The Second R of Habit Formation

Consciously create a healthy habit*

The secret to habit formation is simple–Practice! Practice! Practice! That’s easy to say, but hard to accomplish.

Most of us are loaded down with projects, e-mails and meetings. This demanding life makes it difficult to find time to build a conscious habit. Even if you have identified a powerful Reason to change your behavior, sometimes life gets in the way. That’s why the second R of conscious habit formation, Reminders, is essential to getting enough practice.

We want and need reminders, but soon habituate and disregard them. Think of learning to ignore someone who nags. Nevertheless, without the call to action that an effective reminder provides, our good intentions fade. Well-designed reminders make it more likely that we can take charge and build the life we hope to lead by creating life-affirming habits.

Sit Tech to the Rescue

In General:

  • Start by reviewing your reason for wanting to change and make an emotional link if possible. Photographs of family or a screensaver of an activity you want to continue enjoying for many years can be one way to provide that connection. If you already have photos in your work area, consider relocating them so that you notice them again.
  • Whatever reminder you decide to use, consider changing it from time to time. If, for instance,  you do set an alarm, change the ringtone weekly.

A few more ideas:

  • Link your new behavior to an event that happens regularly. For instance plan to check your posture after you walk into the office for the first time each day. Or plan to practice Power Sitting after you first sit down at your computer. As long as the event happens at least once a day, it will help you get started. Notice that the new behavior should always come after the event. This transforms the event into a trigger for your new healthy actions.
    • As your new behavior becomes more automatic, you can feel free to link it to events that happen several times a day. Instead of Power Sitting only after you sit at the computer for the first time, practice after each time you sit anywhere in the office.
  • Find a partner to change behavior with you.
    • Social support can make change more agreeable and effective. For example, if you decide to establish the habit of standing up when you talk on the phone, plan to call each other occasionally, and stand up while you chat briefly.
    • Use texts and social media to encourage each other.
    • Partnering works particularly well for maintaining motivation and increasing movement. How about a walk at lunch?
  • Change your visual environment. Take down or put up a picture. Move a plant to a different location. Drape a colored scarf over a chair or your computer. After each time you notice the new visual cue, practice your behavior.
    • Remember, you will need to change the visual prompts frequently, perhaps even weekly.
    • This also means that those sticky note reminders need to move to a new location or become a different color as you adapt to their presence.
If you employ other strategies that keep you focused on the habit you desire, please share!

If you have questions or comments about Sit Tech techniques and offerings for business, please get in touch with us at: CONTACT

See you next month  with another tip for using posture, mindfulness, movement and conscious habit formation to improve your health and your life.
Until then Sit Strong!

 

* Always listen to your body.  – If it hurts, don’t do it!  – Consult with a health professional about performing any activities mentioned in these tips. Sit Tech does not offer medical advice and is not responsible for use of its tips.

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