Old habits hard to break

Why Bad Habits are so Hard to Break — Mindsoother Therapy Center

Do you wish you could break a bad habit, but you don’t know how? Habits like nail biting, procrastinating, smoking, or spending too much time online often impede on our daily productivity. They make us frustrated with ourselves and in the end, they do us more harm than good. Don’t keep wondering why you simply cannot stop your bad habit.  You can break the cycle of negative behavior and save precious time.

Explore these three helpful tips to learn why it is so difficult to break these bad habits and discover what you can do to make a change today!

Understand how neural pathways in the brain work:
Strong neural pathways can make it tougher to break a habit. Neural pathways are the extraordinarily developed pieces of our nervous system that allow us to perform daily tasks without having to really think about it. There are many neural pathways involved in everyday function, and there is one that allows the body to develop behaviors that we’ve designated as “good”—the appropriately-named reward pathway. The reward pathway reacts when a stimulus is presented, and our body considers that stimulus to be rewarding. An example of this interaction is when someone first smokes a cigarette. The body identifies nicotine as a rewarding substance, causing a release in dopamine, a “feel good” hormone. This creates a new neural pathway where the brain now craves that substance. The mind will consequently take that neural pathway when the person smokes again.

The brain releases dopamine when the reward pathway is activated, and because dopamine release feels very good, the brain and body start seeking more pleasure, more reward and more dopamine. The cycle begins automatically and gets repeated over and over again. As your mind continues to follow that neural pathway, your negative habit pattern becomes ingrained and difficult to break. 

Practice delaying gratification:
Gratification is an important factor in habit-forming. It entices us to seek immediate rewards, rather than long-term benefits. If you have ever taken a basic psychology course, you might have heard of the Marshmallow Experiment. The experiment explains why we lean towards instant gratification system over the delayed gratification system. In this experiment, Stanford researchers analyzed children’s behavior when they were offered a choice between eating one marshmallow now (a small reward immediately), or two marshmallows if they waited for 30 minutes (a larger reward for waiting). Most of the children displayed a behavior known as instant gratification, meaning that waiting for the larger reward was nowhere near as good for the children as eating one marshmallow immediately. It shows how children lean towards instant gratification over delayed gratification.

Instant gratification is an adult phenomenon too! It’s hard to wait for reward (remember that dopamine release). Delaying gratification requires mindful attention to your cravings, your urges, the rewards and the consequences. After considering all of those items, it then requires a thoughtful decision. If you are operating purely on instinct, on impulse, or on desire, you will be more likely to choose the thing that makes you feel good right now!

The ability to delay gratification is a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly in order to become fully developed. If it is underdeveloped, it makes it challenging to resist instant gratification. It requires patience and practice to seek the long-term reward. As adults, we teach our kids to wait patiently all the time. Why? Because waiting and delaying gratification is part of the developmental process.

Maintain a goal-oriented, long-term mindset:
Our brains are neuro-plastic, meaning that they can change! The brain is able to create new neural pathways with repeated thoughts, urges, and behaviors over time. It can take at least 21 days to create a neural pathway using consistent and repetitive habit patterns. So stick with it! Focus on the long-term, rather than the short-run. Practice delaying gratification from one or two days to one or two weeks, and so on. The approximately 21-day period isn’t that long in the larger scheme of your life. Remember how it feels to be stuck in a negative habit pattern and keep your mind focused on the potential positive outcomes.

There are various ways to keep yourself motivated during the time it takes to create new pathways. You could make a list of the benefits of sticking to your long-term goals to reference when you feel like giving up. You could create a physical calendar or use a count down app to remind yourself how far you’ve come. You could use a journal to track your progress day-by-day. Be your own cheerleader and encourage yourself. Find a way to keep yourself motivated in the long-term that works for you.

Instead of telling yourself that you can never break a bad habit, try adapting a more positive mindset. Open yourself to the possibility that you can stop the cycle, and give yourself the encouragement needed to do so. Negative neural pathways can be changed into positive ones if you practice your delayed gratification skills and focus on your long-term outcomes. Negative habits are easier to break than you think! With a few shifts in mindset and behavior, you can train your brain and body to rewire itself. Then you can finally move toward your positive goals.

