Category Archives: Motivation and Habit

Not so difficult to understand after all: habit and motivation re-visited

Toni before and after corsetingI’ve long been fascinated with the power of habit and motivation especially when it comes to corset waist training. That includes my fascination with who makes it work to reach their figure-shaping goals, and who does not.

Today’s morning news show on ABC-TV featured a visit by author James Clear and discussion of his new New York Time‘s Best Seller Atomic Habit. Clear boiled down his theories and confirmed a few to which I have always subscribed. It all seems so simple, even if what moves us to implement those theories remains so mysterious. Here they are:

1. Get clear about your goals, don’t worry about “motivation.”

I have students set numerical goals before they start, in inch reductions and weight reduction desired (they are two separate things and you don’t have to do both!), and how tightly they want to wear their corset for how many hours to improve their record by the end of training.

2. Start small, maybe very small.

There are only three elements to effective waist training:  a regular schedule or corset wear six days a week, waist-targeted exercise (not aerobic or weight training or Crunch or any specific general program and not even at a gym), and corset-friendly eating and nutrition habits (note that I do not use the word “diet” since that is not a relevant concept today no matter if you are waist training or not in an attempt to lose inches or weight).

3. Never miss twice; re-start fast, like the next day.

I advise setting only a 95% personal goal of completion of the program elements; it is impossible to hold ourselves accountable for 100% completion. That is doomed to failure from the start. Give yourself a bit of leeway to be human, to encounter daily crises that take all your time and attention, not to mention energy. However, the next day add a few more minutes to the 20 mins of waist-targeted exercises the first month (then 30 min. the second and 40 min. the third), or wear the corset two hours more than on your plan the next two days, and that sort of thing. Push yourself a wee bit to make time up, but don’t punish yourself and just quit because you have fallen off the waist-training wagon!

4. Lock in a “commitment device” such as a buddy who will show up at 6 am for that morning run and you’ll be embarrassed if you let her down (social accountability).

I’m keen on the idea of a Waist Training Buddy, not necessarily someone who trains with you, but that can work, too. Choose someone who can provide a delicious and effective form of competition that can work well to motivate you. I adore Pandora, a well-known ex-pat American living in Britain, who has about the same figure measurements and weight as I do. She was corsetier Michael Garrod’s favorite model (he passed in 2003) and I got to know her at various corset events and appearances at ROMANTASY boutique from 1990 to 1998 when it closed. We loved to tight lace and go hours testing our resolve at various corset events, but I’ll never forget her sense of humor at the end when occasionally she would say, “Ok Ann, now we’re ready. Let’s remove our corsets and go get a pizza!”

Clear also answered a typical question of “how long will it take to lock in a new habit?” His answer? “Forever.”

His point is one I make when students ask me, “Will corset waist training results last?” I tend to answer, “No, if you go out the next day and start pigging out on Krispy Kreme donuts!” You know what I mean.

The only thing with which I disagree, is the author’s advice to forget goals and concentrate on getting into place a system that works. I agree with that, but I think a system should be proceeded with a goal, one that is (1) reasonable, (2) do-able, (3) consistent with your lifestyle so that you are likely to pursue it, and (4) slightly under what is probable to accomplish and one that you probably will pursue to the end of your period of training.

I tell my students that I would rather them set a goal slightly under what they think they want and can accomplish, so that they will more than likely reach it, and be inspired.

Sideview 2009 Waist-training Student, Cat, after 9 weeks of training

Inspired to do what? Keep going for one thing. No one says you have to corset waist train for three months, or three weeks. You can set multiple increments of waist training, one right after the other, or one every year for a re-set and weight/measurement check, or one periodically over many years on occasions when you find yourself slipping back into bad eating habits such as portion overloading or stress and mindless eating.

Inspired to do what? Celebrate! Women tend to resonate to that point more than men. Men seem to go directly for their goal then move on without taking a moment to savor victory, or during the training process to seek out others to appreciate progress and let the trainee show off. More’s the pity.

Having a “rah rah” section as Marie, an awesome tight-lacer once told me, is a necessary component of successful waist training, at least for her. Having someone appreciate and celebrate your effort as well as your successes along the way, can inspire you to continue to take better care of yourself after training ends.

It’s all pretty simple. Now what will start you moving forward in your New Year’s Resolutions that about 80% of us break by the end of January every year?

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