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The importance of positive instructions

  "Don't touch the stove, it's hot." "Don't run in to the road, there are cars." "Don't mess this up." "Don't trip as you walk down the aisle with everyone watching." We have a bias for the negative. Partly it is your brain trying to keep you alive. The amygdala has two thirds of its neurons wired for negative inputs. Studies have found that people are more likely to make a decision based on avoiding something bad than to get something good. It is also partly social conditioning too. All our lives we hear negatives. Our parents tell us not to touch the stove. Our teachers tell us not to talk in class. Our bosses tell us not to be late. Here is the problem - after being told "don't do that" people don't actually know what they should do. You can't do a "don't." Telling someone "don't" isn't actually helpful. It is actually unclear. So what can you do? My first suggestion wou

One Habit Week 6 update

  Food log I continue to consistently and accurately log what I eat. I'm not doing great at logging how much I eat however. Whilst I am doing well at sticking to my One Habit, the real reason for the habit is to lose weight. I had been hoping that the One Habit would magically spurn more good habits but that hasn't been the case. I tried making a habit of "when I am hungry then I will eat mostly plants until satisfied." The "satisfied" portion of the habit has made me more aware of when I have had enough to eat and I have been putting down my fork when I have had enough which is good. I haven't been quite so good with the "most plants" bit however. Weight Well apparently writing doesn't burn enough calories to lose weight. This week I gained one pound and now weigh 168 pounds. Sustainable weight lose will always have its little hiccups but I don't feel I am making progress (IE losing any weight!) I need to change something. Reflection I

One Habit week 5 update

  Food log I continue to consistently log my food in my journal. This One Habit is going very well indeed. I haven't missed a meal and I haven't "forgotten" to log any foods. Last week I decide to start a new habit of "when I am hungry then I will eat mostly plants until satisfied." I would give myself a 6 out of 10 for this. I have been conscious about only eating when I am hungry (which is a good thing) and I have also been paying attention to how full I am and stopping before I become stuffed. I haven't, however been quite so good at eating mostly plants. I have been eating fruit first for snack and putting more vegetables on my dinner plate. Ideally half of what I eat will be plants. I'm probably at 20% to 25%. I have eaten fewer donuts in the past week though because I have been conscious about eating more plants. Weight My weight was down 1 pound from last week to 167 pounds. Had you asked me how the last week was before I weighted myself I wou

25 things to be grateful for

  Numerous studies have shown that expressing gratitude on a regular basis will measurably improve happiness. When you start a practice of gratitude it can be hard to think of things to be grateful for. As with everything in life, the more you do it the easier it becomes. Here is a list of things you can be grateful for to help you get started.  1. Health.  If you are healthy, be grateful for that. If your health isn’t perfect, be grateful for the ailments you don’t have. 2. Hearing.  Be grateful you still have your hearing. 3. Sight.  Be grateful you can see. 4. Waking up.  Be grateful you woke up today. 5. Healthcare.  Be grateful you live somewhere with access to healthcare. 6. Children.  Be grateful for your children. 7. Friends.  Be grateful you have friends. 8. Parents.  If your parents are still alive, be grateful for them. 9. Pets.  If you have a pet, be grateful for the unconditional love they give you. 10. Weekends.  If you get the weekend off, be grateful for that. 11. Money

One Habit week 4 update

  Food logging Well, I continue to consistently log all my food. The alarm on my phone has proved to be a great trigger and using my notes app makes it easy to log my food. While I am being very consistent with logging what I eat, I am not being quite as diligent with logging how much I eat, yet alone managing my portions. Weight My weight is the same as last week - 168 pounds. This is not a huge surprise as I have only been logging what I eat and not consciously limiting it. I do feel I have been giving myself smaller servings when I make dinner but I cant tell you how much smaller because its not a conscious decision and I am certainly not doing any form of portion control. The other complicating factor is we had a birthday in our house this week so there were more sweets than usual. Reflection I said this last week but while my declared One Habit is to log food (which I am doing), my hope\intention was that this keystone habit would generate more habits. Thus far this has not been t

