When I’m working with clients, we often discuss habits – eating, moving, working, sleeping, or other aspects of self-care. And I frequently make suggestions for better health – cutting back on sugar, walking daily, sitting less or going to bed earlier. However, many people, myself included, find it difficult to change their habits, even if they have the best intentions. What can we do to make it easier?
Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, tells us: “All habits—no matter how large or small—have three components, according to neurological studies. There’s a cue—a trigger for a particular behavior; a routine, which is the behavior itself; and a reward, which is how your brain decides whether to remember a habit for the future. ” He suggests that “If you can identify the right cue and reward—and if you can create a sense of craving—you can establish almost any habit.”
In this 16-minute TedX Talk, he gives an informative introduction to why our behaviours are compelled by habit:
Trying to reduce your screen time? Check out Dean Bokhari’s summary of Duhigg’s concepts in his Meaningful HQ podcast The Power of Habit: 3-Steps To Creating Good Habits (and Breaking Bad Habits). He includes a full transcript if you prefer to read.
For more help, I recommend Deane Alban’s How to Trick Your Brain to Create a New Healthy Habit. She explains why motivation and willpower might not be enough and outlines seven steps to success, including Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret. I won’t give it away; you’ll have to read to the end for that one!
What are your strategies for creating new, healthy habits? Please share.