Action Changes Things

MY CORE BELIEFS

I want to share some of my core beliefs. My goal is to prove each one and provide practical strategies for developing healthy habits. I do not pretend to be the originator of these ideas. The truth is old. The more I study a topic, the more often I see the same concepts repeated.

While we are on the subject of beliefs and repetition, I hope you believe, as I do that, repetition is the mother of mastery. It is through frequent repetition that we develop a skill or expertise. Just because you have heard something once, that is no sign you got it.  I am going to repeat a handful of key concepts throughout this book. I want to engrain these concepts into your psyche – like a brain tattoo. I want to become that voice inside your head, helping you avoid all the traps in your way. I want you to read this book once and become an expert at engineering your habits. Continue reading MY CORE BELIEFS

Heart and brain that dance exercise brain spark

EXERCISE IS A BRAIN CHANGER

“In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection.” Plato

Burning calories to lose fat is just one reason to exercise. I am going to give you better reasons because if it’s your only reason to exercise, it won’t become a habit. I’ll give you reasons that go far beyond the fuzzy notion of runners high. I am going to share the science with you, in hopes that it makes exercise something you WANT to do. Not merely to lose a few pounds, but to be your absolute best. After you discover all the benefits of exercise, you will understand why I say choosing to NOT EXERCISE is like taking a depressant that erodes self-control and impairs cognitive function. A small dose of daily exercise is the absolute best way to improve your life. The brain runs the show, and as you’ll soon see, exercise promotes better brain function. Our brain loves physical activity. It increases blood flow to the brain, delivering nutrients and removing the waste products of normal neuronal activity. Vigorous movement keeps our neurotransmitters in balance, strengthens our synaptic connections, and even stimulates the production of new brain cells. Some of these neurotransmitters, like endorphins, provide a powerful incentive to exercise. They act on our opioid receptors to produce morphine-like effects, making strenuous physical exercise pleasurable.

Continue reading “EXERCISE IS A BRAIN CHANGER”

Midnight munchies

ENVIRONMENT TRUMPS WILLPOWER

Change doesn’t have to be difficult. The belief that “change is hard” is one of the biggest myths about human behavior. When we design a positive environment, change happens naturally. Making the right behavior the easier or only option is the key. The more committed you are to shape your environment, the less willpower you’ll need. Anyone serious about losing weight should throw away all the junk food in their home. This would make eating junk food impossible. Continue reading ENVIRONMENT TRUMPS WILLPOWER

The Magic of Mini Habits

Mini habits are designed to be ridiculously easy. Its creator recognizes that Newton’s First Law applies to psychology as much as it does to physics. Newton’s First Law, sometimes referred to as the Law of Inertia states, an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an external force. We resist new behaviors the way an object resists a change in state. Our existing routines flow, they have momentum on their side. The biggest disadvantage that a new habit has it that inertia is working against it. Fortunately, mini habits are so easy to do that they don’t require much energy to overcome inertia. The willpower cost of mini habits is almost non-existent. A mini habit is the smallest of nudges – but that slight shove is all that is needed to put Newton’s First Law in our corner. Momentum becomes our ally instead of our enemy. We go from unstartable to unstoppable.  

Mini habits are so small that our mind doesn’t put up any resistance to starting. Once in motion, we can do as much or as little as we want. Since the behavior is something we are motivated to develop, chances are we’ll want to do more than the minimum. Mini habits are unambitious by design. Ambition, like perfectionism, is the enemy of progress. When we are too ambitious, we’ll often do nothing – like the person afraid to make a mistake. We will convince ourselves that if we cannot do everything, we won’t do anything. We will pick back up tomorrow. We always think tomorrow we will have more time, willpower, and motivation.  Good is not the enemy. Inaction is.  Continue reading The Magic of Mini Habits

WHY WE ARE ALL SUSCEPTIBLE TO BAD HABITS

The nature of bad habits makes them irresistible to our basal ganglia, where all habits live. Our primitive brain is a sucker for a quick payoff.
Why do we allow bad habits to happen? When we are stress or not paying attention, our subconscious mind will choose bad habits over good ones. Every bad habit provides an immediate benefit. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t repeat them. When we are feeling tired and stressed, we are particularly susceptible to them. When our body’s cortisol levels are raised, our mind shifts from a pause-and-plan state to a more impulsive fight-or-flight condition. Our primitive brain takes control and seeks quick satisfaction. Our primitive brain isn’t concerned with abstract ideas or our long-term goals; it is in tune with our body’s sensations. We have one brain but two minds. One is driven by emotions, the other by logic. Which is in charge at any given moment is dependent on our stress levels. Stress triggers a fight-or-flight response that puts our impulsive mind in the driver’s seat. Relaxation, on the other hand, shifts us to a state of pause-and-plan. When you are about to give in to temptation, taking, a few deep breaths has been shown to improve our self-control.  Continue reading WHY WE ARE ALL SUSCEPTIBLE TO BAD HABITS