Lorn Healthy Options weekly health tip – August 5

Rob Graham, lead exercise professional at Healthy Options.

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Be aware of what triggers your habits

Habits can be thought off as purely effective and not so much good or bad.  They simply serve a purpose via a mental shortcut and deliver an outcome or reward.  Obviously some of these outcomes will take us closer to the identity we wish to achieve and some will take us further away.

Most habits exist because of a cue or trigger which leads to a craving which causes a response which delivers a reward or outcome.  For example if we are walking along the high street in the morning on the way to work and smell bacon we may crave a bacon butty.  The response is to pop into the café and buy a bacon sandwich and the reward is satisfying our craving for some extra breakfast.

However if done enough times the trigger or cue for future trips to the café could well become a  walk along the high street on the way to work.  If this becomes an unconscious habit it becomes difficult to remove from our daily routine.  So by making the triggers of bad habits invisible, we can begin to move  away from  destructive unconscious thoughts. In this case perhaps we could take a different route to work and remove ourselves from the high street?

Alternatively, when we want to code a new habit into our brain it can really help to make the trigger as obvious as possible.  This could be placing your workout kit on the bed before going to sleep for those early morning workouts or having your running shoes ready where you take off your work shoes if you intend to train straight after work.

But first of all list all your daily habits and acknowledge those that bring you closer to where you want to be and those that take you further way. Some will be neutral, but this process is a great staring point and requires a lot of honesty. Next week we will move on to how we make the craving for our bad habits less appealing and how to make our good habits more attractive.

For the full message go to the free resource section on the lornhealthyoptions.co.uk website.

Rob Graham, Lead Exercise Professional, Healthy Options.