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The Science Behind Healthy Habit Hacks 2024

Healthy Habit: Last week (or five minutes after a Google search), you decided to make a change.

Maybe you started exercising daily. Maybe you should eat better.

Why can’t we develop Healthy Habit Hacks?

We know what to do, but we can’t change it.

We can get fit by moving and eating less!

We train using heart rate, push-ups and strength.

We know how to eat well – more vegetables, less sweets.

We can’t commit to any of them for more than a few weeks.

Why?

Simple: Building good habits is hard; our lizard brains crave quick rewards, we don’t understand habit development, life gets busy, and our default behaviours are unhealthy and simple.

Systems for maintaining changes are not implemented.

We also abuse willpower and motivation.

Too much, too fast, overwhelms us.

Does this sound familiar?

  • Eat 100% Paleo/Keto • Run 5 km a day • Work out in the gym 5x a week

If you’ve been eating poorly, never running, or going to the gym since playing dodgeball with Mr. Wazowski in grade school, changing all of these things at once is almost guaranteed to fail.

Healthy Habit Hacks 2024

Modern civilization wants instant gratification. Meals are served in drive-thru restaurants, microwaves or 24 hours a day. Games can be downloaded to phones/PCs/PS5 in seconds. TV shows are accessible in a few clicks.

Netflix will automatically play your next episode!

We expect the same fitness journey.

This prevents healthy habits from sticking.

We think, “I’ve been married for two weeks—why don’t I look like Ryan Reynolds?” but ignore the fact that it took decades of an unhealthy lifestyle to get you here, and it will take weeks to come back.

Life gets hectic, or our child gets sick, so we neglect exercise. Because Netflix, video games, and Peanut M&Ms are more fun than exercise or giving up sweets, we get discouraged.

People quit when they try to change too many habits too quickly, feel irritated when results are delayed, make mistakes during hectic periods, or go back to square one.

This is why we are constantly fat and terrible at routines. Abusing bad guys in video games always results in a game over.

Know your “big why” so you can start healthy habits

First, I will ask why you should adopt healthy practices and resolutions in this post.

Before you create habits, you need motivation, or they won’t stick.

When life gets busy, “changing who I am” can help us focus.

Trying to get in shape because you “should” will fail when life gets busy.

If you go to the gym because you’re “supposed” to run on the treadmill five days a week and you hate it, you’re doomed!

Use your habits or resolutions for the greater good.

So you can date again, you’re building the body you love at the gym.

Be active and learn to love vegetables to enjoy your summer.

By the time your kids wake up, you’re working on a side business to save for college.

You are more likely to stick through the mud to succeed.

Ask three levels of “why” to identify the root cause of why you wish to create or break a healthy habit. Write it down. Hang for daily viewing.

Do you have a reason? Great.

To the science of habit.

Three parts of creating a healthy habit

#1) Cue: Tired, hungry, bored or depressed. Could be time: Monday 9 am, work done.

#2) Routine (action): I drink soda, eat cake, snack, drink wine, smoke cigarettes, watch TV or go to the gym, run, do push-ups, read a book.

#3) Reward: Wake up. Temporarily joyful. Hands/mind full. My terrible day doesn’t matter. The energy exists. Like me.

Healthy Habit

The routine/action you follow can energize, fascinate, or depress you. Your body doesn’t know what to do—it just wants to fix the pain or monitor the signal—but repetition will make it a habit.

Marketing, behavioural psychology, and a failure-friendly workplace perpetuate bad Healthy Habit Hacks.

We crave certain foods, check our phones when they’re buzzing, and can’t stop watching or crushing World of Warcraft levels.

Duhigg makes it clear that there is no programming of the brain that creates a desire for donuts when he sees the box.

If we know that a doughnut contains delicious sugar and carbohydrates, our brains will expect a high sugar content. Brains push us to the box. We’ll be miserable without a doughnut.”

Know your triggers.

Starting a new activity, ending an unhealthy habit, or starting a Healthy Habit Hacks begins with a “cue”.

Your brain has learned to think of SODA as a trigger if you want to stop drinking soda but need it every afternoon at work:

Tired, thirsty and exhausted.

  • Drink soda regularly at 3 pm.

Rewards: Coffee, Sugar! Happy! My life matters!

Avoid unhealthy behaviours by recognizing their triggers. Seeing the cue helps end the pattern.

  • Snack during boredom for a happy stomach.
  • After work, I relax on the couch with video games (reward).
  • I bite my nails to reduce anxiety (reward).

Ending a problematic habit requires identifying its causes.

Similar to Paul’s dog, you can mentally train yourself to adopt a good habit by revealing its cue:

  • After waking up, I take a walk and indulge in an audiobook.
  • When I’m tired, I drink black coffee instead of caffeinated soda. The reward for 30 days without soda: new running shoes and weight loss with fewer calories.
  • After work, I will write and watch Netflix for 30 minutes, 500 words each.

Recognizing the cues of a Healthy Habit Hacks will help you break one or make one.

Once you find the clue, you can fix the routine.

Maintain good habits with systems.

Understand, but I struggle with ‘building a routine’. Unable to execute.

The most difficult phase of the Healthy Habit Hacks is the routine (activity).

We will act like geeks and scientists.

Quitting a harmful habit like soda and adopting a healthy habit like running require different approaches.

Let’s stop using two things:

  • Willpower: Exercise can be difficult due to busy schedules or weather.
  • Lack of motivation: can lead to failure and self-criticism.

Your motivation and will will run out when you need it most. Most people hope to create habits through motivation and effort.

Willpower

Not us!

Remove both and use systems and external pressures to make your routine easier (or harder if it’s a bad habit).

There are several techniques:

Environmental hacks reduce routines by reducing processes or adding procedures to prevent bad behaviour.

  • Plan your habit, record your progress and incorporate it into your daily routine.

Environmental products. This information helps us change our environment to make it easier to develop or break habits. I explain more in the “Build your Batcave for Habit Change” section, but here are the basics.

See where you meet. Increase the distance between bad habits and decrease the steps between positive ones. You will require less effort and motivation and be more likely to practice good Healthy Habit Hacks or give up bad habits.

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