Changing Habits For Your Kids

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Do you play with your children, or is it too hard? I know what that’s like — wanting to run the playground, jump rope, play basketball, or swim with them…but I was deconditioned and fat. I sat and watched them instead.

Don’t miss these years. Change your life and you change theirs. You’ll make memories and give them a role model for their own fitness. This was all the motivation I needed. But then I needed a plan. Changing habits takes time.

But how do you best go about breaking old habits and creating new ones that will bring about the changes you are seeking? Tiny Habits is a simple way to envision change:

Option A. Have an epiphany
Option B. Change your environment
Option C. Take baby steps

Let’s break it down.

  1. You can’t replace something with nothing – If you want to stop doing something don’t replace that something with nothing. The brain has pathways deeply associated with your behaviors. If you are used to doing something in a particular situation and you simply stop, you are not providing the brain with new pathways.
  2. Minimize activation energy – Activation energy is the amount of energy it takes to start a task. For example, if you want to go for a walk at the end of the day rather than watch TV, you need to make the activation energy for watching TV greater and the activation energy for going for a walk less.
  3. Too much all at once is exhausting – Change one thing at a time. Self-control is exhaustible, and the brain does not do well at multitasking.
  4. Practice is essential – Brain cells that fire together wire together. If you want to make change permanent, you have to constantly expose yourself to the change.
  5. You need clear direction – The conscious, rational mind is great at setting goals, but it is also great at side tracking you with too much detail. If you want change you need to give yourself very clear direction and map out all the steps required.
  6. Motivation does not last – Willpower is exhaustible. You can’t win a battle of wills against your physiology. This is why managing your energy is important.
  7. Design your environment – Every change you make should be as easy or easier than the one it replaces.
  8. Don’t be a copy cat – What works for your friend or family member may or may not work for you. Resist the temptation to copy others.
  9. Practice in your head – Remember the fact that the brain cells that fire together wire together, and the faster they wire together the more likely you are to solidify change. Imagine yourself doing the behavior you want to make a habit. Play it in your head over and over again.
  10. Build your support team – Social support is important when it comes to change.

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