00:00 You’re listening to the live happier, longer podcast, episode 44
00:15 Welcome to the live happier, longer podcast. We’re your hosts, Molly watts and Angela McDade. We are Here to help you build the five habits of happier longer life and to create your habit mindset, starting now.
00:29 Hey, Angela. Hey Molly, how are you today? No. Too Bad. And you’re really, let’s be honest. Yeah, yeah. There’s a lot going on right now. You’re a little grouchy. Yeah, I’m in a bad mood. Let’s start a podcast. I’m in a bad mood. Okay, well I’ll let you even get, I’ll make your mood even better. How, um, would you describe or do you have a habit that you would like to break? Yes, it is the habit of distraction. So like if you go to do something and then you realize you’ve got 15 other things to do and so you start doing all 15 and then you, at the end of the day, you only maybe have four things completed instead of just being kind of like continuous . You know, I think women are like that, right? We tend to have multitask, do things all at once.
01:40 Yeah. And I mean it depends on what it is. Sometimes you can get it done by other times, not as much. And I think the experts all agree that it’s not the best way of being the most efficient. Yeah. And then the other thing is like when you’re reading research and there’s out, you click a link that tells you more about the thing that you’re reading about as that explaining it. And then you click that link and there’s something really interest in there and all of a sudden you start to the rabbit holes, the rabbit holes of research. Oh yes, I’ve, and we’ve talked about that before, especially when it comes to brain science. And I can easily spend a whole lot of time before we know it and we’ve gone down lots of different, and then you realize how you two grow olives or something completely unrelated. It’s like, how did I get here? Oh, that’s funny.
02:34 Well that’s a habit for sure. Distraction or you know, people, there’s a lot of people that spend way too much time just on the Internet and maybe not doing good research but distracting themselves. And before you know it, you’ve wasted a whole bunch of times social media, things like that, take up people’s time and, and it does become a habit. Uh, today we are going to be talking about, I of course don’t have any bad habits. Obviously! Quote unquote bad habits. I’m going to say that right now. Uh, we are going to talk today about how to break quote unquote bad habits. Yeah. So we will rename them as, yes, I’m going to say that habits that don’t serve you. Yes. So I want to, and there’s a reason for that, right? Cause I don’t think we should approach those quote unquote bad habits as bad. And the reason is because when you call something bad, it’s pretty easy for your brain to start thinking that I’m bad, right. Or it sounds there is, if there might be something broken with you. Yeah. And then it just starts the negativity. Yeah. And then negative self talk.
03:49 And here’s the truth, just because you’re, you have a habit that doesn’t serve you, you’re not bad, you’re not broken. And whatever habit is that you’d really like to break is not a reason for being, you know, that’s not making you bad. Right. For instance, I am not a bad person, even though I have a habit of overeating emotionally. Right. And it feels like what I think is the worst part about habits that don’t serve you or things of that like that, that kind of negative, uh, destructive type of habit is that they really do impact your self esteem about yourself.
04:31 Right. And then they’re kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. You feel bad. You so you overeat, yeah. And you feel bad cause you’ve overeaten. Yeah. So it’s a cycle. It is, and it’s a, it’s a hard cycle to work on. Uh, I mean a hard cycle to break. It’s something I’m working on though and continue to work on. And the reason it’s so important to teach your brain new language about habits is because many of us for so long have had an internal soundtrack that’s playing in our brains that we’re not even aware of. So, uh, it’s almost like subliminal advertising. We’ve just been telling ourselves the same stories for so long that we believe they’re true. Yeah. Like me saying I’m an emotional overeater. Yeah. So therefore, therefore any time . Right. Yeah. So really I should be sitting with a big pile of cream cakes right now!
05:22 You No. Yeah, you should be. Cause you’re the, yeah. If you were me. Um, but the, you know, the fact is, is that that internal sound track, that internal dialogue that we, we’ve heard for so long and we’ve been telling ourselves for so long, we can just as easily, because every thought that we have is optional. We can choose to think something different and we can just as easily think thoughts that will help us break those habits as we can continue to play that, that old soundtrack in our heads. Yeah. Right. Um, so I want to say that that’s really what we’re going to work on. We are going to break habits that don’t serve us. And I actually have an affirmation that I use all the time about this. And it’s this, I overcome habits that don’t serve me, build habits that inspire me. And I am my own success story.
