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Showing posts from March, 2020

How to change your eating habits and lose weight

The top New Years Resolution year after year is to lose weight. The first tactic people usually try when losing weight is to start exercising. Going for a 30 minute run will burn about 400 calories. That’s about the same amount of calories as a single donut. You can’t outrun your plate! Exercise has a whole host of benefits but contributing to weight loss for most people is not one. If you want to lose weight you are going to have to change your eating habits. Habit 1. Drink more water. People often confuse thirst with hunger. If you think you are hungry get in to the habit of drinking a glass of water and waiting 20 minutes. If you are still hungry then, go for it. As an added bonus, having a glass of zero calorie water in your stomach will help you feel full sooner. Habit 2. Get enough sleep. People often make up for having low energy because they are tired by eating. Make sure you go to bed at a time that gives you eight hours of sleep. Sticking to a consistent bedtime seven days

Why people fail to make a new habit and what you can do about it

Making new habits is easy, right? All you need is a reminder, a routine and a reward. Simple, huh? Research shows it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. Studies on New Years Resolutions have found that 22% of people break their resolution within the first week, 40% after just one month, 50% after three months and at the four month mark 60% of people have broken their resolution, or failed to create their new habit. Why do people fail to make new habits? In my experience there are several reasons fail to make a new habit. They declare a wish instead of picking a habit. “I am going to start exercising.” “I am going to eat better.” “I am going to save money.” These are all wishes (and good goals) but they are not habits. A habit includes a specific action. “I will do the Jane Fonda workout.” “I will eat salad.” “I will move money to my savings account.” These are all actions. They make the initial habit too big. “I am going to run five miles a day.” “I am going to eat home

What is One Minute Yoga

What is yoga? Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in India about 2500 years ago. Recent research suggests that yoga can help with flexibility, back pain and even lower stress. Whilst most yoga classes last an hour, it is possible to sneak in a little yoga in 1 minute increments. The One Minute Yoga Routine Mountain pose. (10 seconds.) Stand with your big toes touching and heels slightly apart. Your arms are down along side the torso, palms facing forward. Lengthen the tailbone down. Lift the chest toward the ceiling, as you soften the front ribs back. Draw the shoulder heads back and down. Balance the head directly over the pelvis and the pelvis directly over the ankles. Chair pose. (30 seconds.) Stand with your feet together, weight evenly distributed between each leg. Exhale as you bend your knees, sending your buttocks behind you as you sit on an imaginary chair. Raise your arms overhead, with your palms facing each othe

What is the Noom diet and should I try it

What is the Noom diet? The Noom Diet is an app based weight loss program. It uses habits and psychology to help behaviors so people lose weight and keep it off. Coaching is included as part of your monthly fee. Noom has been described as Weight Watchers for Millennial’s. Given that Weight Watchers is one of the most highly regarded weight loss programs out there, I’d say that’s a good thing. As the author of a blog about health and habits, the Noom diet seemed like a great thing to try out. How does Noom work? The whole Noom program happens on your phone. You download the app, enter your personal details and start your free trial. (Noom subscriptions start at $45 a month so I highly recommend doing a trial to see if it is right for you.) Noom sends you daily lessons through the app to help you learn about habits and the Noom approach to weight loss. From a nutritional perspective, Noom focus’s on “calorific density.” When you join Noom you are added to a group and assigned a coach.

How to replace a habit

An alternative to goal based habits  Usually on Goalbits I talk about goal based habits, That is, starting with your goal and then finding and developing a habit to help you achieve the goal. For example if you want to lose weight start a food log habit or if you want to be happier start expressing gratitude. There is an alternative however, if you are already aware of an existing habit, it is possible to simply replace it. Your goal, if you wish, is just to replace one habit with another. How to replace a habit Identify the habit you want to replace.   For example snacking while watching TV in the evening. Every habit is preceded by a reminder (or a trigger.) In order to be able to replace the old habit you have to identity what prompts you to start doing the habit. What time do you normally do this habit? Where are you usually when you do this habit? What are you normally doing right before this habit? Who else is typically with you when you do this habit? How are you usually fee

Brisk walk

Pop quiz If you want to start exercising as a way to lose weight do you think you should: (a) Take an aerobics class. (b) Go for a run. (c) Go for a brisk walk. If you said (c) give yourself a pat on the back. Researchers looking at the annual English Surveys over a 12 year span concluded that a brisk 30-minute walk five days a week is more effective than any other form of exercise for keeping weight down. Supporting this, a study from the University of Warwick found that people who walk more and sit less have lower BMIs (an indicator of obesity.) The National Walkers’ Health Study also found that walkers had lower fasting blood sugar (glucose) and a 12 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Benefits of walking In addition to weight loss, walking has been shown to: Lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The National Walkers’ Health study found that regular walking was linked to a 7 percent reduced risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Improve memory and cognitive funct

