To reach your desired body shape, overhaul your lifestyle.
What does that mean?
Essentially, give yourself a lifestyle audit. Sit down and take a good, hard, honest look at what has got to change in order for you to attain the body you see in your head, the body that you ultimately want to look and feel like.
I use the term ‘overhaul’ because for most people, that is what it will take. A complete and thorough overhaul of habits and choices made on a day to day basis in order to achieve your desired body shape. Yes, it can be confronting. Yes, it can be shocking. And yes, it can be scary. But those feelings aren’t necessarily bad things. Embrace them, and see those feelings as a sign that you know, deep down in your heart, something needs to be done.
THE DOMINO EFFECT
So you’ve sat down, written out all the parts of your lifestyle that you want to change and its staring back at you. Do you try and conquer everything all at once? Of course not. As I stated earlier, it can be quite overwhelming. This where ‘the domino effect’ can come into play.
What is the domino effect? The domino effect states that when you make a change to one behaviour it will activate a chain reaction and cause a shift in related behaviours as well.
For example, a 2012 study from researchers at Northwestern University found that when people decreased their amount of sedentary leisure time each day, they also reduced their daily caloric intake. The participants were never specifically told to eat less food, but their nutritional habits improved as a natural side effect of spending less time on the couch eating mindlessly. One habit led to another, one domino knocked down the next.
If I use myself as an example, nights when I’ve made an effort to get better sleep quality by drawing or reading before bed, I sleep so much better. Therefore, I focus better, I work better,I have more energy, I train better, I drink more water etc. That is MY domino effect.
The domino effect holds for negative habits as well. You may find that the habit of checking your phone leads to the habit of clicking social media notifications which leads to the habit of browsing social media mindlessly which leads to another 20 minutes of procrastination.
In the words of Stanford professor BJ Fogg, “You can never truly change just one behaviour. Our behaviours are interconnected, so when you change one behaviour, other behaviours also shift.”
CREATE YOUR DOMINO EFFECT
There are 3 keys to making this work in real life:
- Start with the thing you are most motivated to do. Start with a small behaviour and do it consistently. This will not only feel satisfying, but also open your eyes to the type of person you can become. It does not matter which domino falls first, as long as one falls.
- Maintain momentum and immediately move to the next task you are motivated to finish. Let the momentum of finishing one task carry you directly into the next behaviour. With each repetition, you will become more committed to your new self-image.
- When in doubt, break things down into smaller chunks. As you try new habits, focus on keeping them small and manageable.
The Domino Effect is about progress. Simply maintain the momentum. Let the process repeat as one domino automatically knocks down the next. Consistent progress will bring results.