“When the reward is the activity itself–deepening learning, delighting customers, doing one’s best–there are no shortcuts.” – Daniel Pink
Happy New Year! Here’s to building our best habits in 2019! This is one of my favorite quotes from Daniel Pink, and I think the perfect theme to start the New Year on. It perfectly sums up how exercise/fitness finally came to work in my life at the age of 29. I found something that made me feel excited and rewarded to work on each day, and over time I reworked my less healthy habits and piggy-backed new ones onto those.
In the last 20 years, we’ve come to understand how habits work and how they can be changed. It all comes down to cues, routines, and rewards.
Exercise is the perfect example to explain this. Studies have shown that people who identify simple cues and clear rewards are more likely to establish consistent exercise habits. By choosing successful cues (packing clothes the night before, or just plain sleeping in them as I do) and identifying a clear reward (the newest Haribo gummy flavor or awesome times on the leaderboard), I’m more likely to succeed. Over time, my brain came to anticipate the reward — gummy or accomplishment — a measurable neurological impulse to exercise.
So along with your fitness, think about your other habits in this way. Are there areas in your life you can improve simply by applying this formula of cue/routine/reward to? Can you do it for 42 days? More on our goals for this year in the next post!
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