The Making of a Habit

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I think I can speak for many when I say this journey to a healthier you isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. If all we had to do is eat better, get in some good cardio, do a little strength training here and there, and manage our stress, then certainly we should be at our goal in no time. Right?

Once again it isn't always quite that easy as many of you know. And I think I may have been given a key to the reason why we struggle to get to our goal--it all has to do with one little word--habit.

As many of you already know, I am a runner. Over the summer I worked with a running coach to help me gain a better perspective on this sport. On this particular June morning Coach Lee took me and my fellow running pals to the local high school track for some speed drills. As we were working on the drills I was having issues with my right foot not aligning correctly. Every few minutes I would hear the following words echoing across the track from the far side, “Keep your feet straight, Nancy.” It seemed like these words were a constant stream every time I ran around the track. By the time we were done, I think I heard that phrase a bazillion times. I was so frustrated because just when I felt I was doing the so-called ‘right way’ of running, there was Coach Lee shouting yet again, “Keep your feet straight, Nancy.”

We started heading back to the gym and I was not a happy camper, to say the least. I felt the harder I was trying the more I would hear those words. I finally decided to tell Coach Lee just how I felt.

And this is what he said, “I am your cue, Nancy. I am going to tell you when you start to falter so that YOU will recognize when you are falling back into your old habits. This is so you can work on recognizing it for yourself. In order for something to become sub-conscious or natural, you must make a conscious connection to the habit in which you want to break or make.”

Let me tell you, I have never ever looked at any habit, good or bad, any other way since. Here is a kid, just out of college, telling me a woman, old enough to be his mother, how to make a habit. I think that is what we often refer to as Aha! moment or as I like to see it--a blessing.

And you know, I think he is onto something. In order for us to make or break a habit we must consciously be aware of what we are doing until we change permanently; therefore, we no longer have to think, we just do. If we don’t learn how to cue ourselves to change than we fall prey to living the same way we always have.

These are the little voices inside our heads that tell us that we deserve to live a healthy lifestyle. Soon one voice is exchanged for another and then another, but when they are all working in conjunction WE HAVE MADE A HABIT! .

So from now on whenever I hear those infamous words, “Keep your feet straight, Nancy” I will not listen with a critical heart but instead be grateful that Coach Lee was willing to teach me just not to think but do.

Has anyone inspired you to make or break a habit? Do you find that it is harder to break bad habits or make good habits? What habits have you finally let go and what habits have you embraced?

See more: fitness motivation