REWIRING YOUR BRAIN TO BREAK BAD HABITS
If your resolutions to get those goals in 2020 aren’t going so hot, don’t fret: All hope isn’t lost! Our brains are hardwired to resist change, but there are a few tried-and-true strategies you can utilize to finally change those habits that no longer serve you.
Practice Gratitude Before Turning In
Write down three things that made you smile that day. Researchers in the Netherlands report that the joy created by simple pleasures boosts willpower.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Couldn’t resist an office cupcake? Don’t worry about it! Studies show that a slip actually improves your chances of success by spurring you to recommit to your goal. On the flip side, frequent self blame is a key predictor of who will give up altogether.
Say Habit Changes Out Loud
When you want to make a change, state your goal aloud. Instead of ‘I want to go to bed earlier,’ say ‘I will be in bed by 10 p.m.’ The specificity creates momentum.
British research also shows that when adults explicitly state their intention to exercise at a specific time, 91 percent met their goal. In contrast, only 35 percent of those who read a pamphlet extolling the health benefits of exercise met their goal.
Stack Old Habits With New Ones
The brain naturally eliminates connections between brain cells that aren’t used frequently and builds up those that are. We can take advantage of this system by piggybacking new habits onto existing ones. By bundling two activities, you’re reinforcing, creating and sustaining new habits.
For example, you might try doing 10 squats while your coffee is brewing or balancing on one leg while you’re brushing your teeth. Before you know it, your new habits will have become second nature.