The difference between a good idea and a good habit

Good ideas I was recently researching “good habits for weight loss” for a new blog post. Some of the answers I found included: Get some exercise. Get a good nights sleep. Monitor your portions. Drink more water. Eat more vegetables. These are all good ideas. The problem is, as they are prescribed, they aren’t habits. If you truly want to implement one of these ideas in to your daily routine you have to make it a habit. Otherwise you will follow the advice for a few days and then stop doing it. What is a habit. Every habit has 3 parts. The reminder, the routine and a reward. You need a reminder so you start your habit every day. You need the routine so you know exactly what to do. You need the reward so you will continue doing the habit on a regular basis. Take the idea “get some exercise.” When are you going to exercise? What exercise are you going to do? How long are you going to exercise for? Why are you exercising. When Thens. The simplest way to convert an idea in to a habi

How a bullet journal can help you with your habits and your happiness

Introduction to Bullet Journals A Bullet Journal (“BuJo” for short) is a versatile tool that can be used as a todo list, a diary, a planner and much more. The idea of a Bullet Journal was created by a New York Designer named Ryder Carroll. It was created as a simple way to “help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” It is a flexible tool that can be adapted to each person. A Bullet Journal differs from a traditional diary. It is a quick and dirty way to capture information and is not intended for consumption by anyone other than the author. It should only take a couple of minutes a day to complete. Instead of writing long paragraphs you use symbols to designate the content type and then just write a sentence or two. You can learn more about about Bullet Journals at the official website . Bullet Journals are typically “analog” (written in a good old fashioned paper book.) However you can use whatever tool works best for you. You can use index cards, a W

25 ways to boost your mood

Here are 25 proven ways to boost your mood. Drink a glass of water as soon as you get up in the morning to start rehydrating your body. Eat meals at the same time everyday to maintain consistent blood sugar levels. Have protein for breakfast to give yourself good fuel to start the day. Reduce your caffeine intake to control your hydration. Choose water over sugary drinks to maintain your blood sugar level. Eat whole grains instead of white bread/pasta to limit your sugar intake. Include fruit and veg with every meal to help keep you healthy. Avoid eating an hour before bed to help your sleep. Do bodyweight exercises like planks daily to strengthen your core. Go for a walk every day to get some vitamin D. Do jumping jacks daily to maintain your cardiovascular fitness. Do stretches before bed to help you sleep better. Practice daily gratitude to keep you happier. Compliment others to fill your bucket. Keep a Bullet Journal to get those thoughts out of your head. Avoid watching the news

Habits that are proven to make you happier

A question Guess how much of amount of your happiness that is caused by what you do. (a) 0% (b) 25% (c) 50% If you answered 50% give yourself a gold star. In case you are wondering, 40% of the rest of your happiness comes from simply deciding to be happy. Imagine what would happen if some of those habits also happened to be actions that contributed to your happiness! You could be automatically happy every day!!  Why be happy? If you aren’t sure if it’s worth the effort to be happy, let me give you a WIIFM (What’s In It For Me.) Well first off, researchers from Warwick University in England found that happier workers were 12% more productive than average and unhappier workers were 10% less productive than average. Researchers from the University College London found that happier people have greater protection against heart disease and stroke. A study in Milwaukee that the happiest people lived nine years longer than the least happy ones. So by being happy, not only will you enjoy

What is a one sentence habit

An experiment Researchers conducted an interesting experiment a few years ago. They asked two groups of students to write an assignment over their Christmas break about what they did on Christmas Eve. The students were asked to turn in the assignment the day after Christmas. One group of students had to specify where and when they planned on writing the assignment. The other group didn’t specify when and where they planned to write their assignment. What they found was 71% of the students who specified when and where they would work on their assignment turned it on on time. In contrast, only 32% of the students who did not specify when they would work on the assignment turned it in on time. In other words, the students who said in advance when they would work on the assignment were twice as successful. Implementation Intentions What the students were doing was declaring “implementation intentions.” An implementation intention is the idea of deciding in advance when and where you w

