Reassess Your Habits

Happy New Year! If you\’ve joined the millions of other Americans in setting New Years resolutions this year. . . I encourage you to read this carefully.

Your daily habits are at the core of your success or failure in making your New Years resolutions happen. This is especially true when it comes to resolutions or goals pertaining to your health. Bad habits can sabotage your best intentions, while healthy habits can set you up for success and a healthier and happier New Year. These habits are the little things you do each day without consciously thinking about them.

I traveled to Mexico for Christmas and spent several restful days on the beach and by the pool. One of my favorite things to do while on vacation is to read, so I chose a few books to take with me on this trip. As a Fort Collins Nutritionist, I\’m eternally interested in habits and how to better help my clients to improve their health and form habits that support their health, this book caught my eye: \”The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business\” by Charles Duhigg.

The book was a fascinating and mildly entertaining read and if you\’re interested in the neuroscience and psychology of habits, I\’d highly recommend it. If you\’d rather have the bottom line, here it goes. . .  its much easier to upgrade habits than it is to form new ones and habits CAN be reprogrammed (by forming new neural pathways in your brain)!

Every habit includes the following three parts:\"Pomegranate

  1. Cue
  2. Action
  3. Reward

Habits are much simpler to change if you keep the same cue and reward and simply change the action. Here are some examples of upgrades to healthy-er habits that I came up with:

Cue         Action                           Reward

Thirst      Drink a Diet Coke             Quenched thirst

Drink a glass of water

Bored      Mindless snacking            Physical stimulation

25 jumping jacks

Tired       Starbucks latte                More energy, less tired

5 minute brisk walk

If somewhere along the line you decided (consciously or subconsciously) that drinking a Diet Coke is the best way to quench your thirst and it became a habit, its going to be a lot easier to succeed with your New Year\’s Resolution of \”quit drinking soda\” if you use the same cue and get the same reward and simply replace drinking Diet Coke with drinking a big glass of water. Make sense?

Take a minute to reassess your New Years Resolutions and see if you already have cues and rewards for some of the things you\’d like to change. If so, what action can you take to replace the less healthy action with a healthier one? I\’d love to hear your comments. . . feel free to leave them on my blog below.

Also, I don\’t want to leave you hanging. . . if you\’d like some more support with accomplishing your New Years Resolutions around health, nutrition, and healthy eating I\’ve got you covered. Stayed tuned for an announcement early next week with all of the juicy details!

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Erin Harner

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