One Habit week 3 update

  Food Log I am still doing consistently logging what I eat. I am mostly writing down quantities. I am using measurements like "one bowl" for oatmeal or "2 slices" for bread. Its not perfect but it works. Given that my "One Habit" is simply to log food, I am doing well so far. Weight When I weighed myself this week I was 166 pounds. This is one pound down from last week. One pound a week is actually a sustainable and sensible amount of weight to lose in 7 days. Given that I am actually measuring or controlling my food portions at the moment I attribute this weight lose to the fact that I am now thinking twice before having sweet treats because I know I will have to acknowledge it by writing it down. The food logging seems to be helping me tweak my diet in small ways.  Reflection Although my stated "One Habit" is to log my food, my hope and expectation is that it will lead to more habits. In my mind I was expecting I would naturally make more chan

What is the Scandi Sense Diet?

  What is a good weight loss diet First of all, I don't like the idea of "going on a diet" because (lots of) studies show that people who "go on a diet" eventually "go off a diet" and end up weighing more. If you want to lose weight for the long term you need to make lifestyle changes. You guessed it - you have to change your eating habits. There are many, many, weight loss diets out there but the good ones, the ones recommended by medical professionals help you eat healthy food in reasonable amounts. There are many ways to make sure you eat healthy food in reasonable amounts. Weight Watchers uses a point system and Noom uses food colors and densities. The Scandi Sense Diet uses your hands. Incidentally, the best diet is the one you can stick to.  Scandi Sense Diet The Scandi Sense Diet is the simplest approach I have heard of. The one line summary is you eat three meals a day, each consisting of two handfuls of veggies, one handful of protein and one

The Big Why of all goals

  Goals Goalbits are GOAL-based habits. The goal part is as important as the habit. Your goal should give you a "why" or a reason to persevere with your habit. Your goal should be something YOU want to change not something someone else thinks you should change. Your goal could be to lose weight, or get fit, or save money. But why do you want to do these things? Because you think you are too heavy, too unfit or dont save enough. I would say these are the little "whys." They are certainly objectives you want to meet but weight, fitness or money are not the real “Big Why.” Bigs Whys Believe it or not, behind every goal is the same Big Why. That Big Why is to be happier. You think you will be happier then you are thinner. You think you will be happier when you are fitter. You think you will be happier when you have more savings. The truth is this may or may not be true. If you lose your goal weight and say, well I if I could just lose a little more weight then I will be

One Habit week 2 update

  Here is an update on my One Habit after 14 days. Logging food I have managed to continue logging my food consistently. Using the phone alarm as a reminder has been very effective for me because its really hard to ignore. I have the alarm set for 7.00am, 1.00pm and 7.00pm. Already I am anticipating the alarm before it goes off. I haven't missed any meals and I am still being honest and tracking everything I eat (good and bad) - because lets be honest, I could lie to my journal but I can't lie to the scales! Last week I was literally just logging what I ate. For example "sandwich" or "pizza." This week I have been quantifying how much I eat. For example "2 pieces of bread, 1 slice of cheese, 1 slice of turkey" or "2 slices of pizza." I must admit this makes me think twice before I take a third slice of pizza. The food logging seems to be nudging me to make small changes to my diet.  Incidentally there are apps like "MyFitnessPal"

The importance of rewards in habit formation.

Every habit has 3 parts. The Reminder. The Routine. The Reward. The reminder is what triggers you to do the habit. The routine is the actual habit you want to do. The reward is what makes you want to do the routine again in the future. When designing a new habit it is important to include a good reward at the end. A good reward is something that makes you feel good. It’s the immediate payoff for completing your habit. Psychologists talk about instant and delayed gratification. Instant gratification is wanting immediate results. Delayed gratification is being able to wait for the results. Generally the results of delayed gratification are bigger. The results of your habit, for example doing pushups, usually wont be immediate. To help build your habit it is important to build in some form of instant gratification. The type of reward that will be most effective will depend from person to person. For some people the satisfaction of putting an “X” in a chart showing you have done your habit