It’s the middle of January and I hope most of us are sticking to our New Year’s resolutions of getting healthy. Getting healthy requires some willpower if you’re not used to it, but the most efficient way to get healthy is to create healthier habits. People say that bad habits are difficult to break and the good ones are much more difficult to create!
Here are some ways you can build good habits and break down the bad ones.
Step 1. Understand the role of “friction” in your habits. Friction likely comes in three forms: distance, time and effort.
Step 2. When building a good habit, decrease friction. How do we do that? For example, if you’re just new to exercise, pick out an exercise form that requires the least effort, distance and time for you to get started. If you don’t like going to the gym, follow an exercise video at home. If the gym is far from your house, get started with walking. The list can go on and on. When looking to eat healthier, store healthy food in your refrigerator so the friction and barrier to eating healthy is much much less. Decreasing friction is all about making the new habit as convenient as possible for you.
Step 3. To break a bad habit, increase friction. Are you so keen on having desserts and pastries? Are these readily available in your pantry? Try stocking your “junk food” in a part of the house that is inconvenient for you to grab and go. Anecdotal reports have shown that this strategy is effective when you want to cut down on dessert and junk food. To break a bad habit, structure yourself in a manner that makes it inconvenient to carry out that bad habit.
Does that sound easy? I sure hope it does! I think this concept applies to a lot of our routines and habits. The proof though is when the rubber hits the road. When starting an exercise program for the first time, consult your medical doctor and a fitness professional to make your exercise experience as seamless as possible. Happy training!