Sticking To Good Habits
Written by: TJ PRALL | Health Fitness Specialist | AdvantageHealth Corporation
Do you find that following through with a goal is challenging?
Instead of shooting for the stars, we suggest breaking down your goals into smaller, more palatable, daily habits. Utilize below framework to start living your best life.
Craving (desire, motivation) – make it attractive
Cue (prompt, trigger) – make it obvious
Response (action or thought, habit, skill) – make it easy
Reward (dopamine, delight) – make it satisfying
What is it that your body, mind, spirit craves to do? Close your eyes and picture what your ideal lifestyle would look like. Then think about what small, daily habit changes that you could make to get you closer to your desired lifestyle. From there, make a list of habits that are in line with your desired lifestyle.
What is a cue or trigger can you utilize to create a better habit? What do you do each day without fail? You may brush your teeth, go to the bathroom, eat breakfast, watch tv, etc. This can also be a trigger or cue to an undesirable habit, such as eating sweets when you’re stressed or watching TV before bed. Action Item: Make a list of cues that you can use to create a change.
Now you have decided on the habits, and cues you’d like to utilize. Decide on your response to those cues. For example, if you’d like to incorporate a mindfulness meditation into your day, find a cue or trigger that can accommodate that task. This could be every time you go to the bathroom you close your eyes and breath 10 deep breaths. Brainstorm more than one way to fulfill your desired outcome. Still not working? Go back to the beginning and decide on what it is that you desire. Does a mindfulness meditation mean stress reduction to you? Instead, look to create habits that will reduce your daily stress. Stress reducing activities could include a nature walk, taking a bath, or simply tidying up your space. Make your response to each cue or trigger easy and reachable, and add on as you become more skilled in your habit.
After completion of the desired response after a cue, reward yourself by celebrating! Smile, YAY, jump for joy, feel happy, YOU DID IT. The more you celebrate after each desired response the more you will want to complete the task. If you’re not that into jumping for joy after each response, you can think about how your new habit could increase self-confidence and
perseverance, or the health benefits of your habit. You may also add an external reward of something that you value, such as workout clothing, a massage, or a nice dinner.
Now that you’ve got the framework down, go forth and create habits to start the life you crave!