Action steps, Gaining Willpower, Helpful tips, Managing urges, Self-improvement, Tips for Your MindRylee Morrischanging habits, self-improvement, self-awareness, problem behavior, motivation


5 Proven but Ignored Secrets to Breaking Old Habits

Let me guess, you’re trying to break an old habit, and right now — you’re fuming.

Your plans of exercising, eating healthier, procrastinating less have failed again.

Instead, you’re back to sofa lounging, TV-watching, and fast-food feasts.

It is one thing to understand how important good habits are to your health, happiness, professional success.

Sure, you had good intentions and SMART goals.

You were full of motivation.

You did well for some time, but — it’s all gone now.

So what on Earth has happened?

Where did you go wrong?

Let’s get it clear from the beginning: changing habits, bad or good, is hard.

Habits are wired into our brains.

Once you’ve created a habit, your brain keeps craving it, regardless of the price.

So how can you break this vicious cycle and get rid of your bad habits?

Don’t worry — there are actual tips that can help you break old bad habits once and for all.

1. Nature abhors a vacuum — so fill that gap

You may have heard that people who quit smoking gain weight.

One reason for that is they miss putting the cigarette into their mouth, so to satisfy their ‘oral gratification’, they turn to food.

Whether it’s about putting a cigarette to your mouth, snacking while watching TV, or wasting your time on social media — getting rid of a habit creates a gap.

Your brain will want to fill immediately.

Because all habits, good or bad, serve a purpose.

Your snacking may be a way to manage stress (I know it is for me), your TV binges help you forget about a stressful day at work, and your Snapchat checking – relieves your sense of loneliness.

You can try fighting against those autopilot movements, but that just adds to the effort and stress levels.

A better solution is to fill in the gap with a good habit.

Instead of snacking on sweets, have a bowl of carrot sticks handy.

If you feel lonely, write a brief email or ring a friend instead of wasting hours on social media.

Go for a walk or clean your desk to relieve boredom instead of gossiping.

Find a substitute for your bad habit — and have it ready.

Make it part of your plan: not only what, when and how but also – what you are going to do instead to fill in that emotional gap.

That is the best method for breaking old habits.

2. Limit the temptations to engage in your bad habits

I’ve met people who think that giving up a bad habit is about ‘willpower building’ and that’s why you should continue living your life as it is — with all the usual temptations surrounding you.

Well, while I agree that giving up a bad habit tests your willpower, eliminating temptations is a much wiser move.

We overestimate our ability to resist temptations.

However, studies show that those who limit temptations are more successful at achieving their habit goals.

People who keep only a fruit bowl on their kitchen counter weigh less than people who have other food displayed.

If you truly want to break that bad habit, don’t underestimate the power of temptations.

Look around you — your house, workplace, wherever else you typically spend your time and might be exposed to temptations, and eliminate what you can.

If you want to spend less time on the Internet, turn it off.

If you want to stop gossiping, limit the time you spend with people you usually gossip with.

The ultimate approach is to eliminate any other choices and making your new habit the default option.

Keeping a fruit bowl on your kitchen counter and a stack of cut-up vegetables in the fridge, coupled with no other snacks in the house, will ensure that you snack only on healthy options.

If you want to exercise in the morning — try sleeping in your workout clothes.

When you get up — you don’t have to think whether you’re going for a workout this morning —you just go.

3. Plan it on a bad day

A word of warning before you read on if you’ve read a lot about the importance of being motivated and believe that ‘motivating yourself’ solves bad days, what comes next may be a shock to you.

I don’t subscribe to the whole motivational hype.

I believe that since you’ve got this far in seeking a solution to your bad habit, you’re not only aware of the problem, you’re also motivated to change it.

How do you do it?

Plan your habit change on a bad day.

Yes, not on a day when you feel full of energy and motivation to change your bad habits and the world, but on a day you feel flat and unmotivated.

We commonly overestimate how much time and effort various projects will take.

It’s even worse with predicting our behavior in the future.

The so-called empathy gap is a cognitive bias that makes us underestimate the influence of strong emotional states on our behavior in the future.

So with your ‘cold’ head-on, you may think: ‘Nah, I’d be alright with that diet.

I’ll just distract myself when I’m hungry’, minimizing the power of feeling hungry, or craving that chocolate bar.

So when you’re all excited and rational, pumped with motivation and inspiration, you’re thinking you can move mountains.

And since you can move mountains, why shouldn’t you be able to move your body and go for a run after work.

Well, after work, you’re tired, emotionally drained, and frustrated with the long drive home.

