‘The Power of Habit’ is a fascinating read, no matter what area of your life you’re trying to improve. It didn’t take long for us to apply Charles Duhigg’s theories to our running habit and to be honest, there’s been a definite reduction in that ‘I want to stay in bed’ feeling. Here’s how it works and what we learned.
Spend a few minutes outlining what you want your habit to be. Duhigg offers a framework that supports building new habits, but it needs to be thought through before implementation. Identify a cue that will signal to your brain that the routine is about to begin (in our case, the running habit). Carry out the run, and then immediately reward yourself for completing it.
The brain learns through repetition, and will begin to crave the reward if a habit is repeated often enough. That’s why we start to feel a bit anxious if we haven’t been for a run for a few days – your brain is missing the reward feeling. Build your running habit into your brain by doing it at the same time every day. Lay out your clothes in the same place, and when you get home, give yourself the same reward.
Be strategic with the reward
You can form hundreds of good habits over time, so don’t start giving yourself a square of chocolate every time you get something done! The reward is often linked to the sense of completion of the task. You could jump in the shower after your run, or make a really tasty recovery smoothie when you get through the door. The key is to literally say to yourself, ‘I did a good thing by building my running habit, and I will reward myself with a nice hot shower’. Acknowledge the success repeatedly and your brain will learn to look forward to it.
As the routine is built into your brain, you’ll find your resistance to those early morning runs will start to wane. If you are consistent, your mind will start to crave the reward feeling more than it will want to stay in bed – trust us! Try it and let us know how it works for you.
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