Sunday, 5 May 2013

Creatures of habit

As I've recently blogged, I've just finished reading a book on habits. How they work, how people use them in life and business and how to change them.

This morning as I got up for spin class, put on my gym kit, boiled the kettle for my coffee and put my one Weetabix in the bowl, I laughed to myself. Habits.

Chatting to my friend this morning she commented "we are all creatures of habit" and how true those words are.

Duhigg in his book talks about recognising those habits and breaking them down, into what cues the habit, what action you take the reward at the end. You repeat this and it becomes a recognised habit and viewing it in this way you can start to change/develop habits into the way you want them.

I've realised this is so true in my healthy eating and fitness. In particular on weekends I've developed a strong habit on a Saturday which helps me stick to my plan.

Cue - Saturday morning and I know there is a spin class on at the gym, my alarm goes off at 920 every Saturday, I get up, get dressed, pack my gym bag, fill my water bottle, drink a coffee and eat 1 Weetabix for breakfast. This all in my head now means I am going to spin class.

Process/action - I go to spin class, the same teacher is there, the class starts the same time and I pick a bike and warm up. I take part in the spin class.

Reward - I feel the buzz from the endorphins of exercise and it helps burn calories.

In turn, other habits I've developed are:

Cue - I've been spinning/for a run/workout at the gym

Action/process - I've exercised and so feel I want to eat healthily and not waste the hard work I've just done. I eat healthily

Reward - I feel full from the food but positive I've picked a healthy option

Long term this is why I think this time round my healthy eating and exercise has worked.

I've got into a habit whereby I exercise and eat healthily since I wasn't happy with my health and body shape. So I exercise and eat healthily, my reward is a new body shape and compliments from people on how I look now. Which in turn spurs me on to continue.

I guess a lot of this is common sense, but in turn I suppose I'm trying to advise that if you set a process up and stick to it so that it in fact becomes a habit, then it really is true you can change key aspects in your life.

Clearly it's important you recognise bad habits and try to get out of them. In addition, some habits (such as bad ones) seem easier to develop than others.

Things in life can become habits, such as relationships, and then you are so used to that person being in your life you can't think of doing things without them.

I'm just hoping I can develop a habit now to keep me writing more regular blogs!

Pic: Wonder if I can ever get the habit of water not wine? I've managed it today at least (well because it's weigh-in day tomorrow!)


  1. I totally agree Mel! My habits are with medicine though - I'm terrible at remembering to take all the vitamins etc I'm meant to, but insulin and dinner tablets I can almost take in my sleep as I've had them for so long. The exercise habit I'm just trying to start.....

  2. Thanks for your comment Anita! It's funny isn't it how you develop these habits without realising, but then certain things are really hard to stick to!