BUILD A NEW HABIT
Let’s talk a tiny bit about creating a new habit.
Just about every motivational speaker out there talks about habits. And that is because habits are extremely useful things. A habit is simply some behaviour you do so often that your brain delegates that specific task to your subconscious. You no longer need to think about it, you just do it automatically. Hopefully you automatically look both ways before you cross the street. Hopefully you automatically brush your teeth each day. By delegating these behaviours to the subconscious, you are now free to spend your time planning your day while you brush your teeth.
James Clear author of Atomic Habits suggests there is a feedback loop behind every habit: Cue – Craving – Response – Reward.
A behaviour is triggered by something – you see a bakery, or smell a cinnamon bun; you crave that sweet treat – yum; you respond – enter into bakery and buy cinnamon bun; reward – eat cinnamon bun.
- Cue… waft of cinnamon yumminess;
- Craving… oh yum, gotta have one;
- Response… buy cinnamon bun;
- Reward… eat cinnamon bun.
The ‘craving’ part here is critical. If you are not a fan of sweet treats, then the wafting smell of cinnamon buns will not create an “Oh Yum…” craving, and the feedback loop does not play out. “Meh, no thanks, not today.”
It’s a bit harder with exercise – a good habit. Before you develop your exercise habit, it’s unlikely you have a craving to get all hot and sweaty, triggering you to run around the neighbourhood to get fit.
The difference lies in when we get the feedback/reward. Bad habits – like a daily sweet treat – give you immediate feedback. Good habits – like exercise – offer delayed feedback. It takes several weeks, if not months, before you start to see any benefits of exercise.
So to build an exercise habit, you need to figure out a way to give yourself some immediate reward for exercising – this is why celebration is crucial.
When I started cycling, I would literally say out loud – “Oh there is the burning sensation in my quads, awesome, I’m getting stronger. Love it.” I taught my brain to accept the pain of cycling. Then I rewarded myself with a hot shower.
Thou shalt celebrate – it should be one of the 10 commandments. Reward thyself and build some life changing habits!
Live Life, Love Life, Always,
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