The Secret Sauce of Habit Building (The one thing no one told you!)
H(f) = (C + Ro + Re)rep
Wait! Don’t freak out! … I was nearly scared away too when I first found out personal development was all about math.
“ugh… Ella… personal development is not math. It’s totally subjective – that’s why it’s called personal development!”
Well, you are on the right track, but you’re missing a vital connection. Personal development is personal to you which makes it subjective to other people. But personal development is still optimized using mathematical formulas like the one at the beginning of this post.
Easy, Habitual, or Both?
I discovered the power of habit for the first at some point during high school.
See, when I was 14, I had a hemorrhagic stroke which set-back my personal development. But more specifically, my injury set me back when it came to the development of my athletics and academics.
Long story short, sometime after my stroke I physically rehabilitated and started playing soccer again. And when I did, I realized there were certain skills and tactics I could still do because I had created habits out of those skills before I had my stroke. Those habits remained after my stroke because the area of my brain where those habits were stored (the basal ganglia) remained intact and undamaged.
The second time I recognized the profound effects of habit was in university when a started working in the service industry for the second time. Because I previously worked in the service industry throughout high school, I had created good habits of talking to customers and moving as quickly as I could between tasks and while cashing-out customers at the register. And now that I am even older and working in the service industry again, those particular habits have become even stronger.
At first, it seemed like certain movements on the soccer field and at the cash register were easier for me to do. But that was not the case – the real reason those movements seemed easier was because they were habitual. That is when I had my a-ha moment: I could simplify my personal development if I turned specific personal development tasks into habits!
Habit(f) = (Cue + Routine + Reward)repetition
Let’s figure out the math behind habit.
Habit is a standard formula (the one you see above). And although cues, routines, and rewards will be different for everyone, the basic formula stays the same. So figuring out how to create a habit out of your diet, job, or hobby is pretty much like doing math that only makes sense in your world (a concept that totally would’ve helped me ace my Grade 11 Methematical Functions course).
Now the important part: since habit is a simple mathematical formula, it is much more beneficial to figure out how your current habits can be broken and how new habits can be learned, rather than teaching people exactly which habits they should adopt.
Different habits work for different people. That said, habits for diets, workout regimens, self-care regimens, study regimens, etc, will differ from person to person. My goal is to help you implement the habits that work for you, into your life.
See, when you have poor eating habits, a bad or non-existent workout regime, or a bad or non-existent self-care regimen, that is usually because you have underlying and unaddressed bad habits.
When you create bad habits, you subconsciously commit to things that are not beneficial to you in the long term (for example, overeating, not working out, and poor self talk). So my job is to help you experiment with the habit formula to break those bad commitments and then, again use the habit formula to re-commit to things that are beneficial to your mental and physical health.
Have you ever said something like “I want to work out and I want to eat healthily, but I just can’t seem to do that”? Usually, when a fitness coach or a diet coach hears that, they try develop your self-discipline or willpower; coaches figure the more you know about working out, the more likely it is for you to actually work out. But that is not the case! In order to for you to do the workout, you have to figure out how you can implement the workout into your daily life. And that’s where I come in!
So for example, instead of telling you what I think you should eat for a particular diet, I will help you figure exactly why you are eating poorly and how exactly you can make the switch over to eating something healthier. OR instead of telling you what workouts you should be doing, I will help you figure out exactly why you haven’t been working out and how you can start working out again.
So whatever your problems might be, if you want to tackle the root of them, you have to start reflecting on your habits.
If you want to start learning about habits today, why not sign-up for my 5-day #YearofYou Course? It teaches you the ins and outs of habits in your life! And if you want to work with me one-on-one whether it be for 1 free consultation, a handful or sessions, or even unlimited 24/7 coaching over a three or 6 month time period, I am more than happy to commit to improving you.
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As always, I hope you have a great day and don’t forget to make this the #YearofYou!
Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional health advice.