee fist thing in the morning with cardio, then a pre workout before weight training, then a shake and carbs after training.   Then depending on how busy I am, I usually have a coffee to tide me over to lunch.   Some afternoons I feel great, but other days I feel a crash in the afternoon. I'm sick of feeling lethargic so its time to kick the habit.


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Love my coffee and Pre Workouts!

But one step at a time as I need to work slowly to cutting the addiction altogether.  And it is an addiction and a habit.  So if you're addicted to something and need to cut it out, then perhaps some of these steps might help you.

Here are some steps I'm goint take to kick my habit and might help to get you started:

One Habit For 30 Days.  My aim is to get change one of my habits,  that of not having my cup of delicous glorious cup of coffee before lunch.  If I can make this change for 30 days, hopefully after that time I'll be conditioned enough to form a habit and stick with that regime.   If you need to change your haibt,  focus on one change for 30 days.  For example if you're new to exercise, instead of saying I'm going to do X amount of classes a week, say to yourself I'm going to do 30 mins of exercise each day.  This take the stress and excuses out of getting to the classes.

Use a Trigger – A trigger is a short ritual you perform before a habit. When I'm 'dying' for a coffee I'll reach for a glass of water instead.  But for you, if you wanted to wake up earlier this might mean jumping out of bed as soon as you hear the sound of your alarm. If you wanted to stop smoking this could be snapping your fingers every time you feel the urge for a cigarette. A trigger helps condition a new pattern more consistently.

Replace Lost Needs – Lets face it coffee is an addiction. It smells great, it perks you up and that time having coffee is a time to relax or catch with friends so it has a social aspect to it as well.  Instead of just cutting out  that time I have with friends, or by myself, to enjoy that sweet nectar, I'm going to replace it with green tea.  I've also heard that liquorice tea is also good.

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I'll still have something for pre workout as that's part of my ritual, I just want to decrease the stimulant part. So it'll be Beta Alanine for strength and BCAAs for energy and recovery.

Depending on what habit you want to cut out, you'll need to find a new way to fill the gap that habit was fulfilling for you.  If you've been having 5 coffees a day, then I wouldn't recommend going cold turkey as this will give you a massive headache and you'll be no good to anyone - at work or at home.  Perhaps cut to 3 a day and plan when you really need that boost. If its eating a crossaint every morning tea, then a better habit might be to eat a piece of fruit instead.

One Habit at a Time
– You might have more than one habit to change but trying to change them all could spell disaster and you'll achieve nothing.  So best to master one habit change at a time so that you really stick to it.    The other habit as mentioned earlier is cutting down on my pre workouts.  I only have 2-3 a week at the moment but would like to get that down to 1 or none, will work on this for March so will enjoy the boost it gives me while I can.


Write it Down – Don’t leave commitments in your brain. Write them on paper or on your website!  This does two things. First, it creates clarity by defining in specific terms what your change means. Second, it keeps you committed since it is easy to dismiss a thought, but harder to dismiss a promise printed in front of you.

Tell your friends – Just like sticking to an eating plan or making a commitment to compete, its better if you're accountable to someone for your actions. Tell your friends what you're up to and how you want to change a certain habit and you'll be able to stay committed to your plan. Anything to give yourself that extra push.

Keep it Simple – Your change should involve one or two rules, not a dozen. Instead of coffee, I'll have water or keep myself busy so I don't think about coffee.  Simple rules create habits, complex rules create headaches.

Consistency is Key – The point of a habit is that it doesn’t require thought.  Variety may be the spice of life, but it doesn’t create habits. Make sure your habit is as consistent as possible and is repeated every day for thirty days. This will ensure a new habit is drilled in, instead of multiple habits loosely conditioned.

Wish me luck as I take my last gulp of ' the nectar of the gods' for morning tea.
Lisa, Go Figure
February 2012

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