Some Habits are easier to change

To change cut in habits can be a bit tricky and requires some patience and perseverance. Scientific research is showing though, that some habits are easier to change than others. To be more successful on the long run you should first choose to change a behavior which requires less energy and willpower.

For instance there are habits like eating one piece of sweet after another without being able to stop when sweets are visibly presented in front of you (danger zone office). There are other habits like eating no vegetables. Both kinds of habits are different regarding their relation to the object: eating sweets is approaching behavior while not eating veggies is withdrawing behavior (avoidance).

Approaching behavior is something we want to repeat because we want to experience the reward over and over again (e.g. sweet taste). Withdrawing behavior is something we like to stay away from, there is no reward included.

Maybe it is surprising that withdrawal habits are easier to change than approaching habits, because it is more difficult to abstain from a reward[1].

If you want to change some unwanted habits this can be the first step in order to make it as easy and as successful as possible. Look for your favourite withdrawal habit such as

  • Not drinking enough water
  • Leaving out vegetables
  • Skipping breakfast
  • “forgetting” to do your rollout after training
  • Avoiding dentist appointments

Just set small step by step goals and set a reminder on your mobile phone e.g. to drink one big glass of water before lunch, doing your rollout after match, eating breakfast on Mondays etc. Once the behavior of your choice becomes a habit you set new goals to include them even more in your daily life (e.g. big glass of water before lunch and dinner, rollout after match and after one training session weekly).

Stick to the same behavior that you want to implement in your daily life until it becomes a habit. You don’t have to change everything at once! After a couple of weeks this behavior became a habit and you don’t need to think about it. That’s convenient and your brain can do what it likes most: saving energy. As a bonus you will realize that the new behavior starts to be rewarding on its own: maybe you feel better after rollout so you want to feel this way more often or you are more energetic after having breakfast. These rewards make it even easier to enjoy the new healthy habit!

Here you can read the 2 previous Blog Posts about Habits:

  1. Habits set your course for success.
  2. Are we at the mercy of our habits?



[1] (10.04.2017)

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