“To promise not to do a thing is the surest way to make a body want to go and do that very thing.” – Mark Twain
I want to (No, I need to) be healthy. But there’s a problem…
I know what to do, I just don’t do it.
I don’t know WHY!
“What’s wrong with me?”
I’m here to say, you are absolutely normal, and you are not alone.
We make goals… but then we postpone.
We write a to-do list… but then we don’t follow through.
And this happens again and again and again. Seriously, what’s the problem?
Our problem isn’t lack of information. Websites and bookshops have dozens of experts advise on managing time, taking care of our health, managing our finances…etc. we know what we should do, but we don’t.
In fact, sometimes we do just the opposite of what we know is good for us!
So, what’s the solution?
A study showed that over 40% of the “decisions” we make every day aren’t really decisions.
We are comfortable to do what we have done before. Hence, much of the time we don’t really make decisions.
So, what can we do? Change an old habit into a new habit.
Let’s define a habit first; (You wake up – You want to feel alert – You drink a cup of coffee. You satisfy your craving to feel alert – Drinking coffee becomes associated with waking up).
So, this is how to change our habits:
1. Redefine “Should.”
Think about your everyday life. You wake up in the morning and you think you need to drink coffee or tea? You don’t. you have picked this habit from the day you decided you like the caffeine kick to start your day…and now it’s a “vital” habit. But it’s not-; you do need to drink liquids, but you don’t need to drink coffee.
“Should” is a feeling that results from a habit. The only way to change a habit is to first decide that “Should” can be exchanged or even removed.
As an example, let’s assume your habit is to check your phone first thing you open your eyes. You want to change that habit because it demotivates you and you prefer to hit your day with a more positive mood.
2. Recognise the CUE.
When habits become automatic, we often become unaware to the cue, so simply being more aware of it can help you change your habit.
For example, do you eat lunch a certain time each day because you are hungry? or because the clock says 01 PM? Or because your colleagues start asking what you have for lunch?
3. Determine the ROUTINE.
The routine is easy to determine. Your routine is the manifestation of the habit. It’s the chocolate bar at break time or the social media surfing at lunch or, in this case, checking your message right away.
4. Determine the REWARD.
The reward isn’t always so easy to determine. Going to have a break for a cup of tea might not really be satisfying a drink urge; what you really may be craving is the chance to hang out with other people and getting tea is just an excuse.
So you should try to find out what is your reward, because to change a habit the reward has to stay the same.
5. Write it down.
Studies show that the easiest way to implement a new habit is to write a plan. The format is simple:
When (cue), I will (routine) because it provides me with (reward).
For example, the plan can be:
Want to start exercising? Choose a cue, such as going to the gym as soon as you wake up, and a reward, such as a smoothie or good breakfast after each workout. Then think about that smoothie, or about the endorphin rush you’ll feel. Allow yourself to anticipate the reward. Eventually that craving will make it easier to push throughout the gym doors every day.
Do that enough times, and eventually your new habit will be automatic-; and you’ll be more productive. The new habit only really sinks in when—through enough repetition—your brain comes to crave the reward.
Then move on to another habit!
Happy New Year with new habits, everyone!