All of us have made short-term changes before. But how do you get them to last for longer? This is from the latest science in behavior change from the book Feel Better in 5 by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee
- Start Easy – If we want behaviors to become habitual and automatic, they should take little mental or physical effort. Psychologist B.J. Fogg turned the chore of flossing his teeth into a habit by starting with just one tooth. If your goal is to drink more water a day start with one more glass than you are already drinking.
- Connect Each New Activity With an Existing Habit – Like doing your traction after you brush your teeth. Maybe tie in a quick 5 minute workout when your tea is brewing in the morning. You will have a small victory before your day even starts. Think of the transition points in your day like when you first walk in the house or after you drop your kids off at school.
- Respect Your Rhythm – Cortisol is full in the morning so this may be a great time do to something physical before you eat; this will also help your blood sugar not to rise as much. Or you may want to meditate or do yoga when you are transitioning from the stress of work to the relaxation of being at home.
- Design Your Environment – Maybe leave a step by the kitchen counter to us for exercise. Make your bed in the morning so you have an inviting space to return to at the end of your day. Leave your phone in another room while you are relaxing.
- Use Positive Self- Talk – Don’t use words like “should” or “need” or “have to”, instead say “I feel more energetic when I work out”. When you are craving unhealthy food, don’t say “I don’t eat chocolate bars anymore” say “not now, I will have it over the weekend” (and then you may not still want it).
- Celebrate Your Success – Don’t celebrate when you reach your goal, celebrate every single time you make another step towards that goal. Like when you were little, give yourself a star on a chart or add a coffee bean to a jar. This visualization will reinforce your health habit.