When I get asked to boil my advice down to the key, the most important, what really makes the biggest difference in people’s lives – people expect me to give some complicated and scientific answer. Mostly they are either disappointed or fascinated by the fact that all I can say is “it needs to be simple to stick”. But it is so true!
Yes, the human body is super complex and deep individualization and detail is key to making big change for some people. So the behavior that you are working on is based in complex science – but the step we are working on – it needs to be simple. That is basically our job. Taking it all in, running it by all the science – and breaking it down into simple, actionable steps for you.
And once you have these actionable steps that you want to take and keep doing – how do you turn them into habits that last?
A habit is a pattern of behavior that, through frequent repetition, eventually becomes unconscious and automatic. Researchers at MIT discovered a simple behavioral loop at the core of every habit. The loop consists of three parts: A cue, a routine, and a reward.
This habit loop provides a blueprint for creating habits that lead to sustainable change. For example, let’s say that we identified improved hydration as a habit you’d like to upgrade. You’d start by identifying a cue (e.g., placing a glass of pure water on your nightstand). This cue encourages you to create a routine (e.g., drink a glass of water first thing in the morning). This routine leads to the immediate reward of a refreshed feel.
Many assume that habits are learned behaviors and can be fixed quickly with the switch of one’s willpower. However, changing or creating a habit depends highly on the framework you construct to create accountability and true transformation. You need to be ready for change, as we discussed a few weeks ago. And – as I said above – it needs to be broken down into the simple and realistic to truly stick!
Hydration is a complex topic and the right hydration levels for your individual body at this time depend on many external and internal factors – but if we break it down to ‘add a glass of water at certain points during the day’ and a simple way of measuring your perfect hydration level (and as my clients all know – that is ‘watch the color of your pee’) – it becomes very simple.
And it works.
Especially during this time of the year, where everybody is constantly busy – identify a few simple routines you can do to take better care of yourself.
Here are a few simple examples – make up your own:
+ drink a glass of water first thing in the morning
+ take a few deep breaths every time you catch yourself feeling rushed
+ add more of nature’s color to your plate, at every meal
+ on the weekends, put on your running stuff first thing so that you have to get out there
Identify your cue and your reward (label it clearly and feel it!) – and simply do it. And repeat. And repeat. Until it simply turns into a habit. The thing you do.
Try it out and tell us what happens!
P.S: Oh – and here are a few simple tips as reminders for those upcoming holiday and dinner parties and buffets.
+ drink 2 or more glasses of water for every glass of wine
+ keep your hands full with a glass of water and a cute purse or something, so you can’t grab more food from the buffet mindlessly
+ pile lots of colorful veggies on your plate, some lean protein and less of the other stuff
+ enjoy and celebrate