How to Form a Good Habit

Charles Duhigg: What studies say the number one best way to start an exercise habit is to give yourself a reward that you genuinely enjoy.  So most people, when they start exercising, this is what they do.  They say, "I'm going to go to the gym and my reward is going to be that I went to the gym," or, "I'm going to let myself have some kale chips or a salad or something."  Something they don't actually enjoy.  But a habit is a cue, a routine and a reward.  That reward has to actually be rewarding for it to develop neurological patterns.   

So here's what studies say is the number one way to start an exercise habit, eat a piece of chocolate after you work out.  And what's amazing about this is that--if you like chocolate and chocolate is genuinely rewarding--what's amazing is that, and I did this myself so I can attest to this, you will only eat that piece of chocolate for like the first week and a half.  You'll set up a cue, running clothes by your bed or you lace up your shoes before breakfast, something to trigger the behavior.  You go on your run or you work out then you come home and eat a piece of chocolate or right after the workout you need a piece of chocolate.  And your brain will begin encoding. Your brain will eventually enjoy exercise for exercise sake, right, endorphins and endocannabinoids will create a sense of reward, but it doesn't know that at first.  You have to trick your brain into forming this habit by giving it chocolate or something it genuinely values and enjoys.  And after a week and a half your brain will have learned that it likes the intrinsic rewards of exercise.  You won't even want to eat the chocolate anymore because you'll feel healthy right?  We all know this that, like, once you start exercising you eat better because you feel so good, but at first you have to trick your neurology into accepting the pattern.  And the answer is, eat a piece of chocolate. 

 

Directed & Produced by

Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd

 

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.

‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

Surprising Science
  • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
  • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
  • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Keep reading Show less

Discovery of two giant radio galaxies hints at more to come

The newly discovered galaxies are 62x bigger than the Milky Way.

I. Heywood, University of Oxford / Rhodes University / South African Radio Astronomy Observatory / CC BY 4.0.
Surprising Science
  • Two recently discovered radio galaxies are among the largest objects in the cosmos.
  • The discovery implies that radio galaxies are more common than previously thought.
  • The discovery was made while creating a radio map of the sky with a small part of a new radio array.
Keep reading Show less

The secret life of maladaptive daydreaming

Daydreaming can be a pleasant pastime, but people who suffer from maladaptive daydreamers are trapped by their fantasies.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Mind & Brain
  • Maladaptive daydreamers can experience intricate, vivid daydreams for hours a day.
  • This addiction can result in disassociation from vital life tasks and relationships.
  • Psychologists, online communities, and social pipelines are spreading awareness and hope for many.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Massive 'Darth Vader' isopod found lurking in the Indian Ocean

    The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.

    SJADE 2018
    Surprising Science
    • A new species of isopod with a resemblance to a certain Sith lord was just discovered.
    • It is the first known giant isopod from the Indian Ocean.
    • The finding extends the list of giant isopods even further.
    Keep reading Show less

    Why it's important to admit when you're wrong

    Psychologists point to specific reasons that make it hard for us to admit our wrongdoing.

    Credit: Adobe Stock
    Mind & Brain
    • Admitting mistakes can be very difficult for our ego and self-image, say psychologists.
    • Refusing to own up to guilt boosts the ego and can feel more satisfying.
    • Not acknowledging you are wrong can lead to psychological issues and ruined relationships.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast