EXERCISE IS A KEYSTONE HABIT

Morning movement puts your body and brain in a good place. It improves your mood for hours. Why not start the day feeling fantastic. Even a mini-workout will elevate your state and build your confidence. I keep a 35-pound kettlebell in my living room, so I can perform a mini-workout whenever I need to re-energize. My standing desk is in our home gym, so I can grab an exercise snack whenever the mood hits me. 

Exercise is one of the few good habits that produce immediate gratification. I usually suggest people begin their fat loss journey with exercise, not because I think it is the most effective at reducing body weight because it isn’t, but because daily exercise is a keystone habit that leads to a whole host of beneficial habits, like eating better, sleeping more, decreased alcohol consumption, and a reduction in smoking. Australian researchers, Megan Oaten and Ken Cheng found that healthy habits lead to significant improvements in a wide range of regulatory behaviors such as less impulsive spending; better dietary habits; decreased alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine consumption; and fewer hours watching TV.[i]  Continue reading EXERCISE IS A KEYSTONE HABIT

Motivation is an Ineffective Habit-Forming Strategy

Motivation is an ineffective strategy for forming habits. First, it depends on our emotional state. Emotions are difficult to regulate, and consistency is an absolute necessity for habit formation. Repetition is the language of our basal ganglia, where all habits reside. Another reason motivation is a terrible strategy for developing habits is that it decreases over time. We don’t build motivation through repetition; we dilute it.  Continue reading Motivation is an Ineffective Habit-Forming Strategy

Action Changes Things

Accomplish More with Mini Habits

If you read for five minutes each day, you would read approximately ten books a year. That is more than double the median number of the books the average American read last year. That is ten more books than the 27% of Americans who admitted to not reading a single book in the past year.[i] Assuming you were never motivated to read more than five minutes each day, in ten years, you would still have read 100 books and amassed a small library. Every time you looked at your library, you could take pride in the knowledge that you have read all the books in it – and all it took was a five-minute a day commitment.  Continue reading Accomplish More with Mini Habits

REVERSE THE 5-MINUTE RULE TO BREAK A BAD HABIT

Even if you decide to give in to the temptation at the end of the five minutes, you have strengthened your willpower and increased your awareness of the behavior. Both benefits will improve your odds of success when the next temptation arises. The worst thing we can do is become overly critical of ourselves because that will lead to stress eating, more about that later.         Continue reading REVERSE THE 5-MINUTE RULE TO BREAK A BAD HABIT

What is a Gateway Habit?

These gateway habits put your day on a positive or negative trajectory. Some gateway habits, like going to bed at a consistent time to get adequate sleep, will shape the day to come. Mastering these moments is crucial. I suggest you keep the initial action as small and easy as possible to execute. Some of these actions can even be automated. You can program your internet router to shut off at a specific time each night to avoid late-night TV. You could also set-up a phone alarm as a primary or secondary reminder to go to bed, so you’ll get at least seven and a half hours of restful sleep each night. Your bedtime ritual can be as simple as putting your phone in its charger, brushing your teeth, and putting your head on the pillow. Continue reading What is a Gateway Habit?