Now that we’re approaching the end of January, we may be revisiting the New Year’s resolutions we made a few weeks ago. If you haven’t made as much progress as you were hoping or if you haven’t made any progress at all, we have a few shortcuts to good habits. Let’s call them life hacks for habits…
1. Link Healthy Behavior to an Immediate Reward
Bad habits make us feel good in some way. There’s a quick payoff to a bad habit. Junk food tastes good, for example. If you can link a healthy behavior with a short term reward, you’re more likely to turn that healthy behavior into a habit. For starters, try listening to your favorite music exclusively while working out. If going to the gym is the only time you can listen to your favorite song, you may actually look forward to going to the gym, and there’s a better chance it will turn into a habit.
2. Piggyback New Habits onto Current Habits
If you already engage in a habit, try stacking a new, healthy behavior on top of your current habit. For example, if you drink coffee in the morning, put your vitamins next to the coffee pot to ensure you start taking your vitamins every day.
3. Cut Down on Resistance to New Behaviors
Modify your environment to not only cut down on resistance to a new behavior but also to serve as a cue to engage in the new behavior. For example, if your running sneakers are unlaced and ready next to your bed, you’re more likely to put them on and get going first thing in the morning.
Use current habits to cue new, healthy behaviors. If you sit down to breakfast every morning, tell yourself that you’ll read a book with breakfast. Breakfast is the cue for reading.