old habits die hard
Habits are behaviors or routines that occur subconsciously. They happen often, laying down neural pathways in our brains. This creates a situation, where we are no longer fully aware of our behavior or actions.
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, concludes that 40-45% of what we do each day is based on habit. He also believes that if we can recognize the cue and reward then we can restructure our behavior. The cue or trigger occurs prior to the behavior, and it sets our mind up for receiving a reward. Humanness predisposes us to really liking rewards.
Successful change starts with identifying what behavior we would like to change. Jot it down, along with notes about what the cues might be, time, place, person, or feeling. Then began to decipher what your reward is for the behavior. Rewards could be a feeling of relaxation, chance to be social, the opportunity to do what you want, or the act of being successful. Deciphering the reward maybe the most important piece of changing a habit, because it is the piece that your brain is really after, and the part we likely understand the least.
For example, I often crave chocolate each day around 2pm. It comes up as I work on the computer for long hours… after spending the last few years getting my Masters in Nutrition, and building a business, I do a lot of this. What I realize now is that what I really want is to move. So I have inserted a movement break where I get up and do jumping jacks or squats. I warm up, move, and skip the chocolate. A much better habit for a nutritionist and someone who really cares about what goes into the body machine.
Tips for changing a habit:
Once you experience the cue insert a new behavior
Try out new behaviors that are good for you
Consider sharing the habit you’d like to change with a friend for accountability and support
Remember the cue and reward stay the same, only the routine changes
Make a plan
Believe in yourself… try a mantra like ‘I got this’