How To Find Powerful Change in your daily habits
Navigate improvements in your fitness routines, food choices, and overall wellness is important to you?
Let’s investigate how you can make successful changes through tracking and hacking your daily habits.
What’s a habit and why are your daily routines so powerful?
By definition, a habit is an acquired behavior pattern followed until it has become almost involuntary. We can all quickly identify many habits that we rely on every day like showering, brushing our teeth, and funny enough, even checking our phones. We have repeated these activities so many times that they happen without a conscious thought. Habits are critical to our ability to function as humans and manage all of our daily plans and obligations
Now, imagine if everything you did require your upmost attention and focus – your mind would be exhausted before 10 am from all the decisions you would need to make.
So how can you use habits to build successful change?
Habit is built on repetition of a task or a thought process. Remember when you first tried to ride a bike? You probably had training wheels and a parent to help you get started because there was so much to think about as you tried to steer the bike, push the peddles, manage the brakes while being overcome with the excitement of success. Maybe you fell off many times before riding became second nature and then you could ride as a champ. In the quote by Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit”.
We realize that habits are very powerful in our daily lives. It’s estimated that over 90% of what we accomplish in a day is fueled by our habits that are driven by our subconscious mind. The rest of the day we use our conscious mind when we execute creative, new, and novel activities. How is it that we only use our conscious mind for 10% of our actions and behaviors? Because we have a limited amount of conscious mental energy each day and our brains and our bodies are built for efficiency, so whenever possible the brain defaults to subconscious habits to conserve our conscious mental energy for big decisions, problems to solve, and creative projects to work on.
In his book “The Happiness Hypothesis”, psychologist Jonathan Haidt describes the brain as having two independent systems working together at the time to help us travel through our daily lives. First, there is our subconscious emotional mind that feels pain and pleasure. Secondly, we have our conscious analytical mind that makes decisions, reflects on the past and plans for the future.
He describes our subconscious mind like an Elephant and our conscious mind as a rider on the top of the Elephant. And a common belief is that we think our conscious mind (the rider) rules our behaviors, but when our subconscious mind (the Elephant) does not agree with our choices., the big Elephant wins and habits rule our choices. Interesting! Changes in behavior often fail because the rider can’t keep the Elephant on the right path. As a professional trainer, I see this happen all the time with my clients trying to improve their eating choices and keep a consistent commitment to the healthy lifestyle. Habits are very powerful.
What’s Your Habit Refresh Rate?
Your smartphone has an operating system that drives all the critical functions to use to manage your information. Technology has a built-in system to constantly upgrade your operating system every time new software is available. This keeps your phone functioning at its optimal capability.
Our Habits are our personal operating system because they function automatically.
He’s a change for your personal reflection.
When was the last time you refreshed your personal system (personal habits) to determine their value to keeping YOU functioning optimally?
Now that you understand how powerful our habits really are in creating the life you desire, you should commit to a weekly/ monthly habit refresh. This system helps you have a quick review of all of your daily habits efficiency (can I stack some habits together?) and upgrades (should I add something new in to my routine?). Remember your own professional advice though; don’t try to change everything at once. Small changes get you big results. You need to prioritize the habits that will have the greatest impact on your goals (losing 20 pounds) and since you have a limited supply of mental energy (focus) each week you dedicate to adopting new habit, choose your habit upgrades carefully.
How to Reset Daily Habits
If change was easy, everyone would be the best version of themselves. As a fitness professional, I know firsthand that it’s hard to change attitude and behavior toward healthy lifestyle (especially if we have to start from scratch) so how can you hack your habits successfully?
The first step is to choose a habit you want to upgrade and pull that habit out of your subconscious mindset into your conscious thought process. Let’s say you want to upgrade your breakfast to healthy shake. You have to dedicate mental energy to upgrading this habit. You research healthy shakes recipes and buy all the ingredients you need to make this shake. Second, you plan out how to execute this new habit based on your current routine. Each morning you make coffee, so making your shake at the same time builds in efficiency to your upgraded breakfast plan. Right? Finally, you need to create accountability to reinforce this new behavior because repetition builds automation and embeds this new habit into your daily routine.
With this in mind, you can use the Mini Habit Tracker here or commit to posting a picture of your healthy shake on social media every day for a week. Now you have upgraded your breakfast and soon it will become a regular part of your daily healthy habits and as a reward, you’ll start feeling like a million bucks!.
Coaching for Success
Changing daily habits is complex and requires new knowledge, attitude, and accountability. Want to learn more about how to hack habits for better results? Check out My Habit/Lifestyle Change Program that delivers tremendous success.