Forming Habits Using Associations
(Video version can be found on my Facebook Page – Peggy Smith Wellness, January 10, 2019)
Tonight we are going to talk about using association to help you form new habits. Associations can help you remember to do things enough days in a row that they start to become more natural and eventually just are a part of what you do!
I didn’t set any year long resolutions for 2019 and instead started with two manageable new habits I want to create. If those are feeling pretty second nature to me by the end of January, I’ll add in a couple more. The positive energy I’ll feel at having created a couple fairly easy new habits will encourage me to add things that might be a little more challenging, and an and on will go the year.
The first two habits I choose are to drink a full glass of water as soon as I wake up, and to take three good deep breaths before each meal. And yes, these are both motivated by gut health! The water was pretty straightforward, I just added another glass on the nightstand and when I sit up and turn my legs over to the floor I grab that glass and drink it down! But I have been having a harder time in the midst of the hustle of the day, to stop and take those breaths before eating. This is a really significant new habit I want to get down pat to help with digestion and to put me in a more reflective, thankful frame of mind for the food in front of me and all that went into it being available to me.
I decided I needed to incorporate an item or event of some sort to help me associate the deep breaths with eating. So I choose the fork. When I pick up my fork it is my signal to stop and take those breaths, slow myself down and focus on eating and try not to multi-task! I’m not getting it right every meal – but the fork trip is helping tremendously.
Tonight I’m going to give you several other examples of associations you can make throughout your day to bring in some healthy habits. Don’t try all of them at once – or even any of these exactly – but if you’re finding it hard to remember to do the new things that you want to add to your life, consider the idea of using association to help you during the transition time of making your new habits a regular part of who you are!
At a green light – think of one thing you are grateful for
At a red light – reflect on someone in your life who could you a kind text
While you are brushing your teeth – hold a wall squat
In the shower – carefully stretch forward towards your toes
When you get on social media – set a timer for just a few minutes
When you make a trip to the bathroom at work – drink several ounces of water when you get back
When someone else is talking – practice the habit of active listening
When you look in a mirror – say at least one self affirming thing to yourself
I truly believe we all the power to make significant positive change happen really quickly in our lives but tapping into that power will require us to be intentional. It will require us to tune out some of our distractions and slow our pace down enough to hear our own thoughts. Use associations like these to practice intentionality and gain confidence in your ability to add in to your life what you focus on!
Until next time friends
XO – Peggy