Habits & Behaviour Change

Health and fitness comes down to habits and behaviour change.

What separates the sedentary population with the fit and the fit with the elite athletes is their habits. Their daily behaviours are what sets them up for success. Getting to the next level, whether that’s from the couch to the gym, or from a 100kg deadlift to a 200kg deadlift, it heavily relies on behaviour change and habit formation.

I’ve believed this for a while now however, it really hit home recently when I listened to the @artofmanliness podcast with guest James Clear – author of Atomic Habits.

All too often in this profession we are asked “how long until I lose 5kg… how long will it take me to add 20kg to my bench… how long until I’ll run a sub 10min 3km time trial?” Why I like James’ approach to these questions is because he views habits as a lifestyle to live, not a finish line to cross.

Making small sustainable changes to your current life might not seem like it’s going to change anything in the short term and honestly it probably won’t. If you stop eating ice cream for dessert after dinner every night for a week. At the end of the week, you’re very much the same person. But what about in a month’s time? 1 year’s time? 5 or 10 years time? You could be an entirely new person.

When you look at improving your life by 1% each day in some aspect, be it, nutrition, training, sleep etc. Over the long-term it really begins adding up. Instead of looking at habits as something you form in 21 days, 3 months or a year, what you’re looking to do is create a new normal.

By creating a new normal, you reduce the friction involved in performing the new thing you’re trying to do. Instead of waking up and asking the question - “Should I exercise today?” the question quickly becomes “What kind of exercise am I doing today?”

James uses cognitive and behavioural psychology to develop the 4 laws of behaviour change that revolve around the 4 steps of the habit loop; Cue, Craving, Response and Reward.