How to build a habit - skitching

Sometimes life just gets crazy. Too many things to do. Too much to take care of. So what do you do when you’re just too busy to exercise right now? Especially when you’ve made (or renewed) a commitment to regular exercise? Everyone says the key is to make exercise a habit. But how do you build a habit?

One of my favorite tricks to build a habit is to hitch the new habit to one that’s already pretty solid. Then I can skate on the momentum. (The kids call this skitching (the 2nd definition, not the first).

Here’s how I do it.

1. Pick something I want to do. (The latest thing I chose was body weight squats – but it could be anything.) I usually use this technique for things that I can do quickly – pushups, pull ups if I have a bar handy, drinking more water – you get the idea. But once it’s effective you can add to it. The key is to keep it short, sweet, and easy to knock out – otherwise you might try to procrastinate it.

2. Pick something that you do daily without struggling or even thinking about it. (Turning on the coffee maker first thing, showering, brushing your teeth, etc.) I picked brushing my teeth – that way I knew I’d be doing my new habit at least twice a day.

3. Hitch the thing you want to do to the thing you’re already doing. I started doing 10-20 body weight squats every time I brushed my teeth. The toothbrush goes back in its holder, and I start my squats. Every time. It’s that easy. And within about a week or so, I built a habit of doing squats two times a day – whether I get to the gym or not.

4. Skate, baby. 🙂

No muss. No fuss.

If you’re finding that early morning walk tougher than you thought, or if you just want to build in a few healthy habits at a time this technique will work. Do some squats or pushups right after you push go on the coffee maker. Crank out some jumping jacks – or jog in place for minute before you hop into the shower each morning. You get the idea.

Set up a skitch for yourself, build a habit, then tell me how it goes in the comments section below.

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