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  • Writer's pictureLouise Furlong

Unveiling the Secrets to Successful Habit Change & Motivation

Do you find yourself lacking the motivation to stay committed on your journey towards a healthier, weight-shedding version of yourself? Look no further! 

It's no secret that the success of your transformation hinges on the habits you cultivate. 

While nutrition and training play crucial roles in weight loss, it's the power of habit change that determines your ability to stay consistent. 

In today's blog post, we embark on a transformative journey together, unveiling the secrets to successful habit change, uncovering the keys to unwavering motivation, and sharing my top tips for finally breaking free from old patterns. 

When embarking on a fat loss journey in Sydney CBD, it's common to envision drastic changes to your lifestyle and eating habits. It’s tempting to overhaul your entire routine; increase your exercise, drink more water, and get more sleep all in one day. However, while those  intentions might feel great at the start, this approach is unsustainable, and in most cases only leads to failure.

The problem with making drastic changes at the start of a fat loss plan, is that this is naturally when motivation is at its highest. You feel inspired, energised, and think you can take on the world. But just like happiness, motivation is fleeting. It’s unreasonable to expect to be motivated all the time, a balance of both positive and negative emotions is normal. When your motivation drops off, it’s much harder to maintain the goals we’ve set for ourselves. 

Instead, it's better to focus on making small, sustainable changes to our habits and routines over time. Taking this approach allows us to gradually build healthier habits that lead to lasting changes. The key message is: don't force yourself to be motivated all the time. Accept that it's okay to have ups and downs, and instead, focus on building healthy balance in your life.

The fact is, dramatic changes aren’t necessary for successful fat loss. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Those who have gone through a long-term fat loss transformation know that it's the small habits built up and sustained over time that create the most significant changes. While it may not sound quite as dramatic, this approach is much more effective. As an experienced personal trainer in the Sydney CBD for over a decade, I have witnessed this time and time again.


When it comes to fat loss, a calorie deficit is necessary in order to shed weight, however, it's the habits that lead to that calorie deficit that matter most.


When it comes to fat loss transformations, it's important to focus on process goals. Many people who achieve significant transformations already have the big rocks in place. For those who don't, it can be overwhelming to try and implement all of them at once. 

Instead, focus on aligning these habits one by one to create a calorie deficit. 

While it may not result in such a immediately visible  transformation, this approach is much more sustainable and effective in the long run. The main habits we observe during personal training in the Sydney CBD, leading to life-changing yet sustainable transformations, revolve around:

  • Going to the gym three times a week (instead of everyday)

  • Getting 2 palm sizes of protein at each meal (40 - 50 grams)

  • Getting your step count above 8,000 steps per day 

  • Including a plate of vegetables at each of your meals 

  • Getting 7-8 hours of good quality sleep every night

If you currently don’t engage in these habits regularly, it would be advised to forget about the immediate goal of losing weight, and instead focus on ingraining these habits (one at a time) first. Setting outcome goals (i.e weight loss targets) without establishing the necessary habits that lead to that outcome is a common mistake. This lack of progress can be demotivating and can cause you to give up completely. 

Once these habits become automatic, tracking calories and other finite details that we cover one on one personal training in the Sydney CBD can then be added in. By focusing on process goals and building habits over time, sustainable results can be achieved. The key is to make these habits a part of your lifestyle, so that you don't have to go through a drastic transformation every time you want to lose weight.


The smallest possible habit


When it comes to implementing these “big rock” habits it may not be as simple as just starting. Sometimes, the best approach is to set the smallest possible of each of these habits. Stanford PhD researcher, BJ Fogg, summarises this approach in his book, "Tiny Habits." If you can't do a habit or an exercise, then you need to regress it a little bit. By setting the smallest possible habit, you make it easy to execute and build momentum towards achieving your ultimate goal”.

For example, let's say you are struggling to stick to a weights program. I may ask why you’re having trouble, and you may say you don't feel confident in the gym. I may then suggest to start by going to the gym three days a week, and only doing at least 15-20 minutes on the treadmill. You can even watch Netflix on your phone or Ipad while you walk! Most agree that this would be easy for them to carry out. This small habit is something you feel competent in doing and can easily stick to, and it helps reduce the fear or reluctance of going to the gym.

It's important to note that the goal here isn't to push you to do an intense workout right away, but rather to help you build a contextual habit that you can stick to long-term. By starting with a small, achievable goal and gradually increasing it over time, you can create a sustainable habit that fits seamlessly into your lifestyle.

To further reinforce the habit, we could use ‘habit stacking’, which involves linking a new habit to an existing one. For example, the client could decide to go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6pm, right after they finish work. This creates a clear trigger and context for the habit to take place, making it easier to follow through.

Once the habit of going to the gym becomes ingrained in your daily routine, an exciting world of possibilities awaits. You can look to elevate your results by venturing into the realm of resistance training. Whether you feel more comfortable doing weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, or utilising resistance bands, incorporating some kind of resistance training is crucial in your body transformation journey. I may choose what the client is comfortable with but work towards more traditional weight training exercise in the weights room of a gym, which understandably can be daunting for some. Just like designing an exercise program, the goal is to gradually progress over time towards this, no matter how long it takes.

Use this approach for all your other habits. Success leads to success, and you need to set yourself up with the most realistic versions of the habits you want to form. If you find yourself failing, it's just a sign that you’ve set the bar too high. Make the version of the habit easier and build from there, progressing when you’re ready.

(To determine if a habit is the right fit, ask yourself how likely you are to do it on a scale of 1-10. If you rate it less than a 9 or 10, it's probably not a good sign. On the other hand, if you’re carrying out the habit consistently, then you've picked the perfect plan).


Staying Motivated


To build on a framework of success, you need dopamine to reinforce our actions. Without it, you may feel like we're not making progress and give up. This is why setting outcome goals without establishing the underlying habits can lead to failure. The Tiny Habits method is designed to create a framework of success by starting with small, achievable goals that trigger a chemical cascade of positive reinforcement. When we celebrate our wins, we tap into the reward circuitry of our brain and encode the sequence of behaviours you just performed. By feeling good at the right moment, you train your brains to recognise and repeat those habits. According to BJ Fogg, using celebration at the right time can help us form a new habit in just a handful of days.


Celebrate your wins, no matter how small they may seem, and build on your framework of success.


Each time you celebrate completing a new habit, you tap into the reward circuitry of your brain, causing it to recognise and encode the sequence of behaviours you just performed. By doing this consistently, you can train your brain to associate positive emotions with the new habit, reinforcing it and making it more automatic.


…..don't be afraid to ask for help! Consider working with a coach who can provide support and guidance as you build your new habits. This can be especially helpful if you've struggled to make changes in the past.


Livelong Performance — offering the best personal training in Sydney CBD


Take out the thinking from the equation, leave it to the experts and reach your fitness goals more efficiently with our one-on-one personal training in Sydney CBD. 

Our skilled and experienced personal trainers in Sydney’s CBD will work with you every step of the way to create a fitness program that incorporates nutritional advice, structural assessments and accountability — all of which are key in helping you become the best version of yourself. 

Ready to get started and transform your health and fitness? Call us today to begin your journey with Livelong Performance.

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