WHY HABITS ARE SO IMPORTANT

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” John C. Maxwell

Habits hold the key to achieving a strong, lean body full of energy and vitality. It is our daily routines that make us who we are. According to the latest research, we spend half of our lives performing habits, but very few people understand them. My goal is to help you better understand the power of habits and why they exist.

There are two characteristics of good habits that make them invaluable. First, we perform them repeatedly, which means their benefits will cumulate. Second, they are reflexive. They don’t require motivation or willpower to do. We don’t think about habits. If you are like me, you can recall doing something out of habit that made no sense at all, like reaching for your phone when it’s dead.  Once we establish a habit, we respond to a contextual cue. It is part of the reason we don’t pay much attention to them.

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The Five Rules of Behavior Change:

An effective strategy for behavior change needs to address one or more of the components of the habit loop. The more of them you engage, the better your chances of success. The most effective strategies encourage or discourage the habit at the beginning. You won’t reinforce a craving if you remove the temptation or cannot perform the habit. You cannot make the Reward of a good habit more satisfying if you do not do it.
The First Rule of Behavior Change, Shrink the Commitment, is the most effective way to create a good habit. Shrink the new behavior down so small in the beginning that even on your absolute worst day, you could keep your habit streak alive. We don’t rise to the level of our aspirations; we sink to the level of our standards. Set the bar so low, you cannot fail, but remember that bar is a minimum requirement. You can always do more when you feel motivated to do so, but never less. Continue reading The Five Rules of Behavior Change:

basic habit loop

A Practical Framework for Behavior Change

He reverses these four laws to break a bad habit.  Make the Cue invisible, the Reward unattractive, the Routine harder to execute, and the Reward unsatisfying. He does a fantastic job of providing practical suggestions on how to accomplish each law.[i] James Clear’s book complements Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. The Power of Habit helps us to understand habits, but it isn’t a manual for behavior change. Atomic Habits fulfills that role, providing actionable strategies in a simple to follow format. This book has an even narrower focus. It seeks to combine the strategies of behavior change with tactics designed to produce a leaner fitter body. “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu Continue reading A Practical Framework for Behavior Change

basic habit loop

The Golden Rule of Habit Change

Cues in our environment trigger a response. We need to pre-decided what our new response will be. Our Rider cannot hesitate to guide the Elephant down a new path, instead of performing the well-condition one. We must give our Elephant a new way forward. Instead of telling ourselves not to do something, we need to have an alternative action ready to go. Telling ourselves not to do something, fixates our mind on doing it. When we attempt to suppress a thought, we make things worse. We begin to fixate on it instead. Psychologists call this Ironic Theory. Continue reading The Golden Rule of Habit Change

How to Break a Bad Habit

I am as vulnerable to bad habits as anyone. On the weekends, I typically indulge in a drink or two, but a year ago, I developed the habit of drinking every night. It began with me having a drink after an unusually stressful day; then it progressed to an everyday occurrence. What was once a weekend ritual had become a nightly one. At the core … Continue reading How to Break a Bad Habit