Most people feel as though resolutions are the way to go. However, the are not a permanent fix. Try practicing habits for a better result in nutrition and overall health!
Here are the seven steps you, too, can learn to build habits.
1. Start with a small action or thought you desire to do, not should do, to make the entire process more pleasant for you. Make your first step tiny and specific to increase your chances of success. For Heather, I suggested she buy a journal and pen that she’d like to use and keep them in a handy spot.
2. Choose an anchor behavior that will trigger your new action.Heather’s trigger was: After she experienced something notable with the transformational change project she was leading, she’d pull out her journal and write. For flossing, the trigger is: After I brush my teeth, I will floss.
3. Make the behavior simple to do. Heather’s initial task was to carry her journal and pen with her. Then it became to jot down a few words. She’d later fill in the details when she had time.
4. Adjust your environment for success. Heather placed her journal and pen in the same spot in her briefcase where she could always find it to write. For me, taking the floss out of a drawer and putting it next to my toothbrush was the key to my triumph.
5. Celebrate to embed and rewire your brain. When we tell ourselves “good job” or something else that makes us feel good, we get a hit of dopamine in our brain. It sends signals that stimulate the brain’s reward system and motor control. Besides giving us pleasure in the moment, it reinforces our chances for replicating this feeling — and just as importantly — the behavior in the future.
6. Repeat often, preferably daily. The repetition also helps the habit become automatic.
7. Evaluate and experiment. Each person’s brain is unique. What works for Heather, my other clients and me won’t necessarily work for you. By actively trying different ways, you’ll find a better solution for yourself, which makes you more committed to the new behavior.
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