Whether it’s work, marriage, parenting or even exercise, you need to establish good habits to succeed. In working out, preparing well, formulating a game plan, executing it properly, and aiding recovery—are all good habits.
Good habits when planning your workouts
Once you decide to begin a training regime, formulate a solid game plan. First, identify your goal. Decide on a short, obtainable goal that you can achieve in a short time span. This will help you establish good habits in goal setting as well as in formulating a workout strategy.
Challenge yourself: Once you identify your goal, decide on the best way to achieve it. The key is in challenging yourself by asking: how can I achieve my goal? What can I accomplish by achieving my goal? What is the end result? If you are successful in achieving your goals, you’ve established a pattern of good habits.
Examine your ways: Make mental notes of these. For example, once again, ask yourself: did I select a good goal? Did I do everything in my power to achieve my goal? Was I prepared to challenge myself? What were the high and low points when I set out to achieve my goal? These questions will help you establish good habits in formulating a game plan.
Good habits when achieving your goal
You’ve established a solid game plan and along the way, you begin to establish good habits. Now, you have to prepare yourself to achieve your goal. I believe in mental preparation to achieve perfection.
Visualise: See yourself achieving your goals; make it a daily habit. Think about wearing that new suit or that new bathing suit next summer. Before I go to bed every night, I envision what I want to accomplish. This makes me motivated and mentally prepared to take on any challenges I see—or for that matter, even the ones I don’t. This habit will serve you not only in working out, but also in handling real life experiences.
Good habits to recover after your workout
You need to realise how the body recovers, repairs and develops. The best way to recover is by getting enough sleep.
Stay active: You need to establish good habits that will help you sleep soundly throughout the night. One of the habits I follow to get sound rest, is to exhaust myself throughout the day. If I go a day without doing anything physical—basically lying on the couch and watching TV or sitting at the computer—I have done nothing for my body to recover from. This will lead to poor sleep. So, I stay active throughout the day.
Take naps: This is another good habit. By this, I do not mean to recommend taking unnecessary naps. Too much sleep in the day can definitely affect your sleep and pretty much ruin your chance at recovery. But short naps, really help.
Get enough sleep: Try to get 7 – 8 hours of quality sleep, daily—our body needs that much for optimum performance, according to recent research.
Sleep and wake-up early: Following a regular sleep pattern is good for recovery. I am in the habit of going to bed early, waking up early and attacking the day.
The good habit of making a commitment to yourself
Make yourself a priority in your life. We all tend to take care of those around us, but who’s going to take care of you?
Make a daily checklist of things that will commit to doing during the day and include ‘you’ in the checklist. This good habit keeps me focused, motivated, active, honest, dedicated and determined to succeed.
If you’ve been working out, you know that aches, pains and minor injuries happen. Bad habits that cause these are over-training and not observing correct form. But there are two habits that are worse than the above: continuing working out when you are hurting; and not tending to your injury.
Rest: If you are sore or have a minor injury, take the day off. Experts strongly recommend letting your body heal. It’s better to rest now for a day or two rather than be forced to rest for longer, later. By not giving your body time to recuperate, you are aggravating the problem. Pain is your body’s way of telling you, it needs rest. Listen to it.
Tend to it: Ignoring your aches and pains and going about your day tolerating the hurt is equally bad. Immediately apply an effective pain relief product—an ointment or a spray—that suits you. Usually, if the injury is minor, these products provide quick and permanent relief. But if the pain persists, get immediate medical attention.
Always tending to your aches, pains and injuries by using pain relief products is a good habit that helps prevent small troubles from blowing into big problems.
— Team CW
This was first published in the December 2009 issue of Complete Wellbeing.