4 Behavioral Hacks to Help You Form Better Habits
Dealing with change is always hard, whether it is positive or negative. There is never an easy way to rethink your habits and develop new and better ones. People, after all, are creatures of routine, and any change can feel like a threat to stability, even if it is a healthier diet and regular exercise.
What behavioral science tells us, however, is that most people are actually going about the creation of new habits the wrong way. In order for positive resolutions to actually take shape, there are a few things we have to do to make it easier to achieve that goal.
In this article, we are going to talk about some behavioral hacks you can apply to your life so that you can be the best version of yourself. Here they are:
1. Find a way to incorporate new steps into your existing habits.
Habits are formed because they are a convenient part of the routine, and as such, large deviations from the routine may not always be successful. Sit down, and try to figure out the habits you have. Look at what patterns you fall into, and examine your routines. One of the best ways to learn a new habit is if it is somehow tied to your current ones.
A good way to do this is to make something part of your morning routine, which is one of the most powerful examples of a strong life pattern. You could try doing squats while brushing your teeth, or meditating as the water heats up for your morning coffee.
The end of day routine is also a good place to incorporate new habits. Maybe, instead of melting into the couch at the end of the day to watch TV, you could brisk-walk on a treadmill.
2. Start small.
Big changes need a consistent level of motivation to enact, and as such, it is often unsustainable. The patterns we fall into, after all, are born from little adjustments to our surroundings made over a long period of time.
Start by bringing a healthy snack, like orange slices or apples to work. This could be the beginning of a healthier diet. Even just taking a long walk with your dog is enough of a start for anyone having trouble with their motivation.
3. Make good habits easier to do, and bad habits harder.
A particular behavior experiment showed that people were less likely to take the elevator and more likely to use the stairs if just 20 seconds were added to the normally 10-second wait time to close the doors. This shows that if an established habit has become more difficult to do, it can more easily be discarded.
If you have trouble motivating yourself to go to the gym, try leaving your gym bag in your passenger seat or by the door so you see it on your way out. Some people even sleep in exercise clothes so that it can become easier for them to work out in the mornings.
By making bad habits harder to keep and good habits easier to retain, you can hack your life into better health.
4. Make sure you do it every day.
One of the surefire ways a task can become automatic and part of our routine is to do it every day. Anything as small as flossing before bed, to drinking an extra glass of water at every meal can be incorporated into your routine given enough time.
A 2009 study even showed that a habit can take as little as 18 days to develop, with the average being 66 days of doing something regularly. For some, it took as long as 254 days. The takeaway here is that the more often something is done, and the more it is tied to a routine, the more easily it becomes a habit.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and the best way to develop new and healthier habits that are normally outside are routine is to start small, start easy, and to incorporate a few steps of your new habit into your old ones. In time, you might just find that you’ve improved greatly without even noticing.
And if you’re looking for a personal trainer to help you develop these habits, send us at The Fit Factor a message. We have the experts you need to motivate you into a healthier lifestyle.
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