Lots of articles, books, studies, experts, etc. talk about how to build good habits. Building good habits is important in many areas of our lives. Your health and overall wellness are two of these areas.
We’ve done a lot of research on building good habits (it’s actually what’s behind our business model and why we’re so passionate about what we do). No matter how the information is delivered, there are some common elements of building good habits we define as the 4 R’s of building and maintaining good habits. They are: Reminders, Repetition, Routine, and Rewards.
The First R is reminders. Part of the inspiration of our business is from the NY Times bestselling book, The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. In his book, Duhigg uses the word “cue” instead of reminder, but it’s the same principle. We need something to remind us of the habit we want to build or maintain. We need constant reminders. It’s not enough to get reminded once a week or once a month. Good habits are built with consistent reminders or cues.
The second R is repetition. A good or bad habit is formed by repetition. The more you do it, the more it becomes part of your daily life. The more it becomes part of your daily life, the more it becomes a habit. Repetition can come in stages. If your goal is to run a marathon, you need to start small and work your way up to marathon-type distances. The same is true for repetition. If the repetition is impossible to execute, then you won’t do it. But, you have to find something to repeat. Over time, you can adjust what you repeat, but repetition is key to building a good habit.
The third R is routine. In an article I read that reviewed Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, Susan Heitler mentioned how she appreciated his explanation of building on good habits because of how it addressed the routine around building a good habit. The routine, in her eyes, was crucial because it took the stress out of building the habit. If you follow a routine when building a good habit, its easier to integrate into your life. If you, while you’re trying to build the habit, need to constantly “invent” a new routine every time you try to reinforce the habit, the “stress” of that will eventually cause you to give up. Having a consistent routine or following a routine provided to you can make the difference.
The final R is reward. Rewards are tricky. If the rewards are tied to a group or a challenge where multiple people are participating, rewards can be confused for manipulation or bribery. If the rewards are too big, there’s a temptation to cheat just to get the reward. On the other hand, if you’re trying to build a habit on your own, rewarding yourself can be weird. If you’re giving yourself the reward and have to pay for it, how is that really a reward? It sounds like more of a punishment to me. Ideally, the reward is something that matters to you that isn’t a financial burden. It’s usually better when the reward involves a loved one, who also benefits from you accomplishing your goal, because he/she will encourage you.
The 4 R’s make it easier for us to remember the elements of creating a good habit. We hope it helps.
About Yaypo Physical Health & Wellness
Yaypo is a work-site physical health and wellness program offering cloud based physical wellness services you can do at your desk and without changing existing daily routines. Everything we do is focused on fighting the major causes of preventable diseases (not the symptoms or actual diseases like our healthcare system currently does) and what you can do to maximize your productivity during the workday. We offer a Free 1-week Demo. Follow us: LinkedIn | Facebook | Blog | Twitter