Week 3: Habits
We’ve spent the last few weeks talking about Core Values and Goals.
I’m going to be blunt here. None of that matters if you don’t have habits to back them up.
The discussion isn’t about whether or not to have habits as part of your routine.
It’s about whether to have CONSCIOUS OR UNCONSCIOUS HABITS.
There are dozens of things that you do daily that are completely on autopilot.
Some just become ingrained and are part of our normal day. Others are triggered.
There is a simple loop that happens for most things that happen in our lives.
Habit Loop: Cue -> Routine -> Reward
To live your best life, you want to hijack this loop with a new routine.
The Cue will remain the same. Something is going to happen that you have no control over that will provoke you to motion. You also want to keep the Reward the same. Your brain will know if you try to trick it and say that broccoli is just as yummy and will make you happy as ice cream. Let’s be real.
But the ROUTINE is what gets changed.
What really happens when I get sad and eat ice cream?
Something CUES me.
My routine is to head to the kitchen and grab a spoon.
The reward is the dopamine hit from the ice cream that brings me temporary joy.
So, let’s hijack it.
Something CUES me.
My NEW ROUTINE is going to be going for a walk.
So, I get up and walk towards the kitchen but KEEP WALKING right out the front door.
Because 30 minutes in the sun is as good (or better) of a dopamine hit than ice cream. Plus, I get the benefits of fitness instead of fatness.
To make a habit really stick, you need to attach it to something that you already do regularly without thinking about it.
Want to workout more and already someone that can’t function without coffee in the morning?
Do some push ups or crunches while you wait for your coffee to brew each morning.
Find things that you already do effortlessly and add something immediately before or after it.
Stack the new habit on top of the old one.
To start a brand new habit, you need to trace it to the core.
What is the FIRST thing that needs to happen?
If I want to go running, I need to put on running shoes. So my habit isn’t going to be ‘Going for a Run’.
It’s going to be “Put on my running shoes when I wake up."
Chances are, if I put on my running shoes it will lead to me running and I have less resistance about putting on shoes than I do to running.
Start small. Even if it feels too small.
ESPECIALLY if it feels too small.
Make the Habit the Goal.