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Leftfield 101, Mindset - Ritual de lo Habitual
By: Leftfield Training

Nothing is stronger than habit


If there are to be any shortcuts in building the life we want, an understanding of how habits work and how to best harness them to our own ends, is what we need.

And not only what we need, but what we want.

Despite what the fitness and dietary industries would have you believe, you really do not want the result.

Do not believe me?

For the sake of brevity, I will summarise the following poorly managed, and yet undeniably magical, event in your life. You happen upon a lamp. You rub it, lo and behold in a puff of smoke, a genie appears.

- I grant you one wish!, says the genie.

- Only one!, you say. Feeling ripped off, but pushing your luck.

The genie, arms folded, replies

- Verily. (For real)

- Very well then, you probably get this one a lot... (he does)

- I wish to have my dream body

Bad. Move.

Your wish is granted, the genie splits, and before you can say wasted opportunity, you are already on your way back to exactly the body you have now. I give it two weeks, one month, max.

Your body shape is simply a reflection of your current lifestyle, your level of fitness, the foods you eat, the foods you do not eat, the sleep you get, how stressed you are. Your life as it stands right now, is the sum of your habits.

If you want to change one you must change the other.

We are, in fact, damn good at creating habits. The trouble is they are usually not aligned with what, and who we want to be. But we can create habits that lead us to what we want in our lives, and we can do so in such a way that gives the best chance of having them stick.

Charles Duhigg, in The Power of Habit, writes that all habits form by the same 3 step process.


A habit is defined by consistency, so the last thing we want to rely on is motivation, which may be around, but might not. Ideally we want to be able to connect our new habit to something we already do, an action trigger.

Think about the things you already do without fail, everyday.

Wake up
Brush teeth get the point. But there is five, and you have not even left the house yet. You could also also add other events, opportunities that are more random.

Boiling the jug
Commercial breaks
Receiving a text or phone call
Stopping at a red light

These are all cues that can act as reminders for new habits, some more appropriate than others - a red light is not a good time to do pushups.

Stanford Professor, BJ Fogg refers to the selection of this cue point as sequencing and that it is this, rather than motivation, that counts.

If you pick the right small behavior and sequence it right, then you will not have to motivate yourself to have it grow. It will just happen naturally, like a good seed planted in a good spot.

As you know already, you must start small. You want your new behaviour to present as little disruption to your current routine as possible, and so easy, that you cannnot say no. Fogg even suggests that people who want to start flossing begin by flossing just one tooth.

A gold star
(and a barely perceptible nod of the head), to those discerning music lovers who got the Jane's reference.)

The reason behind why any habit is formed, the reward does not need to be, and should not be, elaborate. Remembering to floss on a Tuesday night does not warrant a trip to Thailand. The satisfaction of continuing to do something that is of benefit is enough. Even just a verbal pat on the back -Good job or Well done. It might seem weird, but remember we are always telling ourselves one story or another.

Never make food your reward.

Ultimately, the benefit you gain from the habit will be its own reward. If you eat healthy and exercise, you gain energy and enjoy a sense of well being.

So now we know how to form these new habits to give ourselves the best chance of success, but there are also some habits that can give us more bang for our buck.

To read the remainder of this post please go to:

OR simply call Leftfield Training now, and take the first step to getting IN SHAPE OUTDOORS.


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Added: 25-04-2015