The 21/90 Rule: How to Turn Habits Into Lifestyle

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Alright, this time you’re for real. You’re going to get serious about drinking a gallon of water a day or about living an active lifestyle. You’re going to focus on your finances and boost your credit score. How many times have you had these sorts of conversations with yourself and fallen short? Be honest. I’d venture to say that you’ve fallen short a few times … we all have.

When it comes to creating the lifestyles we love, we fall short for two reasons:

Mentality + Mindset
We’re not ready, mentally, to commit to the habits it takes to make it happen. We want to reap the benefits but aren’t willing to put in the work.

We cut ourselves slack when it’s grind time. We tell ourselves that we’ll do better tomorrow or the next day not realizing that just yesterday we were saying “Tomorrow.” And the cycle continues … (Shouts out to Nike for that Gem).

Knowing how to create or modify your habits is useless if you aren’t prepared mentally or you’re not ready to hold yourself accountable. When I see a need for growth or change in my life I check myself at the door with these 5 #CheatCodez.

  1. Eliminate excessive decision making.
    To do this, you have to understand the habit loop. Your current routine is triggered by a cue. That cue could be emotional or conditioning or otherwise. But once you understand what is triggering the routine you are trying to adjust, you’ll be able to make that adjustment and the reward will be more fulfilling because you’ll know you earned it or you held yourself accountable.
    #CheatCode: I have a gnarly sweet tooth. I noticed that on the way home from work I’d find myself stopping at a cornerstore to grab ice cream or something sweet. I’d get that sweet craving and want to curb it in the most convenient way possible but would end up set back on my fitness goals. Instead of having to decide how to curb that craving on the way home, I started keeping dried pineapples in my center console so the decision was made for me.
  2. Refer to the 21/90 rule.
    It takes 21 days to build or break a habit + 90 days to create a lifestyle. If you want to make fitness a cornerstone to your life, understand that it won’t feel like second nature to you until about the 90-day mark.
    It takes 21 days to build or break a habit + 90 days to create a lifestyle. Click To Tweet
  3. Start with a small habit.
    Make micro quotas + macro goals. That’s the #key to lifestyle change. It won’t happen over night. Celebrate the small victories. Those will be integral to the confidence you’ll need for tackling the bigger tasks.
  4. Never miss twice.
    Realistically speaking, trying to go 21+ days straight introducing a new habit into your schedule is a set-up for failure – especially if you have an issue holding yourself accountable. It’s a slippery slope, but if you go into your goal setting with the mindset that you won’t miss two days in a row, you won’t find yourself turning “I’ll start over tomorrow,” to “I’ll start over next week/month/year.”
  5. Don’t burn yourself out.
    Slow and steady wins the race. Be patient with yourself. Don’t come out the gate, guns a’ blazing’ if you know that’s not a sustainable pace. Set yourself up for success.

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