How’s your Junk-free January? Changing a habit can be hard, so it helps to understand what’s happening here.
By definition a “habit” is “a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure…an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary”. (Webster).
In other words, we’ve formed habits by doing something over and over again – to the point where it becomes automatic. Like drinking coffee in the morning. Replacing it with another also takes repetition – on average, about 66 times*.
Here are some tips to make it easier:
- Figure out your ‘habit loop*’ – Every habit has a cue, a routine, and a reward. When you’re stressed (cue), you reach for candy (routine), which gives you a delicious breather (reward). Understanding the loop helps you to see what you’re doing and choose differently.
- Substitute – You can’t always control the cue, but you can change your routine. Instead of candy, walk around the block, or buy a flower, or choose a healthy snack. Over time, you’ll associate those routines with reward.
- Start small – Don’t try to change everything all at once. Want to reduce caffeine? Substitute your mid-afternoon cup with herbal ‘til it’s a habit, and go from there.
- Be patient – Re-training your brain takes time. Took a while to learn how to tie your shoelaces, now you do it automatically.
- Tell your friends – it’s hard to change a habit, especially when it’s tied to your social life. Let your circle know what you want to change, and ask them to support you – or join you!
Don’t forget: Reward yourself for a job well done. How are you doing? Share your story on Facebook.
Nature’s Fare Nutritionists Lisa and Angela are here to guide you through a program that cleans up your diet and lifestyle habits, and puts you on the right track for a healthier, more energized year. Learn more about their full Junk-Free January plan.