What a 4 Year Old Taught Me About Habits

It’s New Year’s Eve and we’re not only about to start a new year but a new decade. Plus it’s 2020. Very few people were around for 1919 and fewer still will be here for 2121. So this is a special one.

Many will be looking to start anew. This might be wiping the slate clean and getting a fresh start. It’s like making your bed and cleaning your room. You feel a sense of accomplishment and want to keep it up as long as you can.

I’m sure this is how many feel with their health and fitness as we prepare for a new year. And if we flashed forward 12 months to this time next year I can tell you right now, without any doubt, whether you will be successful or not. And I know this because of one thing.

And that one thing is your habits.

Let me share a quick story about habits with you. It involves our 4 year old daughter Vangie. Every since Vangie was old enough to communicate with us I’ve said the same thing to her at dinner time. I ask her:

‘Vangie, do you want to say grace?’

Similar to our family…holding hands and praying before we eat.

Sometimes she rolls her eyes. Other times she’ll ask why we have to? And on occasion she’ll just start eating.

But even if she’s reluctant to do so she’ll always lead our family in grace. She’ll add her own version every now and again as well. We’ll usually hold hands as we pray but she may mix it up and cross her arms to the opposite sides and want the other family members to do the same. She’s also be known to link with the person beside her with knuckles and finish the amen with a fist pound.

Anyways, right now I’m writing this from Playa del Carmen where we’re on vacation with our family. There are 25 of us in total including 12 kids and 13 adults.

Last night we were out for dinner and part way through Vangie yelled out ‘Wait! We forgot to say grace!’

So she made everyone stop eating, join hands and a four year old led us in prayer.

Now what does this have to do with your health and fitness in 2020? How can a story of a 4 year old help you to achieve all of your goals?

Because it’s your daily habits that will result in success or failure. It’s not if you went for a 10 km run today. It’s if you will walk 15 minutes everyday. It’s not if you got 9 hours of sleep 2 weeks ago on Thursday. It’s if you will get 7 hours of sleep every night. And it’s not if you cut out all carbs and go full keto for the next month. It’s eating just enough whole foods at every meal.

Practice enough small, daily positive habits to achieve massive success.

Your success won’t be determined by an intense workout once in a while. And it won’t come down to a 21 day challenge to avoid certain foods during that period. And it won’t be because you were able to sleep in a little longer on the weekend.

Your success will be due to the smallest increase in positive habits that you can do forever. If you walk for 5 minutes a day can you bump this to 10? If you get to bed on time 3 nights out of the week can you make this 4? If you buy lunch at work daily can pack a lunch once a week?

Do you see the pattern? Figure out where you’re at to set a baseline and then aim to be one better. And as we’ve said in the past your decision making filter for health and fitness decisions should always be:

  1. Is it healthy?
  2. Can I do it forever?

Answer these to figure out what to do. And then do it daily.

Because if a 4 year old is asked to do something often enough, even if it is not something they want to do, soon enough they will start doing it on their own. And they will get other kids, and adults, to join them. Talk about the power of habit!

Now I realize many people won’t know where to start. They won’t know how to set a baseline. They may have no idea what their goals are, what one better would be, or how to get started.

As well, just like Vangie, some people need a dose of accountability. They will need someone to remind them. They will need someone to encourage them to do what they need to do, especially at times when they don’t want to do it.

Lastly, there will be some people who know what they want. And they can make themselves do it. And they also realize they will get a better result with the plan, structure, guidance and support of another. These are people who have had decent results in the past but always wondered what they could do with a coach in their corner?

Regardless of which person you are I challenge you to take control of your health and fitness right now. In the same way 2020 can mean perfect vision I want this to be the year you have a clear vision of the results you will achieve this year.

Leave a comment after this post or stop by Okanagan Peak Performance Inc and we will see if working together would be the right fit.

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