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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

MMHL- Tip #5 Banish Bad Habits

I've had my share of bad habits; from smoking to late night snacking I've been all over the place. And although I have been able to quit smoking it was a hard and long process and to be honest I wouldn't have been able to do it if I wasen't a MOM. But what about good habits? How can I get into a habit of working out or attending yoga classes more frequently? One way to control our habits is to understand them. According to the latest book by Duhigg, Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, All habits good or bad can be broken down into three components called a "habit loop." They begin with a craving, a cue, certain time of day~ like lighting up a cigarette after a meal. That routine is followed by a reward~ like the feeling of relief, this is the emotional payoff the brain needs to decide whether a routine is worth becoming a habit. Reward is the key into training the brain into making or breaking habits. For example if you love dancing but everytime you go out dancing you end up drinking too much and spending too much money. Why not find a dance class that has a fun vibe and great pumping music to join with friends. You'll get that same social connection you crave while shaking your booty without the excess drinking. Sounds easy enough but for some reason we spend all our time trying to break habits with willpower, but as Duhigg explains willpower is the opposite of habits. Habits are routine...they stick because there is no thinking or decisions to be made, it is automatic but with willpower you have to make a decision and your decision is usually swayed by life circumstances.
HABITS ARE OUR BRAINS WAY  OF SIMPLIFYING OUR LIVES AND SAVING US STRESS AND ENERGY. THE TRICK IS TO REPLACE A BAD BEHAVIOR WITH A BETTER ONE.

SO WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?
For starters start focusing on the REWARD of the new/replacement activity. For example I have a hard time getting to my yoga class. I love how it makes me feel but tend to focus on the 20 minute drive, the time away from family, the time it takes rather than how relaxed it makes me feel or how productive and energized I am. By focusing on the "rewards" I am sure to attend class more consistently.

Here's what you can do:
Start Specific - Be clear about your goals.
Start Small - Break big goals into baby steps. We tend to get overwhelmed and give up when a goal is too big to see the finish line. Taking smaller steps and feeling the reward throughout keeps us motivated
Practice daily -In order to see results you'll have to be consistent. Making a new behavior a habit takes repetition.
Be accountable - Write down your goals and post it where you'll see it daily....even better tell a friend or your mate, saying your goals outloud gives them power.
Expect slipups - No one can be perfect 100% of the time so avoid all or nothing attitudes (this is my weakness)
Reward yourself -Feeling great  is the incentive for making and keeping a habit. After fullfillling a goal write down how it feels, next time your giving yourself excuses not to do it you can remind yourself why you want to.
Article by Stephanie Young ~Marie Claire March 2012

1 comment:

  1. Great post Lila!
    I've got some bad habits (impulse shopping,for one) that I need to work on...

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