06:26 I love it. Even when I’m saying it right here. I just love that. And I think it’s a great thought because for me, it makes me feel strong and capable and it helps me take better actions and get better results in my life. So one more time, I overcome habits that don’t serve me, build habits that inspire me and I am my own success story. So I think we’re going to make a download for that. Yeah. You know, and I pin it whenever you want to print it out. Maybe do a sheet with four in each corner, just so that you have four copies of it. You can put it in your mirror, your closet, your car, wherever you want. Or your mirror! Yeah. Oh, is that, that’s Scottish for mirror. Yeah. There’s more than one syllable. Oh, okay, this is going to be a fun podcast. I can tell. Oh, anyways, if that, if that affirmation doesn’t feel right for you, then you figure out what you want and put it on sticky notes everywhere. But it’s a great way to start working on the habits that you would like to change, the habits that don’t serve you. Yeah.
07:33 So last week we focused on, uh, James Clear and his book atomic habits when we talked about, and then we gave also our six cs of building a new habit that all tied together. Right. Um, but we were talking about them, uh, basically, uh, as a part of the habit loop, the way that he talks about building new habits is these laws that are all related to the habit loop. And real quick, they were, the fresh law was the cue and he said to make it obvious, Right? They’ve gotta make it obvious. Got to be really, you know, right there in front of your eyes, ears, nose, whatever.
08:17 Yeah. And then the second lot was the craving. And he said, you have to meet that attractive so that you actually want to do it right. And the third law was the response and that’s how you respond to that craving. And he said, you have to make it easy. And then the fourth law is the reward. So what comes from doing all those other things? And he said that you have to make it satisfying so that you want then to do it again. So, and he actually recommends for breaking habits that you imply the inverse of these laws. I’m not going to spend a, we’re not gonna talk all about James Clear that. And today, this week is I think a, you know, I don’t want to, he’s a great, uh, atomic habits is just the most recent book on habits. Um, but it wasn’t the first, and it’s not, he’s not the only person that did good work on habits. So we’re going to talk about other things.
09:13 You and I were both surprised because it, they reissued it. It was actually from like 2018 but on the new stands right now in your local drugstores, you will see a time magazines. Yeah, It’s a special edition, special edition magazine. It’s like a a hundred pages long and it’s all about habits and how they can serve you or hurt you. So definitely habits are a part of, I mean, I think it’s a trendy, not trendy, but it certainly, uh, I think it’s just coming, there’s, I mean, there’s so much more people that are appreciating that you can be, you’re best own self, can be your best advocate and there’s a little self-coaching and all of that. So, so figuring out how to make new habits and break old habits that you don’t want is kinda. That’s a nice way to wrap up. You know, a new you yeah. For want of a better.
10:16 Yeah, for sure. So anyways, but we will stick to, well, we’re gonna go real quickly over the inversions of these laws that James Clear set those cue craving response, reward the laws that you want to use for making new habits. These are the inverse of those laws. So the inverse of the first law, if you’re trying to break a habit that doesn’t serve you, is for the cue. You want to make it invisible. So obviously if you’ve got a problem with emotional eating, um, you might not want to have chips and cookies and stuff like that sitting on the counter, right there, right. Inversion of second law craving is make it unattractive. So, hmm, I don’t know bash the Cream cake! Drop it on the floor? I think if you, uh, you know, the craving is to make something you just to want to decide that it’s not something that you’re going to be doing for yourself.
11:16 Um, the inversion of the third law is responses to make it difficult. So again, if you don’t have those things in the house, then it’s can’t eat them, it can be tough. And, uh, the fourth law, the reward, make it unsatisfying. So, uh, I don’t know exactly how you would decide to not make cream cakes unsatisfying, but that’s the way that James Clear approaches we are just using eating. Exactly. Exactly. Yes, there are so many other habits, obviously, and they probably, this is probably a different subject matter.
11:51 But today I really want to talk more about a strategy from Charles Duhigg and his book. The power of habit. A, the power of habit came out quite, I’m gonna don’t have the year in front of me, but, uh, I want to say like 2005 ish, um, much earlier than atomic habits. And, uh, it was really what popularized the habit loop. Yeah. And he uses it like for the business and it’s not just a personal thing, oh no, it’s actually, yeah, he says like for so many, right. It’s physical, emotional. Um, all of these things are in the realm of habit. And his habit loop, like we mentioned last week is does not have four parts. This only has three. Um, and it really was actually based on research done by a MIT in the 1990s. That is where they first defined these three parts. And that is the cue, the routine or response and the reward. So basically they just take the craving and they kind of bundle it into the response. Right. So more, it’s just like what happens when you get the cue, right? Right. The craving comes with the response, right?