Not to mention hungry, and you’d rather plant yourself in front of the TV than go out running in the rain.

This is how your fabulous plan to exercise regularly goes out of the window.

However, if you plan the change on a bad, or at least on an average day, you will plan for days like this one.

And if you can make yourself work out, own a day like that — imagine how much easier it will be when you brimming with energy and enthusiasm!

4. Make your new habit so small you can’t fail

A few years ago, I read about Stephen Guise’s One Push-Up Challenge.

Stephen resolved to do one push-up per day to get into shape.

And he did.

He also successfully changed many other habits following the same strategy: making the step required so small, so laughingly small, he couldn’t do it.

His book has been an immense success and helped thousands of people successfully change their habits.

I’m a big fan of this approach — it’s much more efficient and effective longer term than the best motivational speeches and inspirational quotes.

If you want to change and began breaking bad habits, start small — so small you can’t fail.

Want to get into regular exercise?

Start with one push-up.

Want to meditate regularly?

Resolve to meditate 1 minute.

Admit it, it doesn’t sound overwhelming, even when you tired, or had a terrible day?

5. Reward your new behavior with something that matters to you

One of the hardest things when changing your behavior from an old bad habit to a new one is to keep it going.

The best way to do it is to make your brain crave the new behavior.


By making it crave the reward.

Ideally, you want to do it because you feel better, happier, fulfilled, but those intrinsic rewards don’t always happen, and are harder to feel at the beginning of your journey.

That’s why it may be helpful to use external, material rewards for a while.

I don’t mean in the ‘I’ll have a carrot, because I know carrots are healthy and good for me’ way.

I mean ‘I really, really want to watch this show’ way.

The best way to reward yourself for the desired behavior is to reward yourself with things that really make you tick.

You would be surprised to know how many people try rewarding themselves with stuff they’re not really interested in, or don’t reward themselves at all.

No wonder they struggle to make their new habits work on autopilot.

Try temptation bundling to help break those bad habits

Are you tempted to watch your favorite show but you know you should work out?

Let yourself watch the show only in the gym (or only after your workout).

Hate going to the dentist, but love playing that silly game on your phone — let yourself play the game only in the dentist waiting room.

Whether you’re driven by money and fame, or making the world a better place, make sure the reward you attach to your habit matches the motivation that drives you.

It’s time to admit it — you’ve invested too much time and energy in transforming your life to accept that destructive behaviors still take over.

And even though old habits die hard, there are ways in which you can outsmart your brain wired to crave those unhealthy, undesirable behaviors.

It’s simple — pick one tip.

Start with the easiest one.

Implement it and watch your life transform.

You deserve it.

Related Topics:Self Improvement

Break the habit | FPA

Author - Derrick Price.

Translation - Sergey Strukov.

One of the most frustrating situations for a fitness professional is working with clients who give it their all in the gym and then cancel progress with counterproductive behaviors in everyday life.

This paradox is consistent with Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance, a state of inconsistency and inconsistency in thoughts, beliefs and attitudes, in particular in relation to behavioral decisions and a change in attitude (Sharma 2014). For example, most people who smoke are well aware of the health effects of smoking, yet continue to smoke. And your clients knew even before they met you that to lose weight you need to eat less and move more. However, they still buy a kilo of ice cream every time they go grocery shopping and spend most of the day sitting. nine0005

More than 40% of daily actions are performed not consciously, but out of habit (Verplanken & Wood 2006). Whether it's an extra scoop of mashed potatoes on your plate, Friday night fast food, or going to bed late because of your favorite video games, the behavior is so ingrained that the brain needs to win an uphill battle to overcome cognitive dissonance.

We only see our clients three hours a week. In this short time, we significantly influence their attitudes and behavior. However, if we only focus on creating great workouts, what happens in the other 165 hours of the week when clients become accountable for actions that help achieve goals? We need to think beyond training and immerse ourselves in psychology without becoming psychologists. In this article, we look at the anatomy of a habit, examine the neurophysiology of behavior change, and develop strategies to break bad habits and create new ones using habit-based coaching, the secret to achieving results for successful fitness professionals. nine0005

Anatomy of a Habit

Habit is an automatic behavior pattern that occurs in response to a situation where a certain behavior is performed consistently and repeatedly (Lally 2010). In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains that a habit is more than a repetitive behavior; rather, it is a construction of three successive components that make up the habit cycle. The three components are signal, behavior, and reward (Duhigg 2012). nine0005

