New Year’s Resolutions – Why Wait?

Our desire for a fresh start causes us to waste a lot of time waiting.  Why wait for a new year, a new month, or a new week. Tomorrow is a new beginning. Why not PLAN today – START tomorrow – and NEVER quit! A lot of people will tell us to start NOW, which isn’t bad advice if you are prone to procrastination, but research has shown that we do better when we have a plan. Research on implementation intentions suggests we will be much more likely to follow through if we have a plan. Planning can be exciting, but don’t let it turn into a form of procrastination. 

If you have a strong desire to implement a new habit, put that motivation to good use by planning when you’ll implement the new habit. Motivation not put to work is like water spilling from a leaky damn instead of being put to work by the mill. Motivation gets us started, but without a plan, we will quickly wander off course. Create an implementation intention. Decide when and where you are going to begin. Develop if-then plans. For example, your implementation intention could be to exercise for 20-minutes each morning right after waking up and drinking a glass of water. You prepare by laying your clothing out the night before and deciding what kind of exercise you are going to do. If 20-minutes feels like too much, you can start with a 5-minute commitment. Your if-then plan could be, if I oversleep or somehow miss my workout, I will exercise as soon as I get home from work. Continue reading New Year’s Resolutions – Why Wait?

Motivation is an Ineffective Habit-Forming Strategy

Motivation is an ineffective strategy for forming habits. First, it depends on our emotional state. Emotions are difficult to regulate, and consistency is an absolute necessity for habit formation. Repetition is the language of our basal ganglia, where all habits reside. Another reason motivation is a terrible strategy for developing habits is that it decreases over time. We don’t build motivation through repetition; we dilute it.  Continue reading Motivation is an Ineffective Habit-Forming Strategy

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

REVERSE THE 5-MINUTE RULE TO BREAK A BAD HABIT

Even if you decide to give in to the temptation at the end of the five minutes, you have strengthened your willpower and increased your awareness of the behavior. Both benefits will improve your odds of success when the next temptation arises. The worst thing we can do is become overly critical of ourselves because that will lead to stress eating, more about that later.         Continue reading REVERSE THE 5-MINUTE RULE TO BREAK A BAD HABIT

What is a Gateway Habit?

These gateway habits put your day on a positive or negative trajectory. Some gateway habits, like going to bed at a consistent time to get adequate sleep, will shape the day to come. Mastering these moments is crucial. I suggest you keep the initial action as small and easy as possible to execute. Some of these actions can even be automated. You can program your internet router to shut off at a specific time each night to avoid late-night TV. You could also set-up a phone alarm as a primary or secondary reminder to go to bed, so you’ll get at least seven and a half hours of restful sleep each night. Your bedtime ritual can be as simple as putting your phone in its charger, brushing your teeth, and putting your head on the pillow. Continue reading What is a Gateway Habit?