The science of bad habits
Habits make up 40% of our daily life and determine how healthy a lifestyle we have. Understanding how habits work is the first step in changing bad habits and making healthy new ones.
1) The brain loves habits as it takes less energy to do something habitually than something new.
2) When you repeat a behavior, the brain lays down neural pathways to strengthen the likelihood you will continue that behavior
3) When you break the pattern of behavior, you weaken the neural pathways, thus weakening the habit
4) Habits show up in 3 parts: cue, action, reward. If you can figure out what cues trigger you to want to do the action (aka habit), and if you know what reward you seek from the habit, you will have more control over your behavior than if you simply focus on the habit itself.
5) Cues can also trigger you to repeat good behaviors! yay!
7) Willpower is b***sh**.
8) When the prefrontal cortex in the brain is tired, you will be more vulnerable to impulsivity so it is vital to understand when it gets tired.
9) Set goals in place in advance so the prefrontal cortex is not activated, and so you do not have to rely on being your best self in the moment (because we never are).
10) Proper goal setting is vital if you want to change. Goals must be specific, realistic, have some sort of time boundaries and be a behavior you can actually do – “No chocolate” is not an effective, motivating goal.
Alexandra Paul is best known for her acting role in the TV series “Baywatch.” Alexandra is now a certified Health and Wellness Coach (AlexandraCoaching.com), who coaches privately and in groups to improve the lives of anyone trying to eat better, lose weight, and stay fit with a busy schedule.