“Research shows that people who think they have the most willpower are actually the most likely to lose control when tempted. For example, smokers who are the most optimistic about their ability to resist temptation are the most likely to relapse four months later, and overoptimistic dieters are the least likely to lose weight. Why? They fail to predict when, where, and why they will give in. They expose themselves to more temptation,” Kelly McGonigal.
One of the most potent strategies for reaching a goal is to identify the obstacles ahead of time and develop a plan to address each before they are encountered. We want to be optimistic, but we don’t want to be a naive optimists. The naive optimist ignores the obstacles in their way and believes that they will not confront any challenges. The realistic optimist believes in their ability to accomplish their goal despite the obstacles in their way. They acknowledge and prepare for the challenges, which makes them much more likely to succeed. We want to have faith in our ability to overcome obstacles, not naively believe we won’t encounter them.
Continue reading “DON’T OVERESTIMATE YOUR RESOLVE – BECOME A REALISTIC OPTIMIST”
“Environment is of supreme importance. It is greater than willpower.” Paramahansa Yogananda
Motivation and willpower are valuable qualities, but they are too capricious to build habits. Any habit-forming strategy that relies too heavily on either is like trying to build a house on shifting sand.
A properly designed environment is a rock-solid foundation for behavior change. That’s because once we engineer our environment, it remains constant. It provides the stability that habits require to flourish. Environmental prompts initiate most of our habits, which is why environmental design is so powerful.
Continue reading “ENVIRONMENT TRUMPS WILLPOWER”
“You don’t have to be the victim of your environment. You can also be the architect of it.” James Clear
“Man is largely a creature of habit, and many of his activities are more or less automatic reflexes from the stimuli of his environment.” G. Stanley Hall
Change agents frequently find that what appears to be a people problem is a situation problem. Instead of trying to change people’s attitudes, they tweak the environment and make change happen painlessly. Instead of relying on workers following proper procedures, safety engineers install guards and controls to prevent workers from taking shortcuts. They know that it’s easier to tweak the environment than to force compliance. We can likewise tweak our own environment to foster good habits and discourage bad ones.
Continue reading “TWEAK YOUR ENVIRONMENT – BETTER ENVIRONMENT BETTER BEHAVIOR”
“If it’s important, do it every day. If it isn’t, don’t do it at all.” – Dan Gable Olympic wrestling champion
I usually suggest people begin their fat loss journey with daily exercise. Not because I think it is the most effective at reducing body weight. It isn’t, but because daily exercise is a keystone habit that leads to a host of other good habits. Australian researchers Megan Oaten and Ken Cheng found that regular exercise leads 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]
Exercise is more about feeling good than looking good. People that exercise regularly are much less likely to suffer from depression or other psychological ailments. John J. Ratey, MD Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says going for a run is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin because, like the drugs, exercise elevates these neurotransmitters. He says it’s a handy metaphor, but the deeper explanation is that exercise balances neurotransmitters — along with the rest of the neurochemicals in the brain.
Continue reading “EXERCISE IS A KEYSTONE HABIT”
The Four Laws of Behavior Change developed by Atomic Habits’ author James Clear is designed to encourage good habits by reinforcing each component of the habit loop:
Cue: Make it Obvious
Craving: Make it Attractive
Routine: Make it Easy
Reward: Make it Satisfying
He reverses these four laws to break a bad habit. Make the Cue invisible, the Reward unattractive, the Routine harder to do, and the Reward unsatisfying. He does a fantastic job of providing practical suggestions for changing your habits.[i] James Clear’s book complements Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. The Power of Habit helps us understand habits, but it isn’t a manual for behavior change. Atomic Habits answers that need. I have a narrower focus; combining behavioral science with exercise science to transform your body. Continue reading FIVE RULES FOR BEHAVIOR CHANGE