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Four Steps to Building Healthy Habits

Charles Duhigg’s best–selling book, The Power of Habit, refers to the three steps of the “Habit Loop” as cue, routine, and reward. To build a new healthy habit, or replace a bad one with a healthier one, use each of these four steps that incorporate the habit loop with tips and tricks below.

Step 1: Decide what your new habit is going to be.

Step 2: Identify your reminders.

The reminder is the trigger for the habit you are trying to form. Set a reminder (or many) for your new healthier habit. A good reminder makes it easy to start by encoding your new behavior in something that you already do. Take inventory of all the activities you already do every day such as brushing your teeth, checking your email, cooking dinner, etc. and try to tie your new habit to one of those. Another trick to creating good reminders is setting up a visible cue that helps link your new habit with a current behavior. This will remove the onus from you to remember on your own.

Step 3: Identify ways to make your new habit easier and build a routine.

It is important to remember that lasting change is a product of daily habits, not once–in–a–lifetime transformations. To make a successful habit shift, it is important to start small so the change is manageable.

Step 4: Reward yourself

Everyone likes a pat on the back every once in a while, especially when we are accomplishing positive change. When we give ourselves indulgences, we feel energized, cared for, and contented, which boosts our self-command helping us maintain our healthy habits. Rewards can be intrinsic or extrinsic depending on your goal and what keeps you motivated. So, give yourself some credit and enjoy each success.

As you master these steps to healthier habits, you can also use them to replace bad habits you have with new healthier habits.

We would love to hear about your success with creating new healthy habits or with breaking bad ones on our Facebook page.