How many times have we heard the phrase humans are creatures of habit? This is because habits are hard to form. Especially "good" habits.
Sure, going without gluten, dairy and refined sugar for a Whole30 seemed like a good idea at the outset, but half way into day 1, you most definitely wind up cursing yourself for the undertaking.
So, why do creatures like us have a really hard time creating habits that stick? Or kicking bad habits for that matter?
Because habit formation is so personal - it happens in the brain.
This is where rituals come in - and where we've found that the habit loop is hackable.
A ritual is defined as a ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. But to put it more simply, as it applies to the point I'm making: a ritual is a celebrated moment that feels special to you. A moment you choose to make special.
There's actually some really interesting psychology behind building better habits by ritualizing things. Celebrated, intentional activities feel more special to us, and thus, register as more important than random ones.
MIT researchers have found that the habit loop closes itself when the brain registers a reward for your behavior. It then feels compelled to return to that habit. And when you build special, ritualized moments into your day, your brain interprets that action itself as a reward.
There is a big psychological difference between positioning an action as a chore versus a special thing do for yourself.
"Ugh, I hate washing my face before bed." versus "Yay! I get to do something for myself that my skin will absolutely love me for. And on top of that, it's an opportunity for me to take it slow, to breathe and to smile at myself in the mirror."
The way you position decisions and actions in your life have a major impact on your happiness and enjoyment. Putting a positive spin on things and changing your language around them - even stuff you don't particularly love doing - can dramatically impact how you feel about doing them.
I do this every time I empty the dishwasher, and I swear, what was once the bane of my existence has become this very special time that I get to practice 4-7-8 breathing. The outcome of how I feel overrides my desire to detest or avoid the activity.
This positioning - this "make it special" intention - is where things get fun and interesting for creatures like us who just want to form better habits and make better choices regularly.
So how do we do it? We start small. We make it easy on ourselves. And we create more space to make the moment at hand a special one.
When we started SEND, we wanted to improve people's lives by making healthy on-the-go easier for everyone. With whole, real, organic food. Greens you can't even taste. Stress fighting adaptogens and immune boosting mushrooms. No artificial sugars or flavors. And zero chemicals, preservatives or shelf-stable crap found in most other bars.
We wanted to make it easy for people to always have healthy, delicious food on hand. To go out and live their wonderful lives without a hungry or a guilty moment.
And our subscriptions are designed to make it even easier to build healthier habits by way of glorious rituals.
We created SEND subscriptions to:
- save you money
- ensure that you always have the freshest food on hand
- help you build healthier habits
Building habits are hard. Rituals are a great way to hack that healthy habit building, so whenever you can, make it special!
Here are some awesome references if you feel like nerding out over habit forming:
- Luciani, J. Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail. Retrieved from US News & World Report
- MIT researcher sheds light on why habits are hard to break. (1999). Retrieved from MIT News
- Changing one bad habit has a domino effect. (2012). Northwestern Medicine News Center
- Dougherty, E. Wired for Habit. (2015). Retrieved from MIT News