Why We Do What We Do: Habits…Why are They so Hard to Change?

  1. About 40% of what you do every day is pretty much the same things, in the same situations, as you did yesterday… and the day before that… and the day before that.
  2. We establish patterns of behavior that allow us to reach our goals and then we do it again…wash rinse and repeat.
  3. In a recent study participants were given the tough task of tasting popcorn (hard work!), and as expected, preferred fresh popcorn over stale popcorn. However, when given the popcorn in a movie theater they ate just as much of the stale popcorn as they did the fresh.
  4. So if you want to change a bad habit?
    • Change Environmental Cues for Existing Habits: someone who moves or changes jobs has the perfect opportunity to remove old cues, or if eating healthier is the goal – rearrange your fridge so the junk food is somewhere else,
    • Allow for Time to Make the Change, Repetition is Key: it can take up to 254 days to form a new habit; and
    • Link Good Habits Together: if you want to floss more, make brushing your teeth always the cue for flossing after.
Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-08/sfpa-hwf080714.php

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