Why frequency of repeating new habit daily is so important?
"Warning exercise has been known to cause health and happiness"
How to change your habit loop?
A bad habit can not be stopped it can only be replaced by a different habit. In order to replace a bad habit with a good habit I recommend consciously repeating it for at least 30 days. From my personal experience 30 days is the minimum amount of time needed to change a habit.
So how do you do it? First you need to find what I call the “negative stretch” in your day. This is the time of your day where you do something which is not very beneficial to you and you want to change. For example, I used to watch TV for 3-4 hours a day from 6-11 pm. I would come home from work and 'reward' myself for a hard day at work with relaxing for the evening. This was my "negative stretch".
Once I recognised this danger time for me I began to plan to change the routine. I wanted to take an hour out of this time to use for my daily exercise routine. I started to change my routine slowly. I began with doing 5 mins of simple stretching exercises. It is important to keep the initial change simple and achievable because you do not want to risk failing and reverting to the old habit. This 5 minute change was simple to achieve and I felt satisfied at the end and my brain released dopamine increasing that feeling of well-being. This was the beginning of the creation of my new habit.
I increased this to 15 minutes and by the end of the first week I was doing 5 mins warm-up, 5 mins main workout and 5 mins cool-down. I repeated this for a whole 30 days in order to reinforce the habit. The dopamine release continued to give a real sense of satisfaction and after the 30 days I had a new habit and I began to feel bad if I did not complete the exercise!
From this simple 15 minutes change I began to feel a knock-on effect. I felt fitter and happier from the exercise and the increased oxygen flowing to my brain meant I did not feel like slouching in front of the TV after and I was less inclined now to sit around for the evening doing nothing. I am now more likely to do some jobs around the house, I spend more time making health food from scratch or even if i watch TV I tend to watch documentaries and Ted talks rather that American Idol!
In order to change your habits you need to want to do it. Only you can make the decision. Once you decide to change remember to find the cue, plan the change and then repeat for 30 days to reinforce the new habit. As Nike says Just Do IT!
Every workout counts