8 reasons you should make yoga a habit

What is yoga  Yoga is a several thousand year old physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. Yoga routines consist of poses combined with breathing exercises. Over 20 million people in America now practice yoga on a regular basis. 8 proven benefits of yoga Research in to regular yoga practice indicates: Yoga can improve cardiovascular health. Several studies have shown a link between practicing yoga and reduced blood pressure. Yoga can help with lower back and neck pain. Research from Israel suggests that yoga stretching exercises can help reduce lower back and neck pain. Yoga can help brain function. A recent study found that yoga can improve memory function and may reduce depression. Yoga can help with diabetes. A study of 30 people with type 2 diabetes found that practicing yoga significantly reduced their blood sugar levels. Yoga can help with stress and anxiety. Practicing yoga has been shown to reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, boost mo

How a 10 minute walk can improve your health

Question  If you want to start exercising as a way to lose weight do you think you should: (a) Take an aerobics class. (b) Go for a run. (c) Go for a brisk walk. If you said (c) give yourself a pat on the back. Researchers looking at the annual English Surveys over a 12 year span concluded that a brisk 30-minute walk five days a week is more effective than any other form of exercise for keeping weight down. Supporting this, a study from the University of Warwick found that people who walk more and sit less have lower BMIs (an indicator of obesity.) The National Walkers’ Health Study also found that walkers had lower fasting blood sugar (glucose) and a 12 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Additional benefits of walking In addition to weight loss, walking has been shown to: Lower blood pressure and cholesterol.  The National Walkers’ Health study found that regular walking was linked to a 7 percent reduced risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Improve memory and cogn

Can email make you happier

Can email make you happier? The average person sends and receives 130 emails a day according to a 2014 survey. Many of those will be along the lines of “Can you do this” or “why haven’t you done this” or “your credit card payment is due.” Not exactly messages that will put a smile on your face. Using email to boost happiness. You can actually use email to boost happiness by sending 3 specific emails a day. These messages are designed to help you focus on the positive and build stronger relationships. ‘Complimentary’ email First, when you get in to work in the morning, send a quick email to someone complimenting them on something specific. This does a few things – firstly, it gets you into the mindset of looking for good in the world. Focusing on good has been shown to increase happiness. Secondly, it will help strengthen your relationship with the person. Strong personal relationships have also been linked to happiness. Last, but not least, you will have done a small good deed by

No Years Resolutions

New Years Resolutions At the start of every year half of American adults create “New Years Resolutions.” They make grand decisions to change for the better. Things like getting healthier or making more money. Research has shown that 80% of those people have give up on their resolution in the first month. I don’t believe that the changes we want to make are bad, infact quite the opposite – they are usually very good changes we are trying to make. Its that we are resolving to make a huge change to our lives for a whole year. That sounds awfully overwhelming to me! No Years Resolutions I propose that you make no years resolutions this year! Instead make 12 monthly habits (or goalbits as I call them). Think about where you are right now in your life. Are you healthy? Or do you need to exercise more often? Did you get a promotion at work this year? Are you stuck in the same boring job as last year? Do you have perfect teeth? Do you need to get dentures next year? Whatever it is, you ar

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! As I write this it is a week before January 1st. Nearly half of us will make a “New Years Resolutions” this year. Sadly, less than 10% of people will actually keep them though. “I want to lose weight.” “I want to start exercising.” “I want to eat more healthily.” Those are all great ideas. In fact more half of all New Years resolutions are health related. How are you going to lose weight though? What exercise are you going to start doing? How are you going to change your diet? Those resolutions are vague, they aren’t actionable. You might do something towards them on a whim but I guarantee it will last less than a week. If you are going to make a lasting change you have to make it a habit. Research shows that at least 40% of what we do every day is a habit. At least 40% of what we do is on auto-pilot. If you want to make lasting change your chances of success are much higher if you can do it without thinking. Every habit has 3 parts – the reminder, the routine

How to turn your new years resolution in to a habit

Happy New Year! New Years Eve is the most common time of the year for people to decide they want to make changes in their lives. It’s a brand new year and a fresh start. Indeed a recent survey found more than 50% of all adults make new years resolution. Sadly, several studies have found that less than 10% of people stick to their resolution for more than two months. There are two main reasons people give up. First, they don’t make their resolution SMART. Second, they don’t make their resolution a habit. Let me give you one common example – “I want to lose weight.” How much weight do you want to lose? When do you want to lose the weight by? Is that realistic? How are you going to lose the weight? What habits are you going to change? How are you going to ensure you are successful? SMART goals SMART goals are a tool used in business that can help us create new years resolutions. A SMART goal is: Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Time-bound. For a goal to have a good

