Lifestyle

Behavior Change, Lifestyle, Transformation

Habits Equals Success


Success in meeting our goals in life whether that be our weight, our lean muscle mass, our retirement or writing a blog comes from a simple formula. Simple doesn’t always mean easy, execution and follow through can be tough. We are all human and we all fail from time to time, even the best of the best are not perfect so please keep that in mind while we look at this  simple formula that helps people reach their goals. 

Here it is: Establish good habits! That’s it. Allow me to expound on how good habits allow us to reach our goals and find success. Let’s break this down. I didn’t say bad habits or wrong habits or just habits. I said “good” habits. Often the thing that takes us away from where we want to be with our health or any other goal is an incongruent habit. This does not mean the habit is bad in moral or ethical way, although it could be. It simple means it is not aligned with what we want and in this context I would define a bad habit as any habit that doesn’t serve you and where you want to be. Staying up late binge watching the latest Netflix series to me is a bad habit because I value the quality and quantity of my sleep and how that quality sleep impacts my health. The nightly Netflix binge also takes me away from reading and learning, which is something else that I value and enjoy. This does not mean that I don’t watch any TV or that I haven’t binged a series until midnight –– see above about not being perfect –– however is not my habit, or my default.

Habits are just that, our default behavior that takes place when there is a trigger or a cue. It can be walking into a dark room and you turn on the light switch 99% of the time. That is habit. dark room, switch, you and voila the lights are turned on. It can be the routine you use before bed, the route to take home from work or the store. These all become default habits. Some are great, some not so great and others can be indifferent. To reach our goals with our health we need to set up good habits that serve our health goals. 

Here are some areas that we can improve our habits that will pay off over time. After all, a habit is doing something consistently over time, which is also the definition I use for compliance. 

Consider your habits around the following things and ask if they are truly serving you, if not ask how can you improve them in small ways. 

Evening routine 

Bed time 

Morning routine 

How you eat your meals 

When you eat your meals 

Do you have a snack – if so why and what 

Workouts 

Moving frequently during the day

Going for a walk after dinner 

Going for a walk in the morning 

Meal prepping

Meditation and mindfulness 

Spending time with friends and family

The list can go on an on. The key point is to be intentional about the things you do and to build a good habits around them. The good habits will become the default and it will require less thinking and will power. The good habit becomes automatic like turning on the light switch and the benefits compound over time. Just remember bad habits compound over time as well. So take some time and evaluate some habits you may want to add, to change or to remove from your life and apply intention + consistency + time and you will get where you want to go. 

Habits take time to develop and it’s okay to start small, it’s okay to tinker with them until they work for you. And always enjoy the journey along the way and give yourself the permission and self love to know that you are not perfect and that progress is better than regression and stagnation. 

Best. 

Nathan Marsala | PHC 

Bison Health Coaching

Behavior Change, Lifestyle, Transformation

Getting Started


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A question I seem to get a lot is, Where do I start? With all of the information that is available and all of the “changes” that may or may not need to be made it can become overwhelming. Starting with an all or nothing approach can be for you if you are that person. Most of us are not, and we need to pick one item and ease into the changes.

I am an advocate of the minimum effective dose (MED) to make a positive change. The MED for week one is only becoming aware of the behaviors that you currently have. I am not saying you obsess over these items, but merely become informed. An example would be with food and meal frequency. I recommend that you write down everything you eat and drink and the time for one week, you do not need to count macronutrients or calories, this is just to become aware of the choices and decisions we make. If carrying a notebook is too much, use the camera on your smartphone and before anything enters your mouth snap a picture. The phone will time stamp and show quantity, and it is simple. This is a MED to become aware of one habit. After we have been able to bring awareness to the meal timing, and content we can then begin to work on making the positive changes.
Typically the next step would be to purge the pantry of any processed food, vegetable oils, sugars, and other simple carbohydrates and to go grocery shopping for real, whole foods. I emphasize green leafy vegetables, some fruit in season that is fresh for a sweet tooth, healthy meats and fats. We work on merely eating these foods over processed foods. Timing, quantity, and frequency will come next. Again each approach is tailored to the individual and what they can take on. For some, it may be easier to go all in and attack all aspects in one step. Understanding how much to change to take on at one time is something you need to play with to determine what the MED is for you. I don’t want clients to be starving or hungry at first. I want them to start focussing on better food choices. As quality foods become a natural part of their lifestyle, then we can start working on the MED for other aspects of health. These would be meal timing, quantity, understanding the difference between satiated and stuffed. After food, we focus on sleep, movement, exercise and stress resiliency. Regaining our health does not happen overnight, in a week or a month. It is a process that takes time. The time required is different for each person, and it has a lot to do with how long a person has been living in a way that was opposed to health. My journey back to health took over a year to get to a healthy weight and as my knowledge expanded so did the time it took. My weight loss and return to health were non-linear, and I am still working on making consistent changes as my goals and understanding progress. The principle of MED has not changed and is still there.

So where do we start? With becoming aware of what needs to change and then taking the minimum effective dose to start making that change.

By: Nathan Marsala