Happy Friday, my fellow habit-building dominator.
Today, we’re going to continue our unofficial series on building habits that actually stick.
Let me clarify…building positive habits that stick. The bad habits are effortless:)
To recap, there are three parts to a habit:
- Cue – what triggers the habitual behavior
- Routine – the action itself
- Reward – the positive result because of the routine
We talked about identifying and creating cues yesterday.
For example, we can train our brains to create a cue (seeing your running shoes), that sparks a routine (go for a run), and make that behavior automatic because of the reward (runner’s high).
I know what you’re thinking: “That’s great Jeff, but I struggle with the routine part…I just can’t bring myself to do it.”
And that’s why this is the toughest part of the process.
The good news is that it can be done with two “hacks”.
But first, let’s destroy the two crutches we’ve been relying on our entire lives…
Willpower and Motivation…two things that will guarantee failure. Both are a finite resource that come and go like the tide. Hoping that you’re going to have either when you need them ain’t a strategy.
Here are two hacks that do work:
- Environmental – making the routine easier by removing steps needed to complete it.
- Programming – add your habit to your daily calendar, track your progress, and make it a part of your day.
Here are a few environmental hacks you can steal:
Going To The Gym After Work: Pack your bag the night before. That way, every morning you’ve got what you need to throw in your car. As soon as the clock strikes 5p (cue), you’re in your vehicle pointed to the gym.
Eat Better: Throw out the garbage in the house so it’s never an option. If I am meeting people out for dinner, I’ll eat healthy before I leave the house, then get something small like a salad so I’m not a social outcast.
And a few programming hacks to steal:
Exercise: If you want to exercise more, set a cue like calendar alerts (already built in to the 18STRONG App) as a reminder to do the activity. You’re much more likely to do anything scheduled ahead of time.
Writing: I love sending these emails every day, but it used to fall through the cracks too often. I printed a calendar, and each day I would cross off the day after I sent you and email. I didn’t want to break the streak, so after a year, I had a perfect calendar. These days, it’s completely automatic.
It’s up to you to choose which hack will work for you. I’ve used both depending upon the habit I was trying to build.
I already told you about using programming for writing daily emails. When it comes to removing steps, Ryan (our co-founder) has come up with some good ideas lately.
He’s training for a 240-mile bike ride across the state of Missouri, so he bought a bike stand on Craigslist for $50 and has it set up in his basement. Now, he’s taken the weather out of the equation.
You’ve got this.
Your #1 Fan,
PS – Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about the fun part – the REWARD.
It seems like a small thing, but getting a notification each workout day from the 18STRONG App will put your habit-building on steroids. The good kind.