Many of the choices we make every day are not decisions but rather a habit. Whether we know it or not, our brain creates a cycle of cue, routine, and reward — different cues are embedded into our daily routines and trigger a response without us having to even think about the choice.
“First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.” (source)
As fitness pro’s, this idea of cue, routine, and reward is probably old news to you. You think about this even if you aren’t familiar with the terms as you motivate clients to take action and stick with their exercise plans. However, have you ever thought about how this process might also help as you’re developing your business?
We’ve got five tips to help you build habits in any area of your life.
5 Facts About Lasting Habit Loops
There’s a reason why so many people fail at keeping their New Year’s resolution. Creating lasting habits is tough work. But understanding how habits are formed can take the mystique away from building healthy, lasting habits.
#1 – Cravings Drive Habits
Find a craving you are currently satisfying (or looking to satisfy), then create a routine to deliver the reward. That sounds too easy but it’s really not more complicated than that.
Think about what you want to achieve more than anything in your business. Now think of something related to your business that you don’t enjoy doing it but is necessary to satisfy your long-term achievement. Maybe it’s reviewing the budget or marketing or social media.
If you are looking to grow your business, so you can train anyone, anywhere in the world and increase your revenue. Consider the task you dislike as an integral part of reaching your reward.
Also, it may help to cue the desired behavior by triggering it after a good habit you already have locked down. And don’t forget to actually reward yourself after completing the task.
“For example, the smell of Coppertone sunscreen reminds me of bright blue, sunshine-filled skies and is energizing. On cold, gray mornings, if I feel the urge to stay under the covers instead of going outside for a jog, I’ll force myself out of bed and immediately spray on some Coppertone. I’ll also cue up a song like “Summertime, Summertime” that makes me feel like it’s August—even in the dead of winter—and puts me in a headspace capable of facing a freezing-cold workout. If there is specific music or smells that inspire you, condition these cues to become triggers that get you psyched up for a workout.”
#2 – Shifting Habits
Shifting your habits can sound daunting, but any habit can be changed if the cue and the reward align. Think about a bad habit you want to change (we all have them).
Now, this part requires some self-inspection. What typically cues your bad habit? For instance, do you eat that bowl of ice cream late at night whenever you watch a movie? You may need to spend several weeks tracking the bad habit to figure it out.
Now think about how you can shift that cue to the new habit, and what type of reward will you give yourself for completing the new habit? Again anytime you are shifting habits it helps to also track. Tracking is crucial to installing new habits.
If your goals were exercise-related, we’ve got the platform to take your habit shifting to the next level. If it’s a habit to help your business or a personal habit, create your own habit tracker. Research has consistently shown that those who food journal lose more weight, but we believe this is true for any habit you’re looking to form.
#3 – Keystone Habits
Ever get overwhelmed with the many bad habits you have and decided to change them all at once? People who are successful with this method are rare. Chances are piling on too many habit shifts at one time will only cause failure. It’s hard to make a habit stick when change is happening too fast and in too many areas.
Small wins will allow you to build momentum. Start with something small. Build that habit. Now, something more challenging. As you keep piling up wins, your confidence will grow providing success for the bigger habits you want to shift. Think about it like a snowball moving downhill that picks up speed and grows as it moves.
#4 – Willpower
Nothing is achieved without willpower. Willpower is a muscle, and it needs to be worked out before the resource goes out. John Ohman Exercise.com CFO/COO is fond of saying,
“The people who succeed in life are the people who are willing to do what they don’t feel like doing. They are not mastered by their moods.”
- “Don’t keep yourself in a constant state of willpower depletion”
- “Use your imagination”
- “Think about something else”
- “Build good habits; you’ll need them when you’re stressed”
- “One step at a time”
- “Be yourself”
- “Don’t put yourself in temptation’s way, or if you do, have a plan” (source)
#5 – Emergency Overhaul
Winston Churchill in the aftermath of World War II said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” A crisis shouldn’t always be immediately resolved. When you find yourself in crisis, you may also find yourself more willing to change. During a crisis, you may be more willing to examine all parts of your life and, finally, call out that bad habit or catapult yourself into a habit shift.
Let the crisis make you feel uncomfortable and ask yourself Why am I uncomfortable? What caused the crisis? and What can I do to prevent a similar crisis in the future? The key is to be honest when answering these questions and evaluating the situation. It may also be helpful to bring someone in who you trust to help you take stock during the crisis.
What habit do you want to change? Let us help you gameplan creating strong, lasting habits for your fitness business. Don’t wait. Schedule a call with our team today!