What makes up thoughts, beliefs, patterns, and feelings?
A habit is defined as “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.”
I read a blog post by author/speaker/coach, Joshua Spodek, about how he has been doing burpees every day since 2011.
Burpees, also known as squat thrusts, are a dreaded exercise – even by the most enthusiastically active people.
When I read that Joshua started with 10 burpees and eventually worked up to 50 per day, my first thought was – I can do that.
Then, the what if’s set in.
What if I stop doing them and let myself down?
What if I don’t feel well?
What if I forget to do them?
And on and on it went.
That’s when I knew I had to do this.
Our brain keeps us in the same routines and habits to protect us – even when there isn’t anything to protect us from. Our body, on the other hand, often exceeds what our brain holds us back from doing.
I know that if I physically continue to show up and do the burpees, my body will prove to my brain that the what if’s (also known as fear) were unjustified.
Day one was December 25th (Christmas day).
On day two I wrote a new goal on the chalkboard at my bootcamp gym to do 10 burpees a day for 60 days (I picked 60 days because in a study cited by James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, a habit takes 66 days to cultivate). After writing my goal, one of my workout friends decided to join me.
On day three, I asked on social media who wanted to join me and 10 people said yes.
On day four, my bootcamp friends did all 10 with me as part of our warm-up.
For me, this exercise isn’t about burpees, although the physical strength gained is appreciated. This exercise is about forming a new habit – a little bit at a time.
With the new year around the corner, you may have ideas about what you want to accomplish in 2020. Doing a little bit every day will help you accomplish what you want.
The other components that help are: sharing what you’re doing for accountability, writing it down, and having support from other people. If it makes sense for other people to join you, this adds additional accountability, motivation, camaraderie, and fun.
If you want to quit a habit, you can reverse engineer the same process. For example, if you want to eat less sugar, gradually eliminate it over time. Commit to doing the new habit for at least two months for the best result.
The key to starting something new is doing a little bit at a time. If you have fear blocking you from moving forward, establishing a physical habit like this one can help you overcome the fear.