Signal is an external or internal stimulus that provokes learning to act. An example of an external stimulus is the beep you hear when you get into your car and insert the key, for example. This sound makes you put on your seatbelt (behavior). Another example is placing a foam roller next to your shoes to encourage you to self-massage before your run. The hunger pangs signal you to eat. Internal signals are associated with mood. For some people, depression or stress makes them want to drink an alcoholic drink or eat a pound of ice cream. nine0005

Behavior - routine activities that we usually consider a habit. This learned behavior occurs automatically, without a specific purpose or purpose. The behavior can be as simple as constantly tying the laces on the right shoe before tying the left one, or a sequence of actions, such as taking a shower, when several actions are performed in sequence (wet the body, shampoo, rinse, apply conditioner, rinse, lather the body, wash off, wipe off). nine0005

Reward or incentive make behavior sustainable. The "lift" that runners experience after running six miles is enough to repeat the experience. Even the smokers' knowledge of harm does not repel them from the immediate momentary endorphin explosion at the moment of inhalation. Fast food companies have been known to develop foods that hit your tongue as quickly as possible with salt and fat to influence reward centers in the brain. Reward teaches your brain that a certain behavior leads to pleasure by lowering barriers to entry to repeat the same behavior in the future (John et al, 2016). nine0005

The more habitual a behavior is, the more it becomes ingrained in the brain to the point where it will never change (Wood & Neal 2007). Understanding the neurophysiology of habits will help us understand why it is so difficult for clients to break old habits to create new ones.

Neurophysiology of habits

The mechanisms by which the brain creates habits are incredibly complex. Below is a simplified view of what happens in the brain when a habit is formed. nine0005

Suppose we are talking about a promise to ourselves for the New Year to lose 15 kg next year. You decide to join the gym and hit it every morning, eat three meals a day and not skip breakfast, and go to bed at 10 pm instead of the usual midnight. These are all great habits with great intentions. Unfortunately, by mid-February, you've been out of the gym for two weeks, skipping breakfast, overeating at dinner, and happy when you go to bed at one in the morning. This picture is all too familiar. nine0005

The essence of the problem is in the information processing systems of the brain and the tug of war between two systems that must work together: the new brain and the old brain. The new brain is connected by the outer regions of the brain (cerebral cortex) and the prefrontal cortex. The new brain, often referred to as the conscious, rational part of the brain, helps us think critically, plan next steps, and learn behavior (Miller & Cohen 2001).

The old brain is connected to the inner regions of the brain known as the limbic system and the basal ganglia. They are related to the processing of emotions. The basal ganglia are responsible for the memory of the positive or negative reaction created by the behavior, which helps us identify repetitive behavior or avoid it altogether. nine0005

The basal ganglia also help automate behavior. For example, initially learning to drive a car with a manual transmission requires a lot of effort. But as we learn a course of action, the basal ganglia retain responses, and we can shift the lever without consciously thinking about the decision, which allows us to direct brain energy to other tasks. Such automation is the brain's way of saving valuable energy (Yin & Knowlton 2006).

nine0002 In The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathon Haidt uses the analogy of the old brain with a big emotional elephant and the new brain with a rational elephant rider (Haidt 2006). Imagine a rider holding the reins of an elephant. As you probably know, the elephant can throw off the rider at any time when he does not agree with him. For example, an elephant will rush against oncoming traffic to protect a baby elephant. The rider rationally understands that such jumps can lead to death, but cannot do anything, given the differences in size between him and the elephant. nine0005

When it comes to New Year resolutions, the new brain is planning an exciting journey to create a new version of you, and the old brain is ready to go. But when it comes to action, the old brain quickly realizes how time consuming the process is, especially if the reward is minimal or non-existent. For example, after your first workout, everything hurts for three days. The basal ganglia remember behaviors with negative outcomes, even though the prefrontal cortex knows that pain is part of the journey. The elephant drops the rider, and soon you are sleeping an extra hour instead of training. Cognitive dissonance sets in, pushing you back into behavior with immediate rewards. nine0005

Breaking old habits

If you are going to help clients break old habits and create new ones, you need to understand the anatomy of the cue-behavior-reward habit and the neurophysiology of behavior change. Let's personalize this by breaking the habit of eating something sweet and fatty after dinner.

