This 6 page mini-booklet is available for purchase at www.etsy.com/shop/radcatpress along with several other quick mental-health guides.
Habits allow us to learn an action so well that we don't have to think about how to do it, freeing up our consciousness for other tasks. This is often beneficial to our survival and happiness, but not always. The following is meant to help you understand how to transform unhealthy or destructive habits and form healthy and uplifting ones.
This guide is derived from chapter 5 of The Happiest Choice: Essential Tools for Everyone's Brain Feelings. You can learn more about my book and the science of happiness at www.sageliskey.com
Please note that while the information contained herein is researched and has worked for me, I am not a medical professional and none of this is meant to be medical advice. As such I do not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented and disclaim liability for errors and omissions.
What Is A Habit?
According to Charles Duhigg, habits can be broken down into three parts:
Habit Cue - The sights, smells, flavors, sounds, feelings, and memories that initiate the desire to act out a habit. These you can be aware of.
Habit Action - The habit itself. The brain automates these unconsciously so your thoughts are free to perform other tasks.
Habit Reward - The chemical reward your brain gives you for completing a habit.
Example - The smell of cookies (cue) leads you to buy and eat a cookie (action) which gives your brain a dopamine high (reward).
1) Repeat the behavior often and regularly.
2) Form one new habit at a time and do so slowly repeating the habit a few times a week rather than daily to start out.
3) Make rewards for accomplishing your habit visible, such as an exercise journal of improvements or a special treat.
4) Make a game out of the activity, either competing against yourself or other people.
5) Work on forming the habit with another person, such as an exercise buddy, therapist, pet, or support group.
6) If you are not motivated to doing a healthy activity, think of it in a more interesting way such as “to love my whole body,” “I do this for artistic inspiration,” or, “today I need to see my tree friends.”
7) Make good habits more visible. For instance, put supplements next to your bed, healthy foods on the kitchen counter, or a book you should read in your bag.
8) Force yourself to do it. It may be uncomfortable, but really, you're never going to want to do something you don't feel motivated to do, or have yet to create a habit for. As Amy Cuddy says, “fake it till you make it.”
1) Recognize the habit cues and rewards for a given habit.
2) If a habit cue such as stress or seeing junk food causes you to perform an unhealthy habit, train yourself to perform a healthy habit when you receive those habit cues instead.
3) Remove unhealthy habit cues such as toxic friends and living environments.
4) Break habit cues by changing your environment. The easiest way to change a habit is by doing so on vacation.
5) Put the habit just a little further out of reach so you think twice before initiating it. Block websites and hide addicting food.
1) Eat meals at scheduled times.
2) Give away unhealthy food gifted to you as a present to someone else or the compost.
3) Say a mantra 50 times such as “I love myself so I do not eat ____.”
4) Drink water, especially if you feel hungry after you recently ate.
5) Eat slowly and savor the flavor.
6) Only buy whole foods which have not been heavily processed.
7) Consider the amount of money saved not buying processed foods.
8) Grow your own food.
9) Refrigerate leftovers rather than overeating.
10) Take on a label such as sugar free or vegetarian.
Hi! My name is Sage Liskey, the founder of the Rad Cat Press. I grew up seeing a lot of the disturbing, toxic, and unhealthy sides of American culture, and decided I wanted to do something to change it. Since 2010 I have been writing books and zines (booklets) focused around uplifting lives and reimagining society, with a primary focus in mental health and empowerment. I believe a better world is possible, so I hope you feel inspired and a little more fulfilled from what you find here. Read on about my mission.
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