Nail a habit using the One Page Habit Tool

I might go for a walk today  Picture this. You wake up on a Saturday morning, open the curtains, see its going to be a lovely sunny day today. You say to yourself “I might go for a walk today.” Fast forward to the end of the day. Guess what you didn’t do today! There are several reasons you may not have gone for a walk. You “forgot.” You simply got caught up in the day and forgot about going for a walk until you closed the curtains at the end of the day. You didn’t seize the opportunity when it arose. You had some free time after lunch when you have gone for a walk but you folded laundry instead. You had doubts when the opportunity arose. You looked out the window and their was a cloud and decided to stay inside instead. Implementation intentions A Psychologist named Peter Gollwitzer came up with the idea of “implementation intentions” to help people take action. The basic idea is you declare in advance what you will do when sometime happens. “WHEN… THEN…” For example, WHEN I finis

The importance of morning routines

How CEOs start the day Mary Barra of GM arrives at the office by 6 a.m. Marc Benioff of Salesforce starts his day with an hour of exercise on the elliptical, paired with answering emails. Satya Nadella of Microsoft begins the day with a 90-second meditative exercise. Sundar Pichai of Google starts his mornings reading the newspaper and eating an omelet. These are very typical. Yahoo Finance polled 20 CEOs and found 80% wake up before 5.30am, 70% exercise in the morning and almost all of them made a point. Why morning routines are important Morning routines are important because they set the tone for the rest of the day. If you wake up late and skip breakfast by mid morning you will be hungry, tired and unproductive. First thing in the morning is also when you have most control over what you do. As the day goes on people will ask you to do things for them – but when you get out of bed that hasn’t happened yet. If you start the day in control you are more likely to feel in control fo

The 20 second workout

I don’t have time to workout How many times have you told yourself “I don’t have time to workout.” Well, I have good news – if you have 20 seconds, you time time to workout! (Terms and conditions apply.) This workout is called the “30 day plank challenge.” What is a plank The plank is considered to be one of the most efficient body weight exercises for strengthening the core. It also strengthens legs, back and hand muscles. Other benefits include better balance and endurance. Its one simple exercise with many benefits. How to do a plank To do a basic plank lie on the floor belly down. Place your feet so your toes touch the floor. Lift yourself up putting your weight on your toes and your forearms\elbows. Keep your body straight like a rigid plank. Hold the position. Livestrong has more information on how to do a plank. The 30 day plank challenge This is where the “terms and conditions” apply… The 20 seconds of working out is only for the first 2 days! (All to the fair at t

What is the ripple effect in habit formation

Behaviors are connected If you talk to someone who has successfully created the habit of exercising regularly, I would bet my next cookie that they will say something to the effect of “and then I just started eating more healthily.” I have heard this myself time and time again. This is because of the “ripple effect.” The ripple effect states that when you change one behavior it creates a ripple that will change other behaviors too. Researchers at Northwestern University found that when people reduced their non-active leisure time they also reduced their fat intake. The participants weren’t told to eat less fat, but their eating habits improved as a natural side effect because they spent less time watching television and snacking mindlessly. One behavior change led to another, one habit created a ripple that caused another habit. The ripple effect The ripple effect happens because of the idea of “commitment and consistency:” This idea comes from Robert Cialdinis brilliant book Infl

Why you should only work on one habit at a time

I want to change everything We often often fall in to bad habits over time without really realizing it. Then one day you get a wake up call. Maybe you stepped on the scales and realized you have gained 20 pounds. Maybe you went to lift up your child and discovered your muscles had wasted away. Maybe you had to go to the ER for chest pains. Once you have this realization the natural desire is to want to fix everything straight away. Implementation intentions An implementation intention is a tool introduced by Peter Gollwitzer in the late 90’s. The idea is that you write an “when… then…” plan to help develop a habit. For example writing down “when I finish work I will go to the gym.” There have been many studies in to implementation intentions and they have found two things. Firstly people who write down their “when… then…” implementation intention are 2 to 3 times more likely to stick to the habit that those that don’t. This is huge in an of itself. The research has also shown that

The power of how

I need your help Quick! I need your help! I need to make 100,000 cookies by the end of the day. What would you say? “No, it can’t be done!” “I can’t fit the ingredients in my car.” “We don’t have enough room to make the cookie dough.” “I don’t have time to help today.” “We can only make 100 cookies an hour in our oven.” “No” creates obstacles. Immediately your mind decided that it’s not possible and then quickly came up with several reasons to justify this. Here’s the thing. Your mind will answer any question you ask it. “I don’t have time to complete project by the deadline because…” “We can’t possibly do that because…” “I don’t have time to go to the gym because…” “I can’t lose weight because…” “I can’t meet new people because…” If you immediately say “no, it can’t be done” (either consciously or subconsciously) then you will find reasons to support that. Saying “no” prompts your mind to create obstacles – and obstacles make it harder to do things. Here’s the thing – there is