In Part 1 we discussed the art of showing up, and designing and priming your environment for success. Now that you have started, maybe you’re not feeling as motivated as you did at the beginning? Your new habit is familiar but not yet an automatic action. Maybe you feel like you’re about to fall off the wagon, maybe you already have?
Marrying the habit
Pair the habit with something you enjoy doing. This works by linking an action you ENJOY doing with an action you WANT to do. You’re more likely to find a behaviour attractive if you get to do one of your favourite things at the same time.
For example, I am trying to get more consistent with writing my morning pages and journaling. Whilst enjoying my coffee in the morning, I use this strategy to take 15 minutes to myself and write.
Maybe you want to catch up with a friend, but you both need to do some exercise. Use this strategy to plan a gym or park date together so you can talk and exercise at the same time.
“I will only [HABIT I WANT TO DO] when I [HABIT I NEED TO DO]”
- “I will only DRINK COFFEE when I DRINK A GLASS OF WATER with it” – move your coffee into the cupboard with your water glasses to remind you to drink a glass of water before drinking your first cup of coffee each morning.
- “I will only LISTEN TO MY FAVOURITE PODCAST when I go for a WALK OUTSIDE”
A commitment aid is a way of locking ourselves into a desired behaviour, for example:
1. Telling our family and friends, or even announcing a commitment on social media, aims to lock ourselves into our desired behaviour by creating a sense of accountability, playing on our fear of shame if we fail to deliver.
2. Entering a monetary contract, by putting a price tag on our commitments e.g., a gym membership to increase our inclination for regular exercise. That monthly cost provides a consequence for not utilising it.
3. Find an accountability partner, where two or more people make an agreement to engage in a particular behaviour. Continuing our gym theme, a good example is having a workout partner. The cost of not working out becomes letting someone else down, as well as our monetary outlay.
Don’t underestimate just how far such commitment aids can take new habits!
Want help with your nutrition and fitness habits? Get in touch.
Written by Abigail Attenborough (ANutr)