Step 1: Identify the cue-behavior-reward cycle

Signal. There are many signals. It could be a TV commercial showing dessert in the fridge, or your partner wanting to indulge in dessert. Let's say your partner made a great apple cobbler. Your rational brain says, "No, we're full, we're trying to lose weight, not gain. " Your emotional side has other thoughts, as it thinks the dessert will taste delicious, plus you don't want to offend your partner.

nine0002 Behavior. Elephant throws rider. You are eating dessert.

Reward. The Apple Cobbler is insanely beautiful, plus you enjoy the company of a loved one whose happiness is precious to you, which in turn gives you an immediate sense of satisfaction. On a chemical level, cobbler causes a surge of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with reward and pleasure (Vallone, Picetti & Borrelli 2000). The basal ganglia retain this behavior as positive. nine0005

This encourages you to eat dessert with your partner again, and as this happens more often, the behavior becomes habitual. The next thing you do is grab dessert after dinner, due to a set of signals. Signal and reward are so intertwined that they lead to cravings.

Do you still want dessert?

Step 2: Change the Behavior while Keeping the Same Signal

People often create problems for themselves when trying to break a habit. 30 day sugar abstinence. Food without bread. Training every day at five in the morning. There are three reasons why these attempts do not work in the long run: nine0005

  1. The basal ganglia always remember old habits. Even when new habits are formed, the right cue can trigger an old habit.
  2. You haven't changed the habit cycle. When you change a habit, you are going to eliminate it, you are not changing the "elephant" in the room or the signals that remind the "elephant" of the possibility of a pleasant experience. Remember, the "elephant" will always win at some point.
  3. Do not talk about doing it every day, about several times a day - this is energy-consuming. Willpower will eventually wear off and you will succumb to the same cue and reward by returning to the old habit. nine0082

To change a habit, find a way to create a similar cue and reward using a different behavior.

If the signal to eat dessert is dinner with your partner, then a small change would be to change your partner to a cat or dog. Your pet will not make you an apple cobbler. Obviously this is not an efficient solution.

The biggest difficulty with changing the signal is the required willpower (Gailliot et al. 2007). Remember, the habit becomes so automatic that your brain needs a minimum of energy to restore the behavior. Moreover, the basal ganglia always remember the least resistance. On the other side of the habit cycle, changing rewards is also burdensome. Eating dessert with your partner gives you, in addition to dopamine, the satisfaction of actually being happy with your partner. If you change the reward in this example, it should have the same value as the original reward. nine0005

Instead, focus on changing the behavior, without changing the cue or reward. In this case, scheduling an activity “for dessert” can be a meaningful substitute if the stimulus for it is strong enough. For example, you can try:

  • go on a romantic walk;
  • cuddle on the couch while watching your favorite show;
  • take a hot bath and massage your partner. nine0082

All three options create a strong bond with your partner and can lead to sex that replaces the sugar-generated dopamine response. This will give more meaning to the new behavior, which can lead to a new habit with more positive consequences for the waistline.

Creating new habits

Use the habit cycle to establish new daily habits that help you achieve the results you want. Follow a six-step approach to building new, targeted habits with your customers. nine0005

Step 1: Set Goals and Milestones

Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't take 21 days to form a habit. Time varies greatly from person to person and can take up to 66 days (Gardner, Lally & Wardle 2012). Automating habit formation is a long process that requires consistent implementation and coaching. Therefore, it is necessary to set expectations from the trip. Focus and engagement are paramount to forming and maintaining habits. nine0005

Our clients often come with ambitious goals: lose 30 pounds, become a starting quarterback, or lower their blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease. Such goals may seem impossible. Once a goal is set, it is important to “break it down” into smaller, less complex, and more realistic outcomes. For example, instead of focusing on losing 30 kg, a good first step would be to lose 2.5 kg in the first month. Setting milestones helps clients manage expectations, which increases the likelihood of habit formation. nine0005

Step 2. Identifying motivating factors

To be motivated means to have a drive to act (Ryan & Deci 2000). There is intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. A client who wants to lose 30 kg may be told by her attending physician that this is necessary or she will die. This scare tactic is an extrinsic motivator—motivation comes from an external source. This kind of motivation is a powerful way to get someone to initiate behavior change, but the long-term effectiveness is low. nine0005

Intrinsic motivation is the performance of activities to satisfy an internal need, and not because of the external environment. Losing weight can be intrinsically important to the client because she feels accomplished, gains confidence, finds a partner, and accelerates her career. Internal motives are more durable than external factors.

