So I am sure some of you might know for January I gave up drinking. Not that I did it a ton, but I feel like over the holidays it was becoming more frequent than I liked. I’d finish up work and weather it was happy hour, hanging with friends, or just feeling like a drink sounded good, I would have a glass or two of wine. And I slowly overtime realized I was having at least one glass or not more a night.
I knew that not only was this routine getting in the way of being productive with projects I wanted to get going on, but it was also impeding fat loss and performance goals I have for this year.
The evening drink sort of became a routine, a ritual, part of a habit. I realized I never used to be so habitual about a drink. In fact there were times in my life where I just didn’t drink or I would just have a glass or two on a special occasion.
So here we are into February and I am still keeping this no drinking thing going.
I recently joined the GW Alumni book club and the current book is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I received the book on Friday, started it on Saturday and have had to force myself to put it down so I don’t get to ahead for our discussions. I was in bed by 9 pm on Saturday night with a candle lit and a book in hand. Who am I?
The book is fascinating! Duhigg dissects the habit feedback loop in conjunction with the neurobiology supporting it.
The habit loop looks like this:
This process has been studied in science for years from rats to monkeys to humans. And within these students, brain functions have been monitored to show the physiological responses to this loop. In the beginning of habit formation, our brain has to work hard to figure out what is going on, but after a while it really only works hard during the cue and reward phase. It sees, hears, notices a trigger (cue) – does the routine- and expects the reward. You maybe able to see how this process applies to both good and bad habits.
I couldn’t help but start analyzing every aspect of my life with this habit loop: my workout routine, my relationships, my workday, and my eating. I even started thinking about my glass or two of win a night- it became a habit, it was the routine. I needed to change the routine.
So if there is a behavior you want to change, figure out what your cue is, what the routine is, and what the reward is. And then focus on changing the routine. But it isn’t so easy as replacing the wine with the gym and then going for it.
The most critical aspect to successfully replacing a new habit with an old one is the BELIEF that you can.
In times of stress, if we do not believe in our new routine, we can resort back to our previous routine. Take a minute to think about times when you might resort back to an old habit, belief that you can change the routine and stick to it is key.
And for a little social proof…
I went out to dinner with my good friend Celeste on Friday. In the past, we would order our Kettle one martinis extra dirty. This Friday, we ordered our Flat Whites Grande as we strolled into an oyster bar with our Starbucks coffee in hand.
Believe in the new routine, believe in yourself.
Until Next Week, Be amazing!