We all have routines that we follow every day.
Think of the things you do on the regular.
The moment you wake up, you go straight to the espresso machine.
You meet up with Harry from accounting and you both head down to the coffee shop on the corner for a croissant and coffee.
On the way home, you stop at your local supermarket to pick up dinner for the night.
You sit in the exact same spot at 8 pm to watch Netflix.
Your day is built around little habits/routines that you don’t even think about.
These habits can either support your goals for losing weight or hinder your results.
Recognising Bad Habits
When I was in high school, I used to wake up every morning, walk straight to the pantry, open up a packet of mac n cheese and cook it for breakfast.
At 7:45 am I’d meet up with my friend and we’d ride our pushbikes to school.
There was a local 7/11 that we would stop at to buy a frozen coke.
We would then go next door to subway and I would order a footlong meatball sub with Italian herbs and cheese bread, old English cheese, sweet chilli sauce and mayo and two cookies.
So basically I would have two breakfasts every morning.
Lunch was a box of hot chips with gravy and a bottle of coke.
My afternoon snack was two packets of Mi-Goreng noodles and then dinner would be whatever my parents cooked.
Then there’d always be dessert which was either ice-cream, a frozen apple pie or some type of chocolate.
Because of those bad habits, I’m you can see why I was a little chubby kid when I was younger.
I was creating bad habits that were becoming so ingrained that I wasn’t even thinking about what I was doing.
It wasn’t until I started to become aware of my weight that I had these bad habits in place.
I had to make a conscious effort to change these bad habits and replace them with good ones so that I could lose weight.
Bad habits aren’t built in a day
We all have bad habits that we do on a daily basis and it’s not just in regards to gaining weight.
Some people have a bad habit of biting their nails daily.
Others smoke cigarettes every time they’re stressed.
Habits don’t happen in an instant.
They’re a slow accumulation over time.
You do something day after day and what was once an occasional occurrence is now a daily habit.
Once you build in those habits (good or bad) they’re very hard to break.
A great quote from Charlie Munger is “the chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they’re too strong to be broken”.
Don’t be discouraged though, because this can also be used to your advantage.
Just like building up a bad habit you can develop a good habit that will help you with your weight loss.
Replacing Bad Habits.
In order to build a good habit or replace a bad one, you have to be aware of what’s going on first.
You need to think about where your bad habits are taking place.
Is it first thing in the morning when you open the fridge?
Is it hanging out with a certain group of friends or a certain pub that causes you to drink too much?
When you become aware of a bad habit, you can replace it with a good habit.
If you want to replace a bad habit you have to think about a good habit that you can replace it with and that new habit also has to give you a sense of pleasure.
Make It Rewarding
The reason your new habit has to give you a sense of pleasure is that your brain will release dopamine.
You’re already getting a dopamine hit from the bad habit which is why you’re doing it.
That’s why the good habit needs to also make you feel good.
Let’s take breakfast for example.
I went from eating Mac N Cheese and subway to eating protein oats every morning.
The reason I was able to swap my bad habit for a good one was that the taste of protein oats was still delicious.
Mac N Cheese was giving me a pleasure hit of taste and I was still getting the same taste pleasure from protein oats.
That made it easier for me to swap my bad habit for a good one.
If you’re trying to give up drinking, you might have to give up your Saturday night out.
Swap it for watching Netflix, playing board games with mates or playing a computer game.
Something that will occupy you and also give you that dopamine hit to reinforce your new behaviour.
Think about bad habits you’re doing on a daily basis and ask yourself what can you do to replace them with good habits?
If you need help with this, you can always send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org