Motivational factors are closely related to cues and rewards, and their definition influences the habit cycle. Motivational interviewing tactics such as expressing empathy, establishing rapport, and assessing readiness for change are useful in identifying motivating factors (Bundy 2004). (See Appendix: Four Motivational Interviewing Techniques.) nine0005

Step 3: Selecting Goal-Driven Behavior

Parents try their best to teach their children to eat vegetables. Reward (“vegetables are good for you”) is of no value to most children, and attempts to force the use of vegetables based on it are often met with strong resistance. Self-management is a powerful tool for inducing and sustaining behavior change over time (Ryan et al, 2011). Parents dream that the child eats vegetables of his own choice. Similarly, personal trainers dream of clients who make healthy decisions on their own. Here's the key: In order for customers to develop a habit, they must choose a habit. nine0005

Let's go back to the example of children and vegetables. In order for the child to eat vegetables, you need to give him the right to choose. Before dinner, choose three green vegetables for him to choose from: cabbage, green beans, or broccoli. He will choose the one with the most attractive name, and since he has been given the opportunity to choose in advance, he is more likely to eat the vegetable with less resistance in the future.

When working with a client, choose two or three goal-oriented habits, explain how each of them helps to achieve the goal, and then give the client a choice. While it seems appealing to develop multiple habits at once, focusing on one simple habit at a time can lead to big changes in behavior (Gardner, Lally & Wardle 2012). For example, give a client who is losing weight three habits with their own benefits: nine0005

  1. Walking and tracking 10,000 steps a day. There is evidence that systematic, "casual" physical activity is effective for weight loss and overall health.
  2. Drink two glasses of water before every meal. Proper hydration not only helps you feel full, and there are no calories in water, it also promotes fat loss and overall wellness.
  3. Go to bed at 22.00 every evening. A good night's sleep supports the body's ability to lose weight. nine0082

The client chooses the habit they want to start with, which creates a sense of their own choice.

Step 4Create a Signal and Reward

After the client chooses a behavior, isolate a few potential signals that will trigger it. For example, if the client chose to drink two glasses of water before each meal, offer the following options:

  • Set a reminder. nine0082
  • Hold a water bottle near the computer screen.
  • Plan your fluid intake on a calendar.

Then help the client choose a reward to reinforce the behavior. The more valuable the reward (the more it internally and externally motivates him), the more likely the client will show behavior the next day. For example, if a client reaches their goal by dinner, they can afford one glass of wine. Despite the possible barriers to weight loss from alcohol, it is more important for the client to feel that she can successfully adopt the new behavior and form a healthy habit (Gardner, Lally & Wardle 2012). nine0005

Step 5 Eliminate Destroyers

The Motion Institute defines a disruptor as a factor that hinders, slows down, or even prevents desired outcomes (Institute of Motion 2017). Clients use disruptors as excuses for not doing the new behavior. If you help clients identify disruptors, you will overcome the pitfalls before they appear.

As an example, without the availability of water, the behavior of drinking two glasses before each meal is destroyed. Therefore, the client needs to start by purchasing a water bottle that can be easily filled and transported. Discuss disruptors with the client and create an action plan to address them. nine0005

Step 6 Maintenance

The final step in creating a habit is keeping the client accountable for the new behavior. According to research, a simple text message is a powerful tool for changing behavior (Cole-Lewis & Kershaw 2010). It strengthens the coach-client bond and lets the client know they are not alone on their journey. A text message can be a simple check: “Did you drink 8 glasses of water today?”, although such an approach can be attributed to authoritarian. The best option is playful: film yourself drinking a cup of water with a thumbs up gesture. It may seem silly, but the message shows in a harmless way that you care about the client's success. nine0005

Beside behavior

Many lifestyle factors influence health and fitness goals, so personal training needs to go beyond the four walls of the gym. By understanding the ways in which habits are formed at the psychosocial level, the fitness professional can learn to establish behavior change protocols. Combine this approach with training delivery and design, and habit-based coaching becomes an indispensable art form in the Inspire the World to Fitness® movement. nine0005

