Customize Your Habits: How to Love Cleaning & Working Out
Updated: Apr 13, 2019
Good Afternoon Reader!
Thanks for tuning in: as usual, I am sending love and blessings your way.
Today I wanted to talk about HABITS, and more specifically, HABIT-FORMING. Isn't it so hard to form a new habit? Who has started a diet or new routine just to drop it in a month?
And ladies, I can relate! Sure, there are some women who THRIVE at the gym, but I'm not one of those people! And I'm definitely not one of those women who LOVES to put the laundry away (honestly if you meet a woman like that, send her to my house.)
With the New Year coming up, it's important that we find realistic ways to incorporate new habits into our lives. I have found that the following 2 steps can conquer almost ANY new habit:
1. Establish WHY you believe you need to do the new habit.
2. Customize the habit into something you will enjoy doing.
Let's unpack this.
Why is figuring out the "why" so important? Why do our beliefs matter in habit forming? Well, this is because unless we truly believe in something, we typically won't adopt it into our lives.
Cleaning, for example, was really hard for me to get motivated to do. Being orderly is NOT natural to me: I am a chaotic creative woman who is constantly leaving trails of mess and disorganization wherever I go.
If you walk through my house before I have tidied, you will find shoes wedged under dressers, coffee cups on top of the mantle and in the shower, and a long-forgotten load of laundry mildewing in the machine.
So what reason did I find for "why" I needed a clean house? Was it because I am a housewife and that's what we do? Was it because I have traditional values about marriage?
Not really. Those reasons are simply not enough to motivate me to clean.
I clean because I FIRMLY believe that cleaning, tidying, and organizing are part of the recipe to achieving inner peace. I believe that humans thrive in an orderly environment, and that it is a noble and worthwhile pursuit to clean, tidy, and organize.
Once I established a belief system around the habit of cleaning, it became incredibly easy, delightful even, to adopt it into my everyday routine.
This "belief-system creation" also helped me figure out why I should adopt working out into my routine. The old adages that "working out will lead to longer life!" wasn't enough for me to WANT to work out. (I guess I don't care about dying younger? LOL!)
I decided to journal and figure out why I wanted to work out. And the answers weren't very altruistic or noble: honestly I just wanted to be skinnier and lighter. I wanted to walk down the beach without thinking about my thighs, and I wanted to feel more confident during sex and even singing in front of church. (Sex and church: such good reasons LOL!)
These reasons may sound shallow, but they were REAL reasons and beliefs that helped me adopt working out into my life.
Enough with this whole "everything you need to do has to be for yourself." This doesn't work for everybody! Some people really do clean their house just because company is coming over, and a lot of people find themselves motivated to get in shape after a breakup! Who cares about the reason: just figure out why you want to do a habit and run with it.
Secondly, let's talk about "customization." I think you can add almost ANY good habit to your life, as long as you customize the way you are doing it.
For example, I DO NOT enjoy difficult high-intensity workouts. Stay away from me Kayla Itsines!! I hate the pressure, the militant work, and the strain on my body. The same goes for running, and even certain pilates programs. I just HATE it!
So I had the task of figuring out a work out that I would actually WANT to do.
And I figured it out! I found that I enjoy walking. Yep! Plain old walking. Now you can find me speed-walking through my small town with a podcast and my dog almost every day.
And you know what? Even though this workout is less "intense" than Tone-It-Up or the Bikini Body Guide, I have noticed MORE weight loss and MORE toning simply because I am more apt to do it often. I enjoy it so much that I don't even really think of it as working out!
For some people, this means signing up for a 5K, joining a fitness class, or yes, even doing the Bikini Body Guide. Whatever you need to do to customize, just do it!
Likewise, to make cleaning more fun, I have embraced the art of DISTRACTION. While tidying, I always have a podcast on. Doing dishes? Up come some Youtube videos to play in the background. I talk on the phone while folding laundry, and I chase my dog around the house with the vacuum while blasting Selena Gomez.
Basically, I figured out how to make cleaning entertaining and fun enough for me to want to do it every day.
Now I can promise you that with tricky habits, you probably won't want to do them every day, but if you figure out the "why" and you customize, once you START the habit, you are MORE likely to complete it.
So there you have it ladies! Figure out the "why" behind new habits and then customize away.
Maybe your "why" for working out is that you just want to keep up with your kids or feel healthier. Maybe you will want to adopt cleaning into your life simply because you're sick of tripping over messes by the front door!
Finally, remember these words: you're not going to want to keep a habit that you hate doing, so figure out how to love it.