13:09 So the cue is always the trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode. And which habit to use. The routine of course is the behavior itself. This can, and this is where he separates a little bit. This can be emotional, mental, or physical behavior. So, um, and the reward is one, the reason that you’re motivated to do the behavior and two, away your brain can encode the behavior in your neurology if it’s a repeated behavior. So it’s, that’s what he says is basically the, the habit loop. Yeah. And what Duhigg says is the golden rule of habit change is that we really can’t change an unwanted habit. All we can do is replace it. And he says that the key is to keep the cue and the reward the same and to change the routine. So we talked a little bit last week about, uh, our friend Deb Gutierrez, who we’ve had on the podcast before. And she, uh, talked a little bit. I was, I, it wasn’t on her, it was on her own post.
14:17 It was something she had posted within our group or I think or either, I don’t know if it was in her group or just from her uh, business soulful life on Facebook. If you find that, um, look for her group, abundant health and she talked about basically, um, coming home and wanting to relax. Right. And have that cue that cue is either coming home from work or feeling stressed and so you have two options as if you’re trying to change a habit of saying drinking a glass of wine and having some cheese and crackers. The reward is that though that you still feel, you feel relaxed, right? You’re stressed, you drink that wine, you the cheese crackers, you feel relaxed. The, and this would be, what Duhigg says, is you want to keep the cue, which is coming home and feeling tired and wanting to relax a bit and the reward, which is actually feeling relaxed, but you’re going to change the routine in the middle. Yeah. And you’re going to figure out doing something else, taking a bath, taking a walk, listening to music, whatever it is that’s going to change, you know, still gives you the feeling. The outcome is exactly the same, its how you get there. Right? So that’s how, um, that’s how he would say again. And, and Deb kind of echoed to that for us last week.
15:37 So I want to share some tips and strategies for re-engineering habits that don’t serve you. If you take into account what he, what Duhigg says that you really can’t change a habit, you have to replace it. Um, so these are some strategies and they kind of go hand in hand. I don’t, we don’t have, I don’t have, last week I had, I have the six cs of habit building and they also kind of go hand in hand because anytime you’re building a new habit, again, if you take into, uh, if you look at it from the way that, uh, Duhigg talks about it, you’re really replacing something. You know, even if you’re building a new habit, you’re replacing some habit somewhere. Yeah. And so I don’t have a fancy a six, a little, you know, six cs for this, but we’ve got five, uh, practical steps and strategies for, uh, breaking a habit that doesn’t serve you.
16:35 So the very first key to breaking a habit that doesn’t serve you is to visualize a tangible reason for why you want to break the habit in the first place. If you don’t know why you want to stop a habit, then chances are you won’t ever begin. And we talked about that even in the building a new habit, right? You have to commit and committing to change. And we’d provided that worksheet last week on a commitment statements. Yeah. Because the bottom line is that you have to be able to see yourself and visualize a reason why you want to change. Because let’s face it, changing ingrained habits is not easy yet. You have to really want to do it, otherwise you just won’t. And it’s not even a matter of what you really have to like, you know, you want to see yourself, you want to change your life and see yourself as the person that is doing, you know, living if it’s a new living the life that you want. Right? So if it’s not, if you’re doing something that does not meet that visualization in that result, then you have to change something. And visualizing that reason for why you want to break a habit in the first place is really the first, the first step. Yeah. So you could look at it as c commit. It’s the same, same process. You’ve got to figure out your why.
18:07 Um, the second one I would say is you need to isolate the cue and identify the routine. So again, last week we talked, we provided that tool in terms of the habit tracker. Um, two weeks ago. Yeah. We did the habit tracker. Yeah. And it’s back to, if you don’t know what you’re doing, then you can’t change it. Can’t see it. You can’t change it. Right. But now just identifying the habits. Now we want to dive deep and really, uh, figure out what the cues are and what the thoughts that you’re having are that are surrounding the cues. Because I guarantee you that even if you think it’s just, um, seeing the cream puffs on the counter, you’re having a thought. Yeah. And that thought is going to create a feeling in you that’s gonna maybe be a craving that is going to lead to your action, which is eating when you don’t want to and your undesired result is having a habit of eating, overeating don’t want you to, yeah, exactly.
