Today strive to be better than you were yesterday.

Here's a fact about me – I used to be overweight.

When I said this to a fellow actor once, she rolled her eyes and said "right... like 5 pounds overweight?"

I smiled because like you, she didn't know my story.

I was over 200 pounds at one point in my life. For a little over 10 years, I struggled to lose that weight. There were many reasons why I was overweight and why I struggled to lose it, but the main reason is that I did not know anything about developing new and healthy habits and how to implement the new habits in to my life style.

The journey of developing new habits began when my world went upside down.

Few years ago I was going through personal and professional setbacks that led me to a deep, dark hole, making me feel hopeless about life.

My life situation drained me and I knew I needed to change something if I wanted to be happy. At that time I had low self-esteem and I lacked confidence in myself. I desperately wanted to see some positive results in some aspect of my life. Feeling frustrated and hopeless, I decided to make a committment and exercise daily for an entire month.

I focused my energy by running every day so I could let the accumulated frustration out. At the time, running served as a symbol of running away from my problems, even if it was for an hour a day, it felt great at the moment when I was doing it.

I started to enjoy running and feeling in control. I then started to observe what motivated me, what got me excited and what energized me when I ran. As time went on, my body got addicted to running. I started to challenge myself further by eating healthier, being more conscious of what I consumed, and eventually lost 100 pounds as a result.

When you start a new habit, you go outside of your comfort zone to explore the land of unknown.

You know you need to exercise, but the inner lazy voice takes over and manages to convince you to put it off for "tomorrow."

Been there, done that. Tomorrow never comes. This moment is the only moment you truly have.

So I tried to figure out what I enjoyed about exercising and I asked myself 'what is it that I don't like and do like about exercising? How does it make me feel before, during and after the exercise? '

The answer is simple. Starting anything new is hard. But when you actually start doing the thing you set your mind to, it feels great!

Running makes me feel accomplished, confident, bad ass, gives me vibrant energy, and makes me feel unstoppable.

My favorite quote from Martin Luther King Jr is a great example of my running journey.

I didn’t start off running 5k marathons (still on my to-do list). I started off by taking a stroll in the park first. Then I challenged myself to run for a few minutes, and pushed myself to go a little bit further than I did the day before.

The key to developing good habits is to challenge yourself every single day just a little more, so that you are continuously growing. Today strive to be better than you were yesterday!

If you want to develop good habits, you have to start out small. Be realistic with what you can handle but start somewhere. I know many people who try different diets and fail before the week ends. It’s very admirable and ambitious to tackle on a new habit without prior experience, but are you sure you’re setting yourself up for success here?

Be realistic with yourself. Developing a new habit is almost like trying something completely new for the first time, without having any knowledge or prior experience. The chance of you failing and quitting is pretty high.

Keep it simple.

Start with the first base by identifying which habit you want to implement into your life style. Then, work on developing that habit really well every day. Make it work for you. Make it a part of you. Make it a part of your daily routine.

It's like brushing teeth and showering, once it's part of your daily routine, it will come naturally to you and you won't have to think about it anymore, you just do it.

Once you have the habit down and it is a part of you, you add another layer of the good habit and make that a part of your life. Repeat the process and keep adding the new habits.

I like to create monthly challenges for myself and then I break it down by creating daily action items I need to accomplish in order to reach that monthly goal.

I lost 100 pounds with this approach because I knew developing a healthy lifestyle was a journey. I continue to add more good habits to my daily routine because at the end of the day it benefits my growth and my life.

I also enjoy knowing that I have proved to myself that anything I set my mind to, I can achieve, and no one can take that feeling away from me.

I challenge you to think about the good habits you want to develop. Create a list and pick one habit you want to focus on for the entire month and do it every single day.

My recommendation is to start off small. Be realistic with it.

Track it, journal it, talk about, record it, ask yourself how it makes you feel because chances are, you will learn something new about yourself, your process, and the environment that you are in and what's holding you back.

Let me know in the comments below on what habits you would like to develop and how you’re going to keep yourself accountable for it.

Your friend,

Hoja Aya


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