All About Habits: Part 2

Here’s a continuation of last weeks guest post by Alex Titarenko, a Trainer at Big Sky Newington. 

Didn’t get a chance to read the first one? Find it here:

Breaking or Changing a Bad Habit
Now that you’ve identified the cue, routine, and reward for your habit, you can take clear action and begin to change that habit into something else. Psychology says the best way forward is to have an “implementation intention”, otherwise known as a plan. Let’s say that you learned your cue for getting fast food was getting in your car after your work shift, the routine was to drive to a McDonalds that you normally go to, and the reward was stress relief. So instead of taking your normal route home, you took a different route and drove to the gym, where you did a quick 30-minute workout. This gave you the stress relief reward, but changed the routine before. This might not work perfectly all the time, and nothing ever will, but if you do this more times than not, slowly it should provide the desired result of you cutting back on fast food, and weighing less.

Progress > Perfection If you win more than you lose, you win overall. You will probably have days where you purposely skip the gym and stuff your face with three cheeseburgers “just because”, but if we can cut those days down from four days a week, to once a month, you’re doing great! Since perfection is impossible, focus on progress instead.

Creating a New Habit
 To create a new habit, follow the same three step process. First, choose the cue. Where will you be? What time will it be? Who is around? What day of the week is it? Second, choose the reward. This one is important because you have to truly enjoy the reward. If you’re forcing yourself to eat kale, and you feel like it has the same taste and texture of your front lawn, you better have a reward that you fully enjoy.

After a while, you can assess if you crave the reward when you’re exposed to the cue. Later, you can see if you crave any newly developed rewards for how eating that kale makes you feel. Maybe you feel healthier? Maybe you see a smaller number on the scale? Pairing this external reward with an internal reward will create a powerful habit.

Follow the flowchart here:

But wait…there’s more! Keep an eye on your inbox for Alex’s FINAL post next week!

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