So you are all set up, you’ve chosen a new healthy habit and you are determined to stick to it. You’ve even made sure not to overwhelm yourself. You’ve kept it simple and small. The first few days go well and then you start forgetting to do your new behaviour.
What’s going on? Why can’t you remember? Is your memory not working? Is it self sabotage?
Probably neither. You just haven’t set up your habit correctly.
What’s missing is a trigger or prompt
Let me explain.
- You are thirsty (=prompt) -> You drink (=behaviour)
- You are cold (=prompt) -> You put on an extra layer (=behaviour)
- You are feeling bored (=prompt) -> You reach for the biscuits (=behaviour)
- You walk past your favourite coffee shop (=prompt) -> You grab a coffee and croissant (=behaviour)
So what does this mean for your new healthy habit?
Meet Emily *, who wanted to finally get on top of her mindless snacking. She felt that not drinking enough water was part of the problem. She simply kept forgetting to drink. She even bought herself a fancy new water bottle. That worked for a few days but then she forgot to fill it up and take it to work.
Emily joined Healthy Habits Made Easy and learned how to create habits that stick. She found out about prompts and decided to try something new. Emily attached her new behaviour (to fill up her water bottle) to a prompt. She told herself
‘After I walk into the kitchen first thing in the morning (=prompt), I will fill my water bottle and then put it into my bag.’
She added a second habit with a prompt to make sure she would drink the water:
‘‘After I sit down at my desk (=prompt) I will take out my water bottle and place it beside my computer.’
And guess what, just having the bottle on her desk made her drink more water. She even filled up the bottle again during the day.
By creating a prompt and not simply relying on remembering, her new behaviour became an almost instant habit. She was filling her water bottle, placing it on her desk and drinking it on autopilot. No effort involved. And how cool’s that?
If you want to find out more about how to create habits that stick check out Healthy Habits Made Easy, my sell-out group coaching programme.
Happy habit building,