exercise mat, pilates props, bands

Bad Habits and How To Change Them

Do you have a habit you want to change?

Let’s say for example every evening you grab a bag of chips to eat while watching your favourite television show. This habit has caused you to gain a little bit of weight. Actually, it has caused you to gain 10 lbs and you are feeling pretty lousy about this. You know you shouldn’t be eating these chips but you just can’t kick the habit. 

To figure out why this habit is hard to change, it is important to figure out how habits work. 

According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, all habits function the same way. Whether you are trying to exercise more, stop smoking, get offline or eat better. They all start with a CUE which makes the behaviour occur automatically. A cue can be a location, time of day, other people, or how we are feeling at the time. For the above example, since it happened each day before bed the cue was the time of day. This consistently triggers a certain routine. 

ROUTINE is the next phase of a habit. Let’s revisit eating the chips every evening while watching your favourite television show. This was the routine; get some chips, sit on the couch and turn on the TV and watch the show. 

The last phase of a habit is the REWARD. This is the ‘why’ and probably the most important part of how habits occur—so we can get the “reward” we want. This can be a bit tricky to uncover as we have to figure out what is driving the habit. Let’s say instead of grabbing chips the next evening before you went to sit on the couch to watch your favourite TV show, you went for a walk or did your online Pilates class (I just had to use this example, ha!). The next night you walked to your kitchen to grab the chips but instead called a friend to catch up and have a good laugh. 

What it is important to realize here is what reward you are looking for. In this case, you were actually looking for a way to relax and unwind, take your mind off of your busy day or your to-do list for the next day. 

Going forward instead of going to the kitchen to grab a bag of chips, what would be better is doing some low-impact exercise, reading a book, or listening to a favourite podcast. Find a way that you like to unwind. Now once this new behaviour is in place—you have a new routine and the old bad habit is replaced with a more positive one. 

What are the habits you want to change in your life?


Christine Kirkland is a certified Pilates instructor offering online Pilates classes proven to help you move better and feel better. Let’s get moving, shall we?  To learn more please click here

No Comments

Post A Comment