I recently picked up a book.
It wasn’t about fitness or nutrition or the most recent bodybuilding fad. Nothing related.
It was a marketing book and a good one too – Marketing in the age of Google. It’s all about the beauty of search engines, the reasons behind why people search for what they do, and how we can leverage that to create stronger, more engaged communities online.
So how is this of any relevance?
Author Vanessa Fox mentioned a key character in the search world – Gord Hotchkiss – who has given us a fascinating insight into the way searchers view and click on search results. He’s the one who came up with this:
In the book, the author referenced some of Hotchkiss’s work that I found to be really interesting.
“He describes how our brains use cognitive shortcuts when performing mental tasks. As we learn a behavior, we internalize it and perform that behavior on autopilot so our brains are free to concentrate on other tasks. Up to 45 percent of our daily actions are done by habit, without conscious thought.“
45 percent of our daily actions are done by habit?? No conscious thought?
Almost half of the things we do we don’t actually think about doing it. We just…do it!
So I started thinking a bit. How can I utilize this powerful little mind trick to help people get fit? How can it be leveraged to help people get in the gym, eat right or simply live a healthy lifestyle?
Here’s what we can do…
We need to create habits – good ones. We need to initiate positive, healthy behaviors that we can learn, internalize and perform on autopilot.
Here are my 4 tips to creating a habit. Read them, learn them, USE them.
1 – Make it 30
Most experts agree that you have to perform an action for 30 days straight in order for it to become a habit. The first few days are going to be tough. Get over it. The first couple of weeks are going to test you. Fight it. Before you can push an action into your subctiontious mind, you have to let it sit and fight through the conscious one. You’ll have to think – focus. If you can stick through the 30 days, the action will become a habit.
2 – Restructure your Environment
Before you venture onto your thirty day adventure, you need to restructure your environment. This means removing all temptation. If you’re trying to build a habit of eating healthier, get rid of all the garbage in the fridge, the pantry, the garage or wherever you like to hide your ‘good stuff’. Get rid of it. If you’re trying to build a habit of exercising more often, have your training gear in open sight, get rid of the things that make you lazy, and fix up your home equipment if you have some. Only once you have restructured your environment can you have a good chance of succeeding your 30 day challenge and developing your habit.
3 – Develop a Trigger
This is a unique habit-creating technique that I’ve seen a lot of experts rave about. And for good reason - it’s powerful. A trigger is something personal to you that you use to initiate an action you want to create into a habit. Say you want to build a habit of getting in the gym more often. Maybe your trigger can be a cup of coffee. Every time you want to go to the gym, you drink a cup of coffee beforehand. Over the 30 days of doing this, every time you drink a coffee your mind will subcontiously be ready for the gym – and your body will follow. Nothing crazy, but you get the idea. Get yourself a trigger and use it.
4 – Get it on Paper
I truly believe that to create a habit there needs to be a constant source of motivation. Without motivation you’re dead in the water – the habit will be kicked to the curb before you can snap your fingers. One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to get a piece of paper (and a pen) and write down WHY you are choosing to develop this habit and the CONSEQUENCES that follow if you don’t follow through with it. Write it down. Make it BIG. Put it somewhere you can see every single day (especially during the 30 day challenge). Read it out loud. Motivation is the drive behind action.
The mind is a powerful thing. It really is. And yet there is so much we don’t know about it. So much we take for granted.
If it is true that 45 percent of our daily actions are done by habit, then why not create good, healthy habits that become part of our subcontious agenda?
Why not put health-conscious habits on auto pilot, so we do them without consious thought.
Well, that’s the idea. And I want you to try it.
If you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it, I encourage you to do one of two things:
- See that little facebook share button below? Yea, the blue one? Click it. Share this post with your friends. Help me spread my message.
- If you have any cool tips on developing good habits, share them in the comments below. If you have any tips on getting rid of BAD habits, share them in the comments below. If you want to say hello, check out my About page!
Thanks for reading!
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