The How-Tos of Habits
Discover smart, simple ways to make good behaviors stick!
When it comes to making healthy changes, multitasking is not necessarily the fastest route to success. Eating healthy and exercising may sound simple in theory, but you know there’s a lot involved to make those things happen on a regular basis! Trying to tackle a bunch of different behaviors at once can backfire because you may end up feeling overwhelmed and disappointed if you can't stick with everything. That’s why Weight Watchers breaks down healthy behaviors into super-simple habits you focus on one at a time until they become second nature. For example, this month's Routine: Know what you’re having for lunch, is designed to be a simple task. The less complicated a new habit is, the more likely you are to stick to it. And when you’ve conquered one, you’ll feel motivated and empowered to tackle the next challenge.
Learning a new habit? Try this healthy “sandwich”
At your meeting this week, your Leader will explain that habits (both good and bad) are made up of three parts: the actual behavior sandwiched between a trigger and a reward. Most of these habits are so second-nature we barely even think about them, but breaking them down into their component parts will help you figure out how to change them.
The trigger is the situation that prompts a behavior response, and the reward is what happens afterward to reinforce the behavior so you’ll do it again. Identifying each of these three components will help you understand why you might be sticking to unhealthy habits — and help you come up with healthy new ones. If you want to exercise instead of watching TV, identify the circumstances when you normally plop down on the sofa with the remote. Are you stressed out after a long day at work? Stash a jump rope right next to the remote to remind you to get moving, and save the TV for after your little workout. Remembering that feeling of accomplishment is what will help you make the same smart choice again, until working out becomes a habit.
Make the commitment
What healthy new behavior do you want to adopt? Pick one to try this week. Just one — and it should be something small. Like, really small, and specific. State it positively (something you want to do, not something you want to avoid) and break it down into clear steps you can easily follow. Starting with a pretty hassle-free change means it’s more likely to become a regular part of your day, and you’ll soon be making other small, manageable and sustainable healthy changes as a result. Each change is one brick in the foundation of your successful weight loss. It will take time (and many bricks!) to reach your goal, but you can only get there one brick at a time.
More ways to make healthy habits stick: