Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

How to Form a Good Habit

Here’s how not to put yourself on an exercise regimen: by making a firm resolution, gritting your teeth each day through a 45 minute workout, then grimly enduring a salad.

 

What's the Big Idea? 


I don’t know about you, but when I hear the phrase “good habits,” I involuntarily wince. Most of us first learn about the importance of good habits (their magical power to keep us out of jail, the poorhouse, etc) from our parents. What’s often left out is the instructional piece. We learn that good habits are good, but not necessarily how to develop them.  

In The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, acclaimed journalist Charles Duhigg investigates the neuroscience of habit and explains how habit loops are formed in the brain. Because these loops – comprised of cue (“hmm, it’s 3 pm...cookie time!”), routine (Go to cabinet. Eat cookie.), and reward (Yummy cookie dopamine rush, fun break room chat with colleagues dopamine rush . . .) – become neurologically hardwired over time, they’re easier to rewire, slotting in other elements, than to drop entirely.  

But let’s say I’ve managed to kick my 3pm cookie habit, and I’m ready to take things to the next level by initiating a rigorous daily exercise regimen. Want to know how not to go about it? By making a resolution, then gritting your teeth each day through a 45 minute workout, then grimly enduring a salad. Yet this is how many people approach forming a new, good habit, and why most of them fail.  

[VIDEO] Charles Duhigg on how to form a good habit

For the habit to stick, the reward part of cue – routine – reward, says Duhigg, can’t come six weeks later when you step on a scale. It has to be immediate. Instead of a salad, Duhigg suggests rewarding yourself with a small piece of chocolate after a workout (if you like chocolate. If not, then a beer perhaps.) This should be sufficient to make exercise something your brain looks forward to, rather than something it dreads and will invent any possible excuse to avoid. 

It’s a little embarrassing to realize that our sophisticated brain is so easily fooled. The exercise doesn’t cause the chocolate bar to appear, but the association is formed nonetheless. Give it a try. The next time you hear the word gym you might just start salivating.

 

Follow Jason Gots (@jgots) on Twitter 

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

Here's an environmentally friendly way to get your caffeine fix

Sample Melbourne's best coffee without leaving an ecological footprint.

Gear
  • The massive increase in single-use coffee pods has led to an environmental catastrophe.
  • Plastic pods are notorious for their inability to break down in landfills.
  • Thankfully, a new wave of eco-friendly compostable pods is coming to the market.
Keep reading Show less

Masturbation boosts your immune system, helping you fight off infection and illness

Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?

Sexual arousal and orgasm increase the number of white blood cells in the body, making it easier to fight infection and illness.

Image by Yurchanka Siarhei on Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
  • The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
  • Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
Keep reading Show less

These 7 items make working remotely more efficient and effective

Workers are adjusting to their new employment reality on couches and kitchen tables across the nation.

Gear
  • Spotify, Twitter, and Square all announced employees will work from home until at least 2021, perhaps indefinitely.
  • The pandemic just accelerated the process: 50% of American employees were expected to work remotely by 2028.
  • Workers are adjusting to their new employment reality on couches and kitchen tables across the nation.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Century-old vaccine may lower coronavirus deaths, finds new study

    A new study suggests that an old tuberculosis vaccine may reduce the severity of coronavirus cases.

    Closeup of a BCG vaccination.

    Credit: Kekyalyaynen.
    Surprising Science
    • A new study finds a country's tuberculosis BCG vaccination is linked to its COVID-19 mortality rate.
    • More BCG vaccinations is connected to fewer severe coronavirus cases in a country.
    • The study is preliminary and more research is needed to support the findings.
    Keep reading Show less
    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast