Accomplish More with Mini Habits

If you read for five minutes each day, you would read approximately ten books a year. That is more than double the median number of the books the average American read last year. That is ten more books than the 27% of Americans who admitted to not reading a single book in the past year.[i] Assuming you were never motivated to read more than five minutes each day, in ten years, you would still have read 100 books and amassed a small library. Every time you looked at your library, you could take pride in the knowledge that you have read all the books in it – and all it took was a five-minute a day commitment.  Continue reading Accomplish More with Mini Habits

Why Habits are so Powerful and Potentially Dangerous

Our brain relies on routines stored in our primitive brain to conserve mental energy, but it needs to decide which Routine to perform and when to perform it. The initial spike in brain activity is the rat determining which Routine to perform. Once the rat decides, it’s decision centers quiet, their basal ganglia take over, navigating the maze quicker than when it was slowed down by conscious thought. At the end of the exercise, when the rat sees the reward, the brain jolts itself awake. It makes sure that the pattern unfolded as anticipated. Habits are a four-step process. First, there is a Cue that stimulates a Craving and triggers a Routine. Then there is a conditioned Routine, stored in our basal ganglia, that we execute to satisfy our Craving. Finally, there is a Reward that reinforces the habit by causing our brain to judge the routine worth remembering and repeating. This explains the pattern of brain activity the researchers observed, and it helps explain why habits are so valuable and potentially dangerous. Ann Graybiel, one of the scientists who oversaw many of the basal ganglia experiments, said, “Habits never really disappear. They’re encoded into the structures of our brain, and that’s a huge advantage for us because it would be awful if we had to relearn how to drive after every vacation. The problem is that your brain can’t tell the difference between bad and good habits, and so if you have a bad one, it’s always lurking there, waiting for the right cues and rewards.[i] “If a learned pattern remains in the brain after the behavior is extinguished, maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to change a habit. It is as though somehow, the brain retains a memory of the habit context, and this pattern can be triggered if the right habit cues come back,” Graybiel said. “This situation is familiar to anyone who is trying to lose weight or to control a well-engrained habit. Just the sight of a piece of chocolate cake can reset all those good intentions.”[ii] Continue reading Why Habits are so Powerful and Potentially Dangerous

The Quick Fix Mentality Trap

The fundamental flaw with extreme diet and exercise programs is their unsustainability. A program approach to weight loss can work, but our life does not end when we achieve our weight loss goal. When we solve problems at the systems’ level, by incorporating keystone habits, we have a permanent solution. Continue reading The Quick Fix Mentality Trap

Why We Should Focus on Habits, and Not Outcomes

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“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”  James Clear, author of Atomic Habits

What you are going to learn:

  1. Why a Focus on Short-Term Results Causes us to Choose Ineffective Programs
  2. Why Habits are the Key to Sustainable Results
  3. Why What is Popular is Not Always Effective
  4. Why Unethical Fitness Guru’s often Recommend a Low Carb Diet, Praying on the Eagerness of People to See Quick Results

We all want to achieve results, but when we focus on outcomes and not habits, we make bad decisions. When we are too focused on outcomes, we look for short cuts. What is quickly done, is quickly undone.

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NBC – Ali Vincent was the first female to win on the show with an 112-pound weight loss. Vincent recently posted to Facebook about gaining the weight back. Continue reading “Why We Should Focus on Habits, and Not Outcomes”