Annex 1. Managing expectations

Don't expect your clients to succeed every day in learning new habits. If a client doesn't follow a daily habit for three days, offer a new one. Make a joint list of goal-oriented habits that are easy to do, and let the client choose the one they feel most confident with. Starting over early is better for self-confidence than waiting too long, and helps both coach and client find a clearer path. nine0005

Appendix 2. Four methods of motivational interviewing

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), motivational interviewing is a “communication strategy” in which a coach interacts with a client to explore ambivalence about a given behavior change (ACE, 2015). Use the following four methods in addition to the habit cycle to help the client achieve their goals:

  • ask open questions
  • use wording that confirms the strengths of the client,
  • use active listening, a process by which you (the coach) make educated guesses about what the client has shared,
  • Summarize the information shared by the client.
  • Source: http://www.ideafit.com/ nine0005

    How to break bad habits in 21 days (or less) >>> AppMaxx

    learning how to break bad habits can be challenging as habits are often described with negative connotations: “I have so many bad habits”. "I picked up this bad habit where I always do X." “I noticed you have a habit of always doing me.” You rarely hear someone say, “I have a very good habit that makes me do x”. “I love this habit, you always do Yu.” Because the habits we know are often negative, we tend to try to break them simply by stopping them in one go, which is tough and not always the best solution. All the habits that have a positive impact on our lives tend to go unnoticed, which is not surprising, since they often do not give us a problem. The trick on how to break bad habits is to find an approach that works for you and special habits. Not all habits are the same, and they cannot be broken in the same way. nine0005


    What is a habit?

    A habit is a set of repetitive tendencies that are often difficult to break and are usually performed subconsciously. It is important to understand what a habit is before you start to try to break or change one. Luckily, it's a simple one that helps when you have to recognize when you're about to go into a habit loop. ((Charles Duhigg: The Power of Habit: How Habits Work)) First, there's the trigger. It could be a location, a particular time of day, the behavior patterns of those around you, or just an emotional state. The trigger starts out normal, routine, you may not even know that you are following. Finally, you receive a reward or result. Reward isn't always the best word to use, of course, with bad habits, but it's what keeps you coming back to the habit over and over again. Before you learn how to break a bad habit using the methods in this article, you should start by noting your triggers, routines, and rewards for each habit. Once you know these three steps for each habit, you begin to build defenses to fight bad habits as you learn where you are in the habit cycle. nine0005

    How to break a bad habit quickly

    When you are ready to learn how to break a bad habit, the following tips can help.

    1. Replace the habit with a new one

    Part of the habit is the procedure that follows the push, so to lessen the impact of stopping the habitual behavior, you can replace it with another habit that has a more positive and healthier impact on your life. Smoking is one of the most common habits people are looking to stop and is a great example of this approach. There are many things you could change when you feel like smoking. Some examples are as follows:

    1. Chew gum
    2. Eat some fruit
    3. Drink
    4. Go for a walk
    5. Play with something in hand

    It depends on your situation, but to replace any habit, the key is to distract yourself long enough that the temptation to perform the negative habit passes.

    2. Celebrate small successes

    Breaking habits can take a while. This may depend on how many times a day or week you repeat the habit you want to break or how it has become ingrained in your lifestyle. Is it possible to get rid of a habit in 21 days or 21 weeks, you need to celebrate every day where you have not repeated the habit. If you can manage only two days before cracking, then celebrate those two days. Don't expect to break all habits right away. This takes time. If you only managed two days on your first try, celebrate the next time you make it for a week and so on. Before you know it, you will look back and laugh at the fact you could only manage two days to start! nine0005

    3. Change Your Personality

    Habits are often difficult to break because they are usually based on a change in how we act in everyday life or are associated with a change in lifestyle. They are both great, but it's more difficult if our personality is fighting against these changes. To make real significant changes in our lives, we need to start thinking about how we need to change our personality. For example, if you're trying to lose weight, but you yourself think of yourself as someone who is always struggling with your weight ("that's just who I am"), then you will continue to fight to lose weight. Try to change your thinking “I am able to make positive changes” and see what happens. One of the most common examples is a smoker once saying "I'm a smoker trying to quit" or "I love being a smoker but I need to quit". It will be better if you decide who you want to be in life, this is the first step in changing your personality. If you tell yourself you don't like being a smoker, it's unlikely you'll be successful in the changes you want to make. "I don't smoke" or "I'm healthy" are things that you can say to yourself daily in your head, imperceptibly to yourself and others. You can slowly start to change how you identify with yourself. You will get it back with small victories, a streak for a few days without cigarettes, or going to the gym a few times or eating better. Changing your personality takes time, but it can be done. nine0005

