Your Not-So-New-Year’s-Resolution Guide

 The Health Guru

    By The Habit Society

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Your environment

set up a conducive environment

You see it, you want it: We all know what it's like when an online ad convinces us that we all of a sudden need this product to survive, even though we've gone three decades without it. Without this prompt, we never would have thought we needed it, and the same goes for the cookies on the counter. You see it, you want it. If you design your environment to only see what will lead to positive habits, you are more likely to be successful.

Takeaway: Don't make unhealthy food easily accessible. Make it hard to eat unhealthy and make it easy to eat healthy. For example: meal prep is a great idea. When you get home from a long day of work, you'll grab the easiest option (which is most likely those BBQ chips). Had you prepped your meal in advance, you'd be much more likely to eat according to plan.

The golden rule

Replace, Don't eliminate

The rule: To change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine in the middle. In other words, you can't get rid of a habit, you can only replace it.

What can I use as a replacement? Keep in mind that for the reward to be... rewarding, you need to fulfill the same craving. So, if you're trying to kick a sugary soda habit, you shouldn't start by replacing it with water. It just ain't the same. Instead, you can start by replacing it with a sweetened sparkling water, and then make your way to an even healthier option.

identity-based habits

Become one with the Habit

What do you mean? Someone who considers themselves as a “healthy eater” would usually say no to a brownie. If you want to be a healthy person, you need to identify as a healthy eater. Once you identify as such, your actions will be shaped by your identity. AKA, you will more easily say no to the brownie, getting closer to your desired results.

The power of words: It’s really trickery for your brain. Imagine every time someone offered you a doughnut, you said: “I realllly want one but, I can't eat that.” Eventually, you would give in because, at your core, you still feel like someone who eats sugary doughnuts. Instead, maybe you say, “I don’t eat that, but thank you”. Point blank. You no longer debate it and the temptation is gone. “I can’t” takes the power away from you, whereas “I don’t” gives it back to you.

Systems not goals

Results come from good systems, not good goals

Many of us would love to run a marathon, read a book a week, or lose 10 pounds. If so many of us have such similar goals, why do only some of us succeed? Perhaps it's not the goals that define our success, but our daily patterns instead.

What's a system: Scott Adams defines a system as something we do on a regular basis that increases our odds of happiness long-term. A system could mean being active every day, writing every day, or practicing piano every day.

Think about 2 scenarios: Scenario A = You tell yourself you want to lose 10 pounds in 3 months. Scenario B = You tell yourself you will be active every day, buy more whole foods and cut out fast food. Which one do you think will lead to better results? Scenario A is arbitrary, makes life feel stressful, and doesn't actually have a plan of action. Scenario B will feel easier and more enjoyable while actually leading to results.

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