19:13 So, um, went for instance then that, like I said, you always have a thought. So there’s a lot of things that may trigger you when you are an emotional eater, overeater, there’s a lot of different cues that you might have and you need to isolate all of those cues and you also need to isolate and understand the routines that follow because it’s only when you identify all that and when you really get down to the thoughts that are behind those things. And I’ll give you some examples. This is something that I’m working on, I’m working on all the time. And that is drinking less alcohol. This is not like an alcoholism problem. Yeah. It’s simply is that I know that the guidelines for health are for women no more than one drink per day. Yeah. And if you have more than one, then you’re over, then you’re over the healthy limit.
20:18 Right. And so, uh, I’ve always trying to work on that. So there’s a lot of things that that trigger me wanting to have a beer or glass of wine going to a party, getting home from work, uh, you know, going out to eat at a restaurant. These are all different cues. Right. And they don’t necessarily elicit the same emotion. Yeah. And I don’t have the same thought about them, but they all elicit a habited response. Yeah. It’s the same response. Yeah. Right. And so got to isolate the cues and got to isolate the thoughts that are behind them. So for instance, sometimes when people are driving home, they might, you know, get that thought in their head. I’m tired. I need to relax. It’s been a long day, I deserve it. Uh, you know, I’m feeling and whenever you start to think like, I deserve something, I, it’s been a long day. You feel entitled, you feel stressed. And if you habitually unwind with glass, glass of wine, well it’s very easy to that, those thoughts, that’s just what you do. Right ,trigger that response. So, um, number two, you need to isolate the cue and identify the routine.
21:33 Number three, and this is super important because this is where that prefrontal cortex kicks in. Uh, because we’ve talked about this, the primitive brain, even though we call it the lower brain, it is certainly not lesser than it is a very, these, this is where all of our most primitive desires and emotions and survival instincts live. And even though we don’t need to have our brains act like we’re being threatened or, uh, that we need to perpetuate the species on a momentary basis, that instinctual brain is still very much alive in us today, even though we have a totally different set of circumstances that we’re facing.
22:30 So when you are trying to change a very ingrained habit, you need to have, preplan, pre commit to change ahead of time so that you know that when a craving hits and you’re going to likely fall into that habitual routine, you know, that habitual routine, you’ve already decided ahead of time that what you’re going to do. Yeah. So instead of, you know, and you’re, you’re pre-planning, you’re, you’re not, you’re not saying, oh, I’m doing this so you know, I’ve got this new plan, this new, this new habit I’m going to be doing. And therefore expecting nothing too that, that the cravings are going to go away. Yeah. The craving is still going to be there. Right. And you have to, you have to anticipate that and you have to decide to, you know what you are when you do, when ahead of time. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
23:30 And um, that’s how Charles Duhigg says, this is how willpower becomes a habit by choosing a certain behavior ahead of time and then following that routine when an inflection point arrives. So it’s knowing ahead of time. Now, one of the things that’s very important, and this is kind of this was in the Time magazine book that we talked about, uh, was that, uh, you don’t want to resist urges. You don’t want to fight against them. Yeah. You need. It’s kind of back when I was I was saying last week about that, just restricting everything. Doesn’t work either. You can work for right now today, but it’s not something you can maintain. No. And it also, when you resist an urge, it actually makes it become stronger. You feel stronger. You need to lean into it, work through it. And you know, resisting in white knuckling just does not work. Uh, you need to be, and this is something that I’ve, I think is really important. You need to be prepared to describe how the urge makes you feel.
24:35 So, and most of us aren’t very good at describing actual feelings in our body. If you think about this, you, we know, right? So when you start to feel scared, if you really truly feel scared, right, what happens? Your heart rate starts to go up. You might, you know, you get kind of trembly you can kind of feel it. You’ll get tight. Yeah. That is if there’s a physical right. And if that’s possession feeling is actually that what that is. We call it a feeling cause we feel it in our bodies. Right. And so it helps when you’re dealing with urges because truthfully you are capable of, of feeling any feeling in the world and it sounds really scary but then it, it does pass, you know, the feeling, the actual physical feeling passes and uh, but you need to, but writing it down and even being able to describe something as like we just talked about heart racing, uh, you might say restless, jumpy, edgy, tightness in your chest.
