Week 2 of Habit Series
Last week, we talked about why creating new habits can be so dang frustrating. (If you missed that one, I recommend going back to the blog and reading that one first). The good news though, is that we can use our brain’s systems in our favor. Here’s how.
- The brain is efficient and likes routine, SO add your new habit to a routine that’s already in place.
As we know from last week, our brains are wired to create efficient, effortless routines. So, if you want to start a new habit, try adding it to a routine you already have in place. For instance, say you want to start walking more. Start by thinking of routines you already have that you could do at the same time. For example, maybe you call your mom or a girlfriend to chat on the phone for about an hour once a week. Make it a rule that whenever you are on the phone with them you will go for a walk. Have the earbuds by the door so that when they call you can grab them and go. Before you know it, you will have logged an hour-long walk! And had a fun girl chat! It’s a win-win!
Another method could be adding it to a routine already in place. This is called habit stacking. For example, maybe you want to start meditating. Take this new habit and add it to your morning routine. Make it a rule that after your shower and before getting dressed, you will sit in bed and play your 1-minute meditation app. Place a sticky note in your closet reminding you to meditate first! Pretty soon, it will become a habit and after you shower you will just walk straight to your bed without thinking about it. Nifty right?!
2. We can get stuck in a habit loop, SO eliminate the cue to stop the loop from happening.
We know from last week that certain cues can trigger cravings and these carvings lead to a response and a reward, making them hard to resist. If we want to get out of this loop, then we need to eliminate the cue. So taking our example from last week, if we know that driving past the golden arches will trigger a french fry craving, then try taking a new route home from work! Another method could be to eliminate the reward and instead add on a negative consequence. (This is hard to do without it leading to shaming so be careful with this one.) But an example of this would be, anytime you do the undesired habit make it a rule that you have to do 15 pushups or something else that you dislike doing. If you really want to make it unappealing, try 15 burpees. YUCK. This will make you associate the habit with negative things, hopefully making it less appealing in the future. Also, studies show that our tastebuds can change over time, so eventually, we will start to crave healthier options and we can get stuck in a new, healthy habit loop! #goals
So there you go beautiful people! If you would like more resources, including educational content, physical activity videos, recipes, and a habit-making guide, join the Wholesome Community Membership and receive all of this and more on the app! Become a part of the group and lets enjoy the journey together!