October 28, 2016

In an idealistic world, habits are formed by deciding to adopt a new practice, and following through with it struggle free. However, this is not the reality that we live in. Building any habit is in effect transforming some aspect of your lifestyle. Which is big! And also why it is going to take time, patience, and lots of practice. Luckily, there are many many people have successfully (and unsuccessfully) done this, and recorded it! Here are a few pointers we can offer you:

Set Goals

Identify why you want to start biking.

This is vitally important. You can do anything for two or three days without real reason, but if you want something to really stick, you will have to give it meaning. Reflect within yourself why you would like to start biking and write it down. Give yourself the logic you will need to help sustain your new practice. 

Visualize 

Visualize yourself practicing it.

Many people will often over fantasize about their end goal, fixating on the product forgetting about the process. This can sometimes negatively impact your chances of success because forming your new habit is essentially creating a new process. When scientists asked participants to also visualize themselves practicing the new habit they stuck with their new practice much more than if they had only visualized the results.

Graphic is from Bikeyface! 

Routine

Start Small

The simpler the task, the more likely you are to stick to it. For this reason, when first starting out biking begin small, commit to no more than 15 minutes of riding a day. Make it enjoyable for yourself and pick the same time of day Before you begin to tackle larger transformations such as becoming a full-time bike commuter- begin by riding every day for 5 minutes.

Set yourself up

Make it insanely easy to get yourself ready for biking. Do some minor rearranging, if necessary, and place your bike lock and helmet next to the front door.

Create a Trigger

Give your new habit a place to live. What is the last thing you do before you leave the house? Do you put your lunch in your bag? Put your shoes on? Lasting habits exist largely on routine triggers, knowing this you can create your own trigger. In order to do this, you will identify the last thing you would do before you set out on your bike ride (grabbing the keys, putting on your shoes, etc.) and attempt to do it in the same exact order every time. This will help your brain begin to prepare to go for your ride every time you grab your helmet and put on your sneakers. 

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

Self-awareness & forgiveness

Don’t let one day discourage your progress

Research is providing evidence that in order to transform a new lifestyle habit successfully, it requires frequent repetition over an extended period of time. However, it is not detrimental for you to miss one day ( or even two!). If you were to miss a whole week, there might be negative impacts on your progress.

Your thoughts have power!

Another hot tip from Darya Rose: Utilize positive thought while practicing your new habit. When you are beginning a new practice it’s easy to lean-out and feed into discomfort, however, negative thoughts are not going to bring about desirable results. Instead, focus on the positive- embrace the outdoors, think about how good your body is going to feel, tell yourself how proud you are for sticking with your new habit. It will help reinforce the idea of the habit as a positive experience and increase the likelihood of it becoming second nature.

Beware the Fatigue!
Sheer willpower is not really enough. Often times when people begin to build a new habit they rely heavily on willpower to force themselves into a new pattern. This, after a period of time, becomes exhaustive. A deeper insight into this is offered by Darya Rose of Summer Tomato in her piece about willpower fatigue. Heeding Darya Rose’s advice, you will need something more solid than willpower alone to have your back in solidifying a new habit. Enter- logic! Find out your moments of “Ah Screw it” and address them head on. There is almost certainly a logical dialog you can use to pep yourself up so when you feel the urge to hop in the car instead of biking there is a long list of positive reasons and feelings you know you are guaranteed to feel if you bike instead.
Eliminate “Ah Screw its”
Find out where your “Ah Screw it” moments are and address these head on. These “Ah Screw it” moments are found when your alarm is going off at 6 am and you planned to get up and work out but the air is cold and you're so warm, and all of a sudden you’ve hit the snooze button ten times. This is where a logical thought comes in handy. First, do everything you can to set yourself up so that when these moments come around ( because they undoubtedly will) you have done everything you can to give yourself a help.Sometimes all it takes is having your sneakers close enough that you can easily put them on, once they’re on it usually goes easy from there.