Habit breaking is undoubtedly one of the hardest things to do. Especially those associated with weight-loss. In fact I haven’t really had much success in breaking habits in the 20 + years of coaching clients. What I have had success in is making new habits. Doing this requires far less will power and will ultimately cancel out the bad ones!
To this you first must understand the 3 R’s as identified in Charles Duhigg ‘The Power of habit’. They are:
Charles refers to it as the habit loop and this is what we need to work on breaking. We need a reminder to make a new routine and then be rewarded for this. We have all been exposed to such a loop every time we hop in the car. The annoying beeping sound the car makes to remind us to put on our seat belt causes us to get into a routine of doing this. The reward is not just saving our life but one even greater; that annoying sound goes away! That is what we call a habit loop that creates a change in behaviour.
How do I do this?
Take time (a least a week) identifying what habits you currently have that are perhaps less than desireable and why and when you do them. Write them down!
Choose ONLY one to work on.
Look at how you can rework the habit loop to create positive change. For example increasing your water intake and reducing caffeine and soft drink intake. Changing this will have a huge impact on your weight. Strategically place water bottles filled with quality water in all the places you can think of. The car, your bag, desk, kitchen, beside your bed anywhere you can think of. This will increase your chances of drinking it if it is right there in front of you. This will be your reminder. You see it, you drink it and that becomes your new routine and the reward is increased energy, decrease in appetite, better looking skin and potentially less headaches!
All of a sudden you are drinking less coffee, soft drink and more water. That is your new habit and you broke the old one without even thinking about it. It took no willpower! Now you can move onto the next one.
Identifying when your habit appears, the reminder, and what the reward is, how does it make you feel will give you a huge insight into how to change the loop. Replace with a different routine and you will be on your way to a healthier version of yourself.
Happy habit relooping!!
Kirsty Robbie - IoM health coach and co-founder of StudioForty6