Four Tonal coaches share their personal strategies for creating long-term habits that stick.
Although it’s not the only option, the new year is as good a time as any to refresh your goals. The key to reaching any goal is cultivating strong habits. According to research, less than 10% of people stick to their new year resolutions and goals. That’s primarily because we don’t map out our goals alongside behavior-changing actions that will lead to permanent habits. So here are a few simple ways to do just that.
Cheat Sheet for Building Stronger Habits
- Think about all the good habits you already have and take stock of them, even if they seem small. This will help you see the foundation already in place and give you the confidence to create further habits.
- Next, think of the habits you want to change or build. According to this Psychology Today article, the best way to change habits that don’t serve you is to create a new ones in their place.
- Write down the new habits you want to build or change, and make them small, actionable, and specific. For example, “Instead of watching Netflix after work, I’m going to work out for 20 minutes, three times a week.” It’s essential — for the first few weeks at least — that the action for the habit you want to create is easy and doable. You can build on it later.
- Attach the new habits you want to cultivate to existing ones. Let’s say when you wake up in the morning, you always stretch for a few minutes, try this: “As well as stretching, on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, I’ll do yoga for 20 minutes.”
- Don’t try to do it all at once. Just focus on a couple of things at a time.
- Be patient. This is probably the most challenging part, but like all great things, building a strong habit takes time.
Coach Nicolette’s Tips for Building Strong Habits
“We all tend to have high expectations for ourselves. We envision our end goal and then set the bar extremely high, thinking that our motivation alone will get us there. In my experience with clients, this just isn’t the reality.”
- Be realistic: When creating habits to reach new goals, it’s important to look at your schedule, commitments, and life. We are all anxious to achieve our goals, and we often think we need to do it all to see progress, but that’s not true. You could add everything you feel you need to change to your to-do list: drink more water, drink less coffee, cut processed foods, work out, meditate, the list can go on and on. Slow down, and don’t rush into change. Too many changes at once will cause you to burn out and give up.
- Pick three things you want to change: Choose to tackle one to three things over 4-6 weeks. Once you’ve established the three things you want to tackle, the more specific you get about them, the better! For example, don’t just say workout on Tonal three times a week. Specify what program and workouts and make a schedule! Once you become consistent with these three things, then you can add more.
- Every little bit helps: Remember, some of the seemingly insignificant changes you make are the ones that influence your life the most. Instead of trying to change everything overnight, start with the easy stuff, be consistent, and feel proud when you have created even a small habit!
Coach Liz’s Tips for Building Strong Habits
Motivation alone isn’t enough. Here are three things to fall back on when the motivation just isn’t there!
- Don’t wait for motivation: The inspiration to create a strong habit can come in many forms, but it often sparks up after a big event gets placed on the calendar. Don’t wait to feel motivated before making a positive change. Change happens when we roll up our sleeves and get to work.
- Cultivate discipline: When we are feeling motivated, making changes is easy. It’s during times when we lack the motivation that the real work begins. Motivation will fade, the key to building strong habits is cultivating self-discipline.
- Hold yourself accountable: Set a schedule and stick to it. Put on the shoes, turn on the workout, and hold yourself accountable for the promises you made when you set out and felt motivated.
Coach Jackson’s Tips for Building Strong Habits
“If you want to change your life, stop thinking, and start doing! You don’t need the perfect plan, diet, or coach. Once you get started, you’ll build momentum, and suddenly you’ll feel motivated to keep going.”
- Take action: Motivation does not precede action. Action precedes motivation. And it’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than think your way into a new way of acting. Think about this statement; it’s important.
- Use simple and powerful statements: What, when, where! These three little words can increase the odds of hitting your goals. Here’s an example of what, when where: “Monday, Wednesday, and Friday — I’m going to wake up at 6 am, and workout on Tonal doing Coach Jackson’s Muscle Building Burnout program from 6:30-7:30 am.”
- Add if-then statements: Your odds go up even further with in if-then statements. Here’s how to use an if-then statement: “If I go to bed late, I’m going to drink an extra cup of coffee, wake up at 6 am anyway, and go to bed an hour earlier that evening.” And in case you miss a workout: “If I miss my workout for any reason, I’m going to make up for it on Saturday morning working out on Tonal with Coach Jackson from 8-9 am.”
Coach Frances’ Tips for Building Strong Habits
“Once you decide what your new habits will be, just start. Procrastinating will get you nowhere, and it will make you second guess everything. As soon as you begin and commit, the momentum will come and motivate you to keep going.”
- Find your people: We are stronger together, and I cannot stress the importance of surrounding yourself with people that have similar goals and aspirations for continual support. Your core group of people should be individuals who inspire you to grow and be better and call you out when you might be slacking or living in a way that won’t help you maintain those healthier, stronger habits, and vice versa.
- Level up your thoughts: Live your life like you are already the badass individual you envision yourself to be. If you wake up every morning and believe you are that person, you will most likely make choices that will help you get there faster. You need to breathe it, feel it, and be it before you become it. Who you think you are is exactly who you are. Level up your thoughts so you can step into your real power.
- It’s okay to shift gears: Being clear on what you want is important and can inspire you to keep going. However, it’s also okay to change your goals. In fact, it’s great! As you grow, your plan will naturally shift. So don’t be afraid to check in with yourself every couple of months to see if your habits align with who you are and aspire to be.