I believe that the way our bodies feel, look, and function is largely a representation of how we live, or put another way, the cumulative result of our daily habits which is everything from brushing our teeth to how many people we say hello to on our way to our office. Or as Aristotle put it so concisely:
We are what we repeatedly do . . .
Granted this is assuming that you don't have any major underlying or undiagnosed medical conditions.
But in most cases how we look, feel, and perform are largely outcomes dictated by how we live our lives day in and day out.
The logic then follows that if we want to look, feel, and/or perform differently than how we currently do we have to change the way in which we live.
The greater the difference between where we want to be and where we are means the greater the change or number changes required to overcome it.
And the more extreme the look, feel, or performance you are chasing the more extreme the required changes and new daily habits will have be.
At the end of the day what this all boils down to is that the world of health and fitness is all built (or at least it should be) on behavior change and ideally long-term behavior change.
That is most people who are exercising and trying to eat better are doing it for the end result. They are engaging in these behaviors in order to obtain either better function, form, feel, or all the above.
Exercise and eating better are typically the behaviors that are emphasized most in order to get those results.
However most approach these behaviors with a limited view. They believe that they will adopt the behaviors of exercise and eating better until they get to where they want to be and once they make it there they will simply go back to their old way of doing things.
Inevitably though the old form, function, or feel returns because, again, the end result is a representation of the daily habits.
And in reality the number of behaviors you have to change in order to move toward where you want to be are numerous and way more complex than just "eating better" and "exercising."
It make complete sense, but yet tons of people are running around everyday complaining about being unable consistently to lose weight (and maintain it), build muscle (and keep it), or get up without their knees hurting despite all their best attempts.
But it really isn't a mystery.
It's just that they stick with the changes long enough to see benefit and then they regress to their old behaviors.
I mean Albert Einstein has already informed us of this:
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result
The truth is you have to be willing to change the way you live and the daily habits you practice if you want to change the end result otherwise you are just acting insane.
Bringing us back to the point that getting leaner, stronger, and healthier is all about behavior change. We have to get rid of habits that detract from our goals and building habits that contribute to our goals.
And in all honesty that shit right there is hard!
I mean have you ever tried to start doing anything on a consistent daily basis that you haven't ever done or tried before?
Yeah not easy to stick with at all, but as many can attest to it is possible to cultivate new habits and diminish old ones.
The thought then becomes well okay then we just all have to will ourselves into practicing and maintaining all these new complex habits we need to adopt in order to have the results we want and if we want it bad enough we can make it happen.
We make it about will-power, determination, discipline, and just about any other word have seen placed over the top of a hot, sweaty sick pack on Instagram.
When rather we should be thinking about how do we make these behavior changes and new habits easier to make and form.
How do we make them more automatic, more convenient, and ultimately easier to do because we have to be able to practice something often enough and consistently enough until it becomes a subconscious action.
You know one of those things that "you just do."
This is when the importance of a community comes into play and not just any kind of community, but a community on a mission. A community who is going to get shit done as Coach Stevo would say!
And that is the point of this three-part series and in each part I will share a way that having an intentional community makes behavior change easier and ultimately obtaining the look, feel, or performance you desire easier.
The first of which is the ability of an intentional community to create a "new normal."
This idea actually originates with the work of two psychologist, Icek Azjen and Martin Fishbein, who developed a theory known as the Theory of Reasoned Action which essentially states that if you see a behavior as positive and beneficial and you believe that the significant others in your life want you to do that behavior you will be more motivated and have a higher likelihood of performing that behavior and this is in fact often true.
However Icek Azjen would later expand on this theory himself creating the Theory of Planned Behavior by adding to the Theory of Reasoned Action the idea of "perceived behavioral control" after noticing that there were times when the Theory of Reasoned Action provided a poor prediction of what people would do.
This Theory of Planned Behavior created then a hierarchy of barriers that can prevent people from engaging a behavior even when they believe the behavior is beneficial and even have the intention to actually perform the behavior.
Which brings up back to the original point which is that communities can create a "new normal" which allows us to overcome one of the barriers to change that the Theory of Planned Behavior describes.
That barrier being the 'subjective norm" and "normative beliefs" of your current environment.
For example if in your current social environment exercise is seen as non-essential and unproductive and no one else in your social environment currently exercises it is most likely that you will adopt that similar view of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle.
The exact opposite though is also just as true and that is where we can leverage the power of an intentional community to help us make our behavior changes easier.
Thus if you want to start cooking more meals at home one of the best things you could do for yourself is to take a cooking class.
First and foremost you will learn the skill of cooking and preparing food which will make cooking at home that much easier however in addition to that you will likely be surrounded by a number of other people who all value the ability to cook and prepare food as essential and who all value the behavior of cooking meals in your own home.
Eventually you will begin to make connections with these people over the course of the class and because they value cooking at home and see it as important and will give you positive regard for doing the same you will be more likely to practice cooking at home and act on developing that behavior.
In other words having other friends who both cook and eat at home will increase your motivation to do the same and keep you adherent to the practice long enough to make it "just something you do."
The same example applies if you are wanting to begin an exercise regimen or training program, but have a hard time remaining consistent.
Don't make the mistake of going it alone, but instead join a walking club, running group, or take a regular group exercise class.
Being in an environment where training hard and exercising is the "normal" thing to do will make it easier for you to take on that new behavior yourself and practice it enough that it becomes habitual.
Now that you know that having an intentional community will help you develop the habits you need to have the results you want by creating a "new normal" you just have to put this into action.
Decide on what habit you'd like to begin working on first then find a group of people who are already consistently engaging in that behavior and who view the behavior as beneficial then find a way into that group and spend time with them and practicing your new habit.
In fact if you are attempting to change the way you eat, train, and live and are in need of an intentional community to help create a new normal for you and make the process of change easier I have a great opportunity for you!
In 21 days I will be officially opening up my Your Best Self Coaching Program for enrollment however I am offering everyone the opportunity to sign-up for early access. Those who sign up will be notified of the programs opening 24 hours early then the public and will have the opportunity for those 24 hours to sign up for the program at a special discounted price!
If you are someone who struggles with doing what you know you should be doing and have had difficult making your lifestyle changes last then this is the program for you!
Don't miss out on this opportunity!
Happy moving and heavy lifting!
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training