I struggled to exercise consistently. It was never the right time, it was cold out, and my excuses were always logical. I did exercise when I was working up to some challenge: 10k run, half-marathon, or a 100 mile bike ride. I'd challenge myself to complete it, exercise to prep, and I would finish! Not racing against anyone but myself. I felt great!
Problem solved, right? Nope. I never continued to exercise - I wasn't consistent. I'd take a break to rest for one week which turned into two, which turned into 6, and then — well, you get the picture. I'd slip right back into my old habits and not exercise. How do I make exercise a regular habit?
The answer came while reading James Clear's book Atomic Habits. He writes about Identity-Based habits: "If you're looking to make a change, then I say stop worrying about results and start worrying about your identity. Become the type of person who can achieve the things you want to achieve."
James provided a 2 step process for Identity-Based habits:
- Decide the type of person you want to be.
- Prove it to yourself with small wins.
I didn't need to create a harder goal or grit my teeth and get through. I needed to look at my identity.
I decided to change my focus from finishing one challenge to becoming someone who exercises consistently. Rather than the goal of completing a half marathon, I changed my focus to being active every day with small wins.
Be Active Daily = B.A.D.
Once I shifted my mindset from results to the type of person who can achieve what I wanted, the results followed. I have become someone who desires to exercise. This pushes me to try challenging workouts and to run further distances. I achieve my goal with my B.A.D. habit.
Do you have your own B.A.D. habit to create?