Forming Habits 101
Habits are the building blocks of our daily lives. From the moment we wake up to the time we go to bed, our actions are often governed by a series of routines that have become ingrained in our behavior. While some habits are beneficial, others may hinder our progress and well-being. Forming positive habits and breaking free from detrimental ones is a skill that can significantly impact our overall quality of life. In this blog, we’ll explore the science behind habit formation and provide practical strategies to help you cultivate habits that stick.
Understanding The Habit Loop
At the core of habit formation lies the habit loop, a concept popularized by Charles Duhigg in his book “The Power of Habit ” The loop consists of three components:
- Cue: This is the trigger that initiates the habit. It could be a specific time of day, a certain emotion, or even a particular location.
- Routine: The routine is the behaviour or action you take in response to the cue. It’s the actual habit you want to form.
- Reward: The reward is the positive outcome or feeling associated with completing the routine. It reinforces the habit loop, making it more likely that you’ll repeat the behavior in the future.
Top Tips for Forming Healthy Habits:
- Identify Your Cues: Pay attention to the triggers that prompt your habits. Understanding the cues is the first step in reshaping your behavior.
- Define Your Desired Habits: Clearly outline the habits you want to form. Be specific about the actions you need to take to establish the routine.
- Start Small: A complete life overhaul might sound appealing, but it has been proven time and time again that the best way to achieve your goals is to start small. Make one simple behavioural shift until it becomes routine, then build with another.
- Be Consistent: Consistency is key to habit formation. Stick to your routine at the same time and place whenever possible.
- Use Visual Reminders: Visual cues can serve as powerful reminders. Place notes or objects in strategic locations to prompt your desired behaviour.
- Associate with Existing Habits: Pair your new habit with an existing one. This creates a natural connection and makes it easier to incorporate the new behaviour into your routine.
- Bring Back the Fun: Have you noticed how often our Western society praises the tough-it-out mentality? We’ve been taught that in order to have gain you have to have pain. However, research suggests that enjoying yourself might be the key to sticking with it. Shifting a workout from something you feel you need to do to something you look forward to doing will keep you going back for more.
- Track Your Progress: Keep a record of your efforts. Tracking your progress provides a sense of accomplishment and helps you stay motivated.
- Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate each success, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement strengthens the habit loop.
- Grab a Partner: Friends really do make everything better! Having an accountability buddy is one of the quickest ways to cement your healthy behaviour into a long standing habit. We’re inherently less likely to bail on a workout if we know someone is going to be let down by us not showing up. Try sharing your best Recipes with friends on Cronometer Gold!
- Adapt and Learn: Be flexible and open to adjustments. If a particular strategy isn’t working, analyze why and modify your approach accordingly.
- Be Patient: Habits take time to form. Practice patience and perseverance, understanding that meaningful change doesn’t happen overnight.
- Gamify It: If you’re naturally competitive then a little friendly competition could be the quickest way for you to build healthy habits. At Cronometer we use gamification to help you build the highest level of nutrition by giving you percentages on macro and micronutrient targets. It is not only rewarding to hit the high 90s, it will also have a huge positive impact on your health.
Tips for Breaking Bad Habits:
Try out these tips to help you break those bad habits:
- Identify Triggers: Recognize the cues that lead to your unwanted habits.
- Replace, Don’t Eliminate: Instead of trying to eliminate a bad habit, focus on replacing it with a healthier alternative.
- Understand the Reward: Identify the underlying reward associated with the bad habit and find a positive substitute.
- Seek Support: Share your goals with friends or family members who can provide encouragement and accountability.
- Learn from Setbacks: If you slip up, don’t be too hard on yourself. Use setbacks as opportunities to learn and adjust your approach.
Using Cronometer to Form Habits
Healthy habits are the building blocks to creating a healthier and happier life. Something that we’re all about here at Cronometer!
Want to turn your positive behaviours into regular habits? Try these Cronometer features:
- Notifications: On the mobile app, users can set notifications to remind them to log food if they haven’t already. This is a good way to receive a visual reminder straight to your phone to help you stick to the healthier habits.
- Streaks: Keep an eye on your Streaks widget on your Dashboard. Set yourself a goal to hit and try to reach it. Streaks can help you monitor your consistency and keep yourself accountable.
- Targets: One way to “gamify it” is to make sure you’re hitting all of your Nutrition Targets each day. Keep an eye on your targets and watch the bars fill up as you log.
- Nutrition Scores: Gold users can choose up to eight Nutrition Scores which bundle nutrients into certain categories like Women’s Health and Immune Support. Gamify your food logging by trying to get 100% on each of your scores.
- Repeat Items: Gold users have access to Repeat Items which makes logging food each day easier and can even act as a reminder for you to stick to your healthy habits.