Hack Your Habits
You are way more powerful than any thought, any habit,
any overwhelming feeling you’re having right now
or have had in the past.
We all are.
The secret is believing this to our core and reminding ourselves of it when we’re feeling unsure.
So many of us beat ourselves up for lacking self-control. It’s true that it takes moments of presence, conscious intention, and time for reflection to moderate our behaviors. But most of the things we do on a daily basis are done on autopilot. There’s no shame in that, that's just how the human brain works. We tend to do what we’ve done before. Instead of feeling guilty about it, we can use this trait to our advantage. The trick is to set ourselves up for success by intentionally hacking into our habits and reward systems.
The most successful, accomplished people are not superior, magical beings. They just have developed habits that lead them to reaching their goals. They’ve also hacked into their internal reward systems by celebrating and finding pleasure in little successes and puzzling challenges as they progress.
Studies have shown that intentionally focusing on and celebrating what we’re ADDING to our life rather than fixating on the idea that we're depriving ourselves is more effective when making lasting changes. There’s a snowball effect that takes place every time we make a choice toward our wellbeing and contentment. It feels good to be good to ourselves. Self-care is love in action. We love, love. And we start to want more of it and that’s what creates a habit.
Adding > Removing
By focusing on adding MORE relaxing sleep routine practices — we’ll find that we will consume LESS caffeine and other stimulants.
When we eat MORE foods that are high-fiber, high nutrient food, we’ll find that we’ll be LESS interested in sugary, nutritionally depleted foods.
When we add MORE fun movement, stretching, muscle-strengthening activities in our life, we’ll find we feel LESS resistant to the idea of exercise and LESS drawn to stagnation.
When we add MORE purposeful deep breathing and relaxation techniques, we’ll find we desire LESS booze and other drugs.
When we spend MORE time with people we love, doing activities that energize us, challenge us, allow us to be our authentic selves,—we’ll find ourselves LESS drained, distracted and drawn to inauthentic relationships and doom scrolling.
And each time you add one these practices into your day, celebrate it.
Tell yourself you're proud of you. Remind yourself you did this because you love yourself.
Another tip that helps when making changes is to make those choices as easy as possible to make. We have our most energy right after we wake up, so that’s the best time for us to leave visible cues around the locations we want to develop a new habit.
Doing meal prep earlier in the day on your days off, gives you healthy delicious food, ready to eat when you’re hungry at the end of the day.
It’s also helpful to piggy-back on existing habits.
If you want to start journaling in the evening and you routinely plug your phone in at night, leave your journal and pen right by your charger so it’s there waiting for you.
If you want to start stretching in the morning, leave your yoga mat in the kitchen, so you’ll remember to grab it after breakfast.
And make old habits more difficult to do
Eat before going to the grocery store so you’re full and don’t buy processed, packaged junk food so it’s not tempting you in the house.
Delete that app you spend way too much time on.
Take a different route home from work so you don’t stop at that convenience store.
It truly only takes tiny moments of conscious effort to make lasting new healthy habits.
Most importantly, be gentle with yourself. Progress takes time and practice. You can do anything you set your mind on. Just recognizing that you deserve something better for yourself means you’re on the right track. Celebrate that. And if you start to slide back into old habits, take a deep breath and remind yourself: