Creating New & Good Habits
Without Making It Feel Like a Chore
An easy step process to create a new habit and how to make it stick as a daily life practice.
What is a Habit?
The definition in the Webster Dictionary states that a habit is - An acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary. A behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance.
According to a research paper in 2006 by Duke University, 40% of our actions we perform each day are based on habit.
Habits can be both positive and negative and are generally triggered by prompts.
For example, turning the light switch on when you walk into a room.
A habit is usually a process that is mapped into what is known as the Habit loop. It is something we can recreate or break if we take a moment to map it out. There are 3 parts to a Habit Loop.
First, you have a Trigger-the reminder that signals us into a routine. Second, you have a Routine or the habit itself, which is good or bad. Third, you receive the Reward or the positive feedback that closes the habit loop. For example, in the evening do you just automatically reach for a glass of wine or jump on Netflix and binge watch to find a form of relaxation? But at the same time you know that you should go out for that evening run or walk, meditate or read that great novel you have been wanting to. Next time you find yourself doing the thing that just is easier, perhaps recognizing that and changing the pattern by trying something different and then after that action make note of how that made you feel.
To create long term changes and habits we need to start small.
The consequences of bad habits are more obvious than the habits themselves.
For example, weight gain from eating mindlessly at your desk or while watching TV.
To create good habits, start by making small changes and create prompts to connect to those habits.
These changes can be as simple as:
· Tiny tweaks to an existing habit
· Changing the environment or setting
· Breaking the habit into small steps
For example, some tips to hack your diet.
· Put fruit on the table instead of candy.
· Use a salad plate at mealtime instead of a dinner plate. Larger plates encourage us to fill it up thus causes us to eat more.
· Maybe try eating with your non-dominant hand to slow the eating process down and to become more mindful of what you are eating. It will also give you time to feel the full signal the brain sends to your stomach before you give yourself the chance to overeat.
How to add a walking program before you start your day or taking a midday break.
Perhaps just going and putting your shoes on and stand by the door the first day. The next day put on the shoes and just step outside onto the porch. Then the next day take a few steps away from the porch. What eventually may happen is that you will feel that you have gotten this far and you might as well just take a walk for maybe 5 minutes and then you will notice that you will perhaps want to just keep going.
Tips to improve your Dental Hygiene- for example, Flossing your teeth
You know you dread it but must do it. Start small by just flossing one tooth each day. When you just start doing this you will eventually just go ahead and maybe floss the second tooth and then perhaps just floss them all since you are already doing it.
There are different prompts that exist in life for different actions
An Environmental Prompt can be the alarm on your phone.
Snooze buttons on phones are frequently bigger than the “alarm off” buttons, making it easier to doze on than to get up.
Or the bowl of M&Ms sitting on the table you pass by each time you go to another room in your building or home.
A Personal Prompt can be your bladder being full and you get the signal you need to get up to go to the restroom.
An Action Prompt is a behavior you already perform, which also prompts you to initiate new behaviors. This is where you can incorporate a new habit. For example, B J Fogg the author of the Book Tiny Habits wanted to incorporate fitness into his day. So, he connected the action to do 2 pushups every time he went to the restroom. Depending on how much water he drank that day he sometimes did up to 50 pushups in a day.
Of course, whenever you decide to connect a new action with an existing one make sure you consider the location, frequency and theme for you to be safe and of course successful in creating the new action or habit.
The key message:
Creating a new habit is not all about willpower but to start small to set yourself up for success.
Conventional wisdom says that creating positive change is all about willpower. But this is wrong. The best way to change your habits is to start small and avoid biting off more than you can chew. Human behavior is driven both by what we’re motivated to do and what we can do. This means we tend to prefer picking the low-hanging fruit and doing the easy stuff. And that’s the key to designing small habit changes. When you make something simple and easy to do, you’re much more likely to do it.
What Big Change would you like to see in yourself or your life in the next 6 weeks?
• Write your goal down and put it where you may see it as a daily reminder.
• Make a list of small changes you can make to build yourself up to reach this goal.
• Choose one small change and practice that daily until you do it without even thinking about it.
• Move to then next small change and continue this process until you get to your end goal.
Want to learn how to make more changes in your lifestyle for wellbeing?
Visit www.pranahealthpc.com to schedule a free discovery call and learn more about what I can do to help your discovery easier and healthier ways to reach your lifestyle goals.