• lynneeveratt

Lock in habits like Lizzo

What percentage of your day do you think you spend in autopilot, engaged in habitual behaviour? Cue the Jeopardy think music. We'll wait here while you ponder... The answer, according to research, is 43 percent. Nearly half of our days are spent doing the routine things we did yesterday and will likely repeat tomorrow. Here's another question for you: what percentage of Vietnam veterans were able to break the heroin habit they picked up in Vietnam? You'll discover the surprising answer in this week's 5-Minute Recharge that's focused on the science, practice, and real-life experience of making good habits stick and ditching bad habits. Let's get started! ONE IDEAL QUOTE “I've been working out consistently for the past five years, and it may surprise y'all that I'm not working out to have your ideal body type. I'm working out to have my ideal body type, and you know what type that is? None of your ****ing business, cos I am beautiful, I am strong, I do my job and I stay on my job.” Lizzo locks in her exercise habit

“I don't think she realized at the time what she was doing for me. She was saving my life.” – Retired Air Force colonel Jason Denney recovered from COVID with the help of Rosaura Quinteros, the woman who cleaned his hospital room and made compassion a habit THREE HABITUAL IDEAS  #1 Quarantine Habits We Want to Keep The pandemic has changed our habitual ways of thinking and behaving. A recent survey among readers of Vox.com found that a majority of people are cutting back on consumerism, questioning the belief that happiness is found in the accumulation of material goods. Others have discovered that they enjoyed slowing down and want their post-pandemic lives to have a more human pace and include more time for reflection. A greater connection to family, friends, and the world is another common theme. Exercising daily, baking, and spending more time in nature are other examples of new habits that feed body and soul. Many of us are turning to online courses to alleviate boredom and learn a new skill. According to data from Udemy, ukulele course enrollment has surged by 292%. A copy of The 5-Minute Recharge or Acts of Friendship goes to the 5-Minute Recharge newsletter subscriber who is currently studying the ukulele. Email lynne@5minrecharge.com if you have established a new ukulele habit. “There's not much you can do with a ukulele that doesn't sound happy.” – Jeff Lynne #2 KICKING A HEROIN HABIT U.S. soldiers in Vietnam endured horror, brutality, and deprivation, as well as long periods of intense boredom. Poppy fields were close by and provided a cheap and bountiful source of opioid escape. By 1971, it was feared that as many as 25 percent of American enlisted men, most of whom were draftees, had a heroin habit. In some units more than half the men were on heroin. Officials were alarmed, envisioning addicted veterans returning to American society as drug-crazed junkies. But the threat never materialized. Why? Because when soldiers returned home, a critical part of the heroin habit infrastructure was missing. The context that triggered taking heroin–the violence, the boredom and the horrific living conditions were gone, as were the people and even the uniform they associated with drug use, and heroin was a lot more difficult and expensive to obtain and administer in the United States. Without the environmental cues to support it, the heroin habit disappeared among more than 90 percent of previously-addicted soldiers. All day, every day, your environment–objects, experiences, people, and even moods–is similarly affecting your behavior. The pandemic has changed our daily environment and for many people has created a new set of habits that we explored in Idea #1, reinforcing the concept that when it comes to habits, context is destiny. The key takeaway is that we need to think of ways to change our environment to make bad habits more difficult to engage in (e.g. remove the Twitter app from your phone), and good habits easier (e.g. put on your workout clothes first thing in the morning). “If a simple context switch can be powerful enough to help someone overcome heroin addiction, imagine how powerful it can be for changing simpler behaviors.” Dr. Laurie Santos, The Happiness Lab #3 THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL TO LOCK IN HABITS Professor BJ Fogg of Stanford University has been studying habit formation for decades and believes there's a huge misconception about how habits are hardwired into our brains. Many people believe that it's simple repetition that makes habits stick. Fogg asserts that emotions create habits, and being able to link a positive emotion to any activity you want to repeat is one of the most important skills you can cultivate. Acknowledging the power of positive emotions in forming good habits, Recharge #2 in our book The 5-Minute Recharge is “Celebrate.” For example, immediately after you complete your workout, do a happy dance, pump your fist, or pound your chest, whatever you need to do to fire up a positive emotion.  “I can summarize my research here in three words: emotions create habits.” – BJ Fogg *********************************** The Fast Five 1. A Single Session of Exercise Alters 9,815 Molecules in Our Blood - Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times (9,815 pieces of evidence that exercise is a miracle drug) 2. 'Yoga With Adriene' is the YouTube Star of the Pandemic - The Atlantic (Adriene Mishler is the 'friendly pocket diety' helping millions of people get through the pandemic) 3. Your Past, Present, Future Self - Checking in With Susan David podcast (Time 27 minutes) (Harvard psychologist Dr. Susan David leads you through an exercise to help you discover what you need) 4. Just 4 Seconds of Exercise Counteracts the Terrible Effects of Sitting All Day - Inc (Did we mention that exercise is a miracle drug?) 5. What Successful People Do Right Before Bed - Business Insider (Apparently, successful people have sex four times per week...and add these experiences to their accomplishments list) *********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE HABIT BY DESIGN “Good habits are worth being fanatical about.” – John Irving It's your turn to take what you've learned in this newsletter and put it into action. This week's 5-Minute Recharge Challenge is to design a new habit using a three-part approach: Habit: Describe the habit you want to establish. We recommend that you start small, as small as you can go and yet still get a feeling of accomplishment. Contextual cues: Describe how you will prime yourself to engage in the habit through environmental signals―existing habits, time of day, surroundings, people, objects, etc. Celebration: How will you generate a positive emotion after completing the behaviour? Here's a real-life example from Lynne: Habit: Daily yoga practice Contextual cues: Yoga with Adriene in a room that looks and feels as much as possible like a relaxing yoga studio, tied to the existing habit of brushing my teeth (fyi, I brush my teeth as the signal to do yoga...I don't brush my teeth while doing yoga) Celebration: Namaste with Adriene “Once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom and the responsibility to remake them.” ― Charles Duhigg Wishing you a safe, healthy and habitually happy week ahead, Lynne & Addie

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