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5 real-life strategies (that you can actually use) to change your habits

What do you really know about forming new habits??

There is a LOT of information out there. As we head into the new year, here are some tips to get you started.

Jim Davies (professor at Carleton University) has come up with the following mnemonic. It is… (drumroll, please)HABIT

Clever, right? Here’s what he says to help set you up for success when building new habits.

H: Humans you’re around.

The people you’re around influence your habits.

Surround yourself with people that want the same thing as you; join a club or get your friends on board.

A: The activity you’ve just engaged in. 

What we do influences what we will do NEXT.

For example: Putting on your pyjamas triggers you to brush your teeth.

Dr. Andrew Huberman takes this further & preaches, “linchpin habits”; take your current habits (that you ENJOY) and link them to a new habit.

B: Bearings (or location).

Habits can be triggered by where you are. You may be more likely to eat healthy at home or drink at a party.

Change up your coffee shop if you can’t skip the cinnamon bun (or better yet, make your coffee at home).

Also, data shows that the closer you live to the gym, the more likely you’ll go.

I: Internal state.

Recognize how your mood impacts your habits.

When you’re hungry, do you act in a particular way? What about when you’re stressed or tired?

Pack more snacks to avoid being hangery or binge-eating when you get home.

T: Time of day

Certain times of day will initiate certain habits. Use this to your advantage. Before/after work = workout time. Use the time to cue your habits (noon = daily walk).

Remember – don’t be rigid in your habit forming. If you don’t get the walk at lunch doesn’t mean you skip it!

Remember: Research suggests that habit formation ranges between 18-254 days. Formation depends on the person; the duration is HIGHLY variable.

Reward yourself when you’ve completed the habit (get that dopamine hit).

Anticipate how great it will feel after.

Be patient with yourself.

“Imagine your body’s like a car and the habit system is driving; it’s just going to drive where it usually drives (autopilot), unless someone else in the car talks it into going somewhere else…” – Jim Davies

Happy Habit Formation!