Habit > Motivation : BYE, Snooze Button.

IMG_4450 copy.jpg Last week I decided to work on kicking a habit that I've been allowing myself to engage in for quite some time: hitting the snooze button.

I'm an early riser. I coach my first strength class at (em)POWERHOUSE Gym at 5AM. It's actually our busiest and most consistent class. When we first opened our doors back in August, I was up by 4AM making my coffee, getting dressed, and allowing myself plenty of time to get my mindset right before leaving for the gym.

As the months went on, I wasn't getting the appropriate sleep that I needed in order to feel fully rested. When my alarm (both of them) would go off, I'd hit the snooze button multiple times, annoying my sweet wife to no end. Although still arriving to the gym in a timely manner, the snooze button made for a super annoying and rushed process of making coffee, getting dressed, and picking my socks out in the dark.

I started hitting the snooze button EVERY SINGLE DAY, regardless of my sleeping pattern. Even on days where I WOULD get plenty of sleep, the snooze button became my autopilot button. I now knew (down to the very minute) at what point I would HAVE to crawl out of bed in order to get to the gym on time. I started noticing that my morning routine was much less peaceful - more stressed, more rushed, and let's get real - I drove with a hint of anxiety. I like to be prepared, but I was honestly cutting it way too close for my own comfort.

Snooze

There's a point in which things crossed a line - and that was the morning that I didn't have time to make my coffee because I'd hit snooze one too many times. Coffee is another habit of mine, but it's also an "experience". I love sipping on my cup of joe while I drive quietly to work. Most mornings I don't even turn on the music. It's my meditative time where I think, brainstorm, breathe, and get my mind ready for the day. So you can imagine that I was pretty annoyed with myself during that drive. I probably even turned the music on, avoiding my quiet time. BECAUSE no coffee.

So now I was hitting snooze because I knew that I could, and not particularly out of necessity. I started digging deep into this simple action of mine. WHY was I doing this? I know when it comes to motivation, I'm at the top of my game. And while motivation creates excitement and drive, I am starting to understand that consistency (i.e. those habits) outlives motivation.

In my case, my consistently "pushing the snooze button" created a habit - one that I wanted to eliminate. I started to think of how all of this translates to working out and nutrition and life's everyday activities.

I'm going to say something that may surprise you: I'm NOT always motivated to work out. Are you surprised? Maybe. Maybe not. But it's the truth. There are days that my schedule is crazy and there are days that I'm honestly just NOT feeling it. But EVEN on those few days when I lack motivation, I have made working out a HABIT of mine. In this case, this habit IS desirable, as I know that working out, lifting weights, and moving my body is better for my health AND better for my mindset. And guess what? I always feel better afterwards, and I'm always thankful that I stayed with my habit. Nobody ever regrets the workout after the fact, right?

The same can be stated for those that do just the opposite. How often do you see somebody  motivated to start a new workout program only to disappear within a few weeks or months? This is because when their motivation goes away, they're going back to WHAT THEY ALREADY know, and for some, this means no working out at all.

Let's look at nutritional habits. We're actually discussing this very subject in my Girls Gone Strong "Strongest You" program coached by Jen Comas. Most people are motivated by the notion to eat and incorporate healthier foods into their diet. But old habits have an ability to creep back in (sneaky b*stards!) and people often revert back to those old habits in times of stress or peer pressure.

The less than desirable habit I have with these mini eggs should DIE. It's a habit of mine to buy these (multiple bags) every year at Easter. I'm working on it, but I'm also admittedly relieved that most of these bags are in the clearance section, soon making their way out of all candy aisles. #halp

Cadbury-Mini-Eggs-Wrapper-Small

Can you see a pattern? We can look at NUMEROUS situations in our lives - comparing the motivation factor to the habit factor. The habits we create will win EVERY time.

So back to my snooze button. I knew that I wanted to change the situation, so I decided to create a few action steps in order to set myself up for success the next morning.

  1. I made the conscious decision that I wanted to stop pushing snooze. This has to be the first step in redirecting any habit. If you don't REALLY want to change it, then you're not going to work as hard at it, right?
  2. After telling MYSELF about my new intentions, I told my wife about my plans. This created the accountability piece.
  3. Making my bedtime a priority. Listen, we all need our sleep. In order for me to start this habit out RIGHT, I HAD to set myself up for success by getting to bed at a reasonable time.
  4. I changed my alarm tune to a loud, upbeat tone. You might think that this negates my desire for wanting to wake up in peaceful mindset, but for this situation I needed a way to get my a$$ out of bed. JLo's "Booty" song did the trick.
  5. I set all of my clothes out the evening before. Now you might be thinking ,"that only sounds like a solution that would help if she were continuing to push snooze." But for me, this just added value to my morning routine. Not only would I be waking up "on time", but everything from getting dressed to making my coffee would make the process run smooth.

So far, my actions steps are working! I've gone 4 whole mornings avoiding the snooze button. I'm back to loving my morning routine, and the coffee always tastes better when you can enjoy the experience. I'm going to HAVE to remain consistent with these steps, or it's very likely that I could fall back into the snooze button habit. Habits will outlive motivation every single time. Evaluate the habits in your own life - those with your own snooze button, working out, nutrition, relationships, etc...

You're one (or a few) action steps away from working to start/stop/redirect a habit. Motivation is a wonderful thing, but the habit wins every time. Don't miss out on an opportunity to live the way that YOU want to live. After all, ya snooze ya lose!

(You had to know that was coming!)

Engage. Empower. Elevate.

Coach Fowler