My Terrible Habits
If you’ve ever had a BAD habit, or wanted to create a NEW “good one” …..then this is for you!
Since the world has been in lock-down for what feels like forever, it seems we’ve SPOTTED habits easier than ever before….. both good and bad.
- 1. Staying up too LATE
- 2. Wasting valuable time on FACEBOOK and TIK TOK
- 3. When we eat, when we snack
- 4. Breakfast (do you or don’t you)
- 5. Finding time to Exercise
- 6. Making Beds
- 7. Wearing PJ’s all day
- 8. Shower in the morning or shower at night or at all
- 9. When to do housework since NO ONE LEAVES
- 10. and… the dreaded BED TIME… is there even one now?!
ALL of these “things” are HABIT builders!
Even though I study the brain every single day, my family is no exception… Our TIME, or the complete change of it since CO-VID, has led to many BAD habits!
WE didn’t set a homework time, we ate lots of terrible food, we stayed up too late… and we watched COUNTLESS Carole Baskins videos on TikTok (Don’t lie, you did too!)
Why is it, we continue to do these things “WHEN WE KNOW BETTER!“
2018 research by Dr. Ann Graybiel, revealed some shocking evidence about how our HABITS work. She calls this new finding “bookending“.
Her research uncovered when we have a repeated habit our neurons are ONLY firing a signal at the BEGINNING of the sequence and then NOT AGAIN until the END. ALL of the steps in the middle are just riding on autopilot. Our brain does this to save energy….. because it knows how “this ends” and it’s keeping you from having to think about ALL THE STEPS in between.
For example: Consider your morning when you went to go brush your teeth, you probably did the whole thing as a Habit Loop. If you don’t believe me….. TAKE A LOOK! You most likely did not consciously tell yourself to:
- 1. Get toothbrush out of drawer
- 2. Get toothpaste out of drawer
- 3. Unscrew cap on the toothpaste
- 4. Squeeze the toothpaste tube onto the toothbrush
- 5. Raise arm to mouth
- 6. Brush teeth from side to side and top to bottom
- 7. Spit when your mouth becomes full of bubbles
- 8. Rinse out your mouth
- 9. Rinse off toothbrush
- 10. Put items back in the drawer
So… HOW DO YOU change 1 small habit: In our house (after reading this research) we decided each of us are going to START implementing some new habits: like better bedtimes, dinner AT THE TABLE 3 nights a week and BIG ONE for me – putting on REAL clothes EVERY DAY! REMEMBER, your brain works best if you focus on ONLY 1 NEW HABIT at a time!
One of the best ways to do this change is to get a calendar and put it where you can SEE IT. Each day you “do” your new habit, put an X on the calendar. Seeing evidence of new actions will activate your brain, releasing DOPAMINE, and it will want to do the new behavior again! This will only work however, if you place the calendar or paper where you can EASILY SEE IT, as James Clear says in his book Atomic Habits.
“You must make it obvious, and make it easy, and make yourself a promise to never miss 2 days in a row.“
May we all move forward from this virus, building better lives….. 1 small habit at a time.