    4. Using digital tools to your advantage

    Digital or general cell phone use is one of the most famous habits that many of us try to cut. She usually scrolls through social media without noticing how long we've been doing it, constantly getting distracted by notifications, or just picking up our cell phone to check it out as a distraction from work or life in general. However, digital tools can be used to help us break the habit, either through reminders to keep us on track or rewards when we change or create a new positive habit. Tracking a newly formed habit in the form of a strip is a great way to keep you focused and motivated. There are many streak apps out there that allow you to create a streak, set reminders, and earn mini visual rewards when you hit certain milestones. Rather than cutting out social media completely, change the reward of a particular habit for a specific period of time to look at your social networks. With social media, on your terms and not the other way around, it can be a positive addition to your life. nine0005

    5. Use Visual Cues

    One of the oldest and most effective ways to break the habit of eating is through visual cues, acting as a reminder or reward. Placing visual reminders, clues, and trackers around your home gives you a cheap, easy, and effective way to keep your habits in front of your mind. This may be due to use on the refrigerator, where you are crossing out every day, since you did not produce a negative habit, such as a calendar. Something as simple as post-it notes on your nightstand reminding you of your goal for the day can be a powerful mental signal to help you break a bad habit. Visual cues are great as they become a habit in themselves. Taking a calendar on the fridge, for example, is a trigger to see the calendar every morning. The routine ends with another day on the calendar, and then the reward is to see the calendar filled with ticks. Simple but addictive! nine0005

    6. Find a habit-crushing partner

    Breaking habits is hard, but finding support from a friend or partner can be incredibly helpful in allowing you to focus on repeating your new habit or stopping you from repeating an old one. Look for when your triggers usually happen, and find a partner who is most likely to be with you when those triggers happen. Open and honest discussion with them about what habit you are trying to crush and explain how they can help. Help from a partner can come in the following forms:

    1. Just asking how you do with stopping your habit - it's a habit in the forefront so you don't relapse.
    2. By helping you remove triggers from the environment you are so temptations are reduced.
    3. Exchange a new reward with you if you change your habit instead of removing it.
    4. Find the habit you want to stop and do it together.
    7. Stack Your Habits

    Habits stacking is a quick win when it comes to creating new positive habits. We have thousands of little habits that we do every day without even realizing it. These can be activities involved in brushing your teeth, the steps of forming a cup of coffee, when you first get up, putting on the radio, when you go to the kitchen, etc. As we already have thousands of habits that we do every day, we can add new habits on top of them. For example, if your goal is to learn 10 minutes of French every day, you do it after you've made your coffee every morning. If your goal is to practice visualization every day, you spend 3 minutes doing this when your anxiety goes away every morning. It's very simple: link old habits to new ones. nine0005

    8. Visualize New Habits

    Visualization can help with habit breaking. However, the main thing is not the visualization of the result, but the visualization of the process or procedure must be created in order to achieve it. A study at the University of California found exactly this by comparing students who visualized the process needed to achieve their goal versus visualizing the actual achievement of the goal. They found that the students who did the former mastered the techniques and improved grades. ((UCLA: From Action to Thought: The Implications of the Process and Result of Mental Modeling on Performance)) Visualization practitioners also help reduce anxiety by breaking habits. In some cases, the habit you're trying to break can cause you stress just thinking about it. Visualizing a positive routine helps with this, even if you only do it for 2-3 minutes a day. nine0005

    9. Mindfulness Practice

    Mindfulness about being present in the moment and being aware of your thoughts and therefore can be a useful tool when learning how to break a bad habit. By practicing mindfulness and becoming more aware of your triggers, you will increase your chance of success in overcoming this habit. By recognizing the trigger before you move into a habit routine, you will be able to break the habit much faster. Mindfulness does not mean that you fight or block those thoughts. It just allows you to interact with them more effectively. nine0005

    Bottom Line

    Everyone is different, so try different approaches when it comes to breaking habits. If it doesn't work, then see why, adapt, and try again, and don't forget to celebrate what you did well. Remember that the basic principles of habit change can include the following five steps:

    1. Identify the habits you want to break or change.
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