25:45 And I think it was in that particular thing they were talking about the importance of breathing. Yeah. And he was, again, very simple when you, you know, you go to the doctor or anything like that, the doctor or the nurse will say, okay. Just deep breathing and having, I know that whenever I was having all of the kids right, you know, have like physically given birth to the kids, you know, the breathing, breathing through, it was just a huge, huge, that was a huge part of it. Right. And it, it helped you control something that was completely out of your control. So you had, that was, that was one thing that you could control. Um, so yeah, so that was, and in that same article and again, it’s back to that physical, the physical sensation. Yeah. And there’s another way that you might say that you might deal with that is actually choosing a thought about it and say to yourself, I feel restless and that’s okay. Just remind yourself, it’s okay to feel this tightness in my chest, this trembling, that the rapid heartbeat, that it’s okay. I can handle anything. I’m capable. I’m capable of feeling uneasy. You know, we talked about it before. Light a candle, read a book, listen to music, call a friend, do anything to help you work through that, that uncomfortable feeling. Because honestly, change can change is uncomfortable. You’re going to feel uncomfortable in this process.
27:25 Number four in our list is ask for help, which lots of people do not do. No, that’s true. And we talked about it in last week and building a new habit, uh, you know, collaborate, find your tribe, right? The same thing goes with trying to, to break a bad. Oopsie I said bad. Break an unwanted. Have it. Um, find a trusted friend who won’t judge you but will help you. Correct you when you slip. Uh, join a challenge group. There’s a lot of different groups, uh, on social media and, and sometimes that anonymity, if you don’t know, people, can be kind of Nice too. Yeah. Right? So the one thing that you want to make sure of though is just not to let any group become a place to compare yourself because I think it’s Rachel Hollis who gave us that quote. You’ve only got one person to compare yourself to and that’s yourself or who you were yesterday, right? That’s the only person you can be better than. So, uh, but having a support system is a great, great tip, a great tool for breaking a habit that doesn’t serve you.
28:38 Lastly, as we said in terms of that golden rule, you want to find a new habit that inspires you and replace the habit that doesn’t serve you with one that inspires you. Of course, it sounds really good in theory, of course it can be a little bit harder than that, but it’s important to remember that habits can be just a sign of boredom. So getting, you know, if you’ve got a habit of spending a whole lot of time on the Internet, you know, getting distracted, whatever, you might just be bored. And so you want to, uh, look for other ways, uh, taking up, you know, getting exercise, taking up a artistic hobby. Those might be replacements for just a habit that is born out of boredom. Yeah. The Huffington post claims that then this says exactly what Charles Duhigg says in The golden rule is that cutting out habits altogether without an alternative makes breaking a habit harder to deal with in the long term and leaves needs that are addressed by the habit unmet. So that’s where it goes back to that golden rule. You can’t really change a habit. You need to replace it. Yeah.
29:50 So those are some strategies, kind of an overview again, of how we can change it up, right. Change the habits that don’t serve us a very, very, uh, high, you know, cursory overview, right? We’re not saying this is simple work, it’s, it’s not hard to understand, but if people could change their habits, just like, you know, yeah. Just like that. We would all be wonderful all the time. Right? Right. And things would just be smooth and sailing along. And, but the bottom line is the quality of your habits really defines the quality of your life. So it’s important stuff that we’re talking about and it’s, it’s challenging work even though the concept itself isn’t, isn’t difficult. Yeah. Hopefully we can help some people in terms of giving them some positive motivation and some encouragement. And even back to the tools that will highlight what those habits are that you go… hmmm I probably don’t really want to be doing that. Yeah. Yeah.
31:01 So so far we’ve had with the, in our second season here we’ve provided and you can go back and find them. The habit tracker, we’ve provided the commitment to change statements and this week we’re providing our affirmation statements of “I overcome habits that don’t serve me, build habits that inspire me and I am my own success story.” I hope that works for you as well. Yeah. So next week we will be coming to you with uh, well let’s just say episode 45, shall we? Yeah. So, uh, we appreciate you, you being here, Anthony. See you next week. See you next week.
31:46 Thanks for listening to the Live Happier Longer podcast. Now it’s time to move, learn, share, give and let go. Five daily habits to make the rest of your life the best of your life. See you next week.
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