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How Master Habits For Your Health

Updated: 15 hours ago

I have been reading a lot on habits lately.

 

I believe the information I am learning on habits, is more powerful than the latest cutting edge nutrition and fitness science.

 

People who have accomplished the goals you are currently working towards likely have done so by habits they have created.

 

Put simply, habits are routines that occur in response to something.

 

Here is how habits are formed.

 

A cue or trigger drives us to do some type of action which becomes a routine, and that type of action delivers some type of reward.

 

The craving for this reward keeps us responding to a cue with the same pattern.

 

That is how habits are formed.

 

A classic example is a habit that I do every morning.

 

Each morning I wake up and go down stairs into the kitchen.

 

I start getting by getting my morning coffee ready.

 

Then I hear the pitter patter steps of our dog, Darcy, coming down the stairs.

 

She comes into the kitchen and gives me a few good morning licks, and then like clockwork, I grab her leash to take her outside.

 

We go out side for a few minutes, she takes care of what she needs to, we go back inside and then I continue to go about my morning.

 

The cue of her coming down the stairs is a signal that tells me to get the leash ready to take her outside.

 

The action of taking Darcy outside becomes the routine that I do every morning.

 

The reward, is the satisfaction of knowing she won't make any messes in the house.

 

This pattern can apply to your nutrition as well.

 

You might feel hungry in the middle of the day, that is your cue.

 

You then go into the fridge and opt for the first thing you see, this is your routine.

 

You eat something to curb the hunger, and now you have a reward.

 

People the succeed in just about anything will do so because they have a series of habits that are on autopilot.

 

If you feel as if all of your habits are negative, I have good news.

 

Habits can be changed.

 

However, the first step in this habit changing process is to become aware of what your initial cue or trigger is.

 

Let's say you always go for a midday snack at 1 pm.

 

In this scenario, this snack is not one that aligns with your current health and wellness goals.

 

If you wanted to change this routine, first take note of what is driving you to get that snack.

 

Is it hunger, is it boredom, or does it always seem to be after a weekly meeting with a co-worker that just annoys you.

 

Becoming aware of what that cue, trigger, or signal is crucial for you to change how you act and respond to it.

 

If it is due to hunger, maybe you need to pack an extra snack from home that fits your goals.

 

If it is boredom, give yourself 5 minutes of a game on your phone, or quickly chat with a friend or your partner to break up the day.

 

If it is something to blunt your frustration after a annoying meeting, consider going for a short walk around the office if it is nice outside, vent to someone to get your thoughts off your chest, or maybe writing your frustrations down on a piece of paper can help clear your mind.

 

All of these can change your routine, and still provide you with the same reward of either satisfying your hunger, reducing your boredom, or dealing with frustrations in a healthy way.

 

All in all, habits take time to become automatic.

 

But, they can be changed and eventually it will become easier and easier.

 

Remember, the first step is identifying what it is that is causing you to create that habit in the first place.

 

All the best,  

 

Tim Stiroh

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