Building New Habits

Increase your ability to eat healthy foods by shopping when you are motivated. Keep unhealthy foods in the bids (removing failure triggers) and healthy foods in plain sight (adding success triggers)

Creating new habits or replacing old habits with healthier alternatives is important to living a more resilient lifestyle.  Here are some initial tips for creating a new habit.  We’ll have more tips and tricks throughout the week.

1. Once you’ve determined your goal, create a list of small things you can easily do in 30 seconds or less that will support your goal.  Example: 5 push-ups, a drink of water, texting a friend, etc.

2. Create success triggers.  Every time you are presented with a trigger, perform one of your small actions.  Example: Every time a commercial comes on, stand up (you don’t have to do anything else, just stand up for 30 seconds). Avoid or replace failure triggers that lead to bad habits.

3. Track your actions daily and celebrate the small successes you make with a positive reward.  Teaching your brain that you can succeed through small goals and that what you makes a difference is crucial to forming a habit.

4. Determine some more difficult tasks that you can do when you are highly motivated that will make it easier to do the same task in the future.

5. Be patient!  If even the smallest tasks are hard to do, make them smaller. Break every difficult task or action into tiny components.  Making progress, no matter how small is still an accomplishment!


This might sound a little goofy, but it’s a great example of using the small task/ability/trigger concept to create a healthy habit.

I wanted to get up from my desk and walk around at least once and hour.  I tried setting alarms, but would be too wrapped up in my work to get up from my desk.

I decided to use the trigger of needing to use the restroom.  Instead of walking to the restroom that was nearest to my desk, I would walk up the stairs and down the hallway to use the farther away restroom.  It only took an extra minute at the most.

Then, I added on to the trigger of coming back to my desk.  Every time I got up, I would refill my water bottle before getting back to work.  Having a full water bottle was then in turn, a trigger to drink more water throughout the day — and eventually get up more often from my desk.

Drinking more water and getting up from my desk for a quick walk has truly made a difference in how I feel throughout the day at work, and I am able to do it without much though now.

Try something similar yourself, you’ll be amazed at how easily healthy habits can fit into your life!

Paul uses dry erase markers on his bathroom mirror to list his main goal, a personal value (authenticity), and list of small tasks he can do a little or a lot of each day.