How are those going?
There’s no better time than now
to start with a clean slate and “get it right.”
That’s why today I want to share a little
tip that will help you stay on track… increasing
the chances that this year, you WILL
achieve those resolutions, once and
When it comes to actually achieving their health
and fitness goals, most people will tell you
that willpower is heavily involved.
And while that may true to an extent,
there is another side to the weight-loss coin.
Recent research suggests that in many cases,
willpower isn’t what’s needed to stick to your
body transformation goals…
Instead, it’s the disruption of “mindless” habits.
Let me explain…
Have you ever snacked in front of the television
while watching your favorite show?
If the answer is “yes,” then it’s likely that there
have been times where you ate an
entire bag of chips or popcorn
(or whatever you like to snack on)
without realizing you were even doing it.
It’s little habits like these that operate out
of your conscious awareness that could be
jeopardizing your ability to stick with the goals
Researchers at the University of Southern California
decided to find out what disrupts mindless habits
and what keeps them going.
They invited participants to watch just fifteen minutes
of movie previews while sitting in an actual movie theatre.
Then, each participant was given a free bag of popcorn to eat.
What the participants did NOT know is that the researchers
randomly gave the them one of two possible bags of popcorn:
1. A bag of fresh popcorn.
2. A bag of stale popcorn (a week old, actually).
After the movie previews, researchers measured
the amount of popcorn the viewers ate.
Those with a weak popcorn habit
(meaning they don’t normally eat popcorn
while at the movies) ate significantly more
fresh popcorn than stale.
But get this –
Those with a STRONG popcorn habit –
ate the same amount, regardless of the
bag they received (i.e. fresh or stale)!
That means that the people with the “mindless”
popcorn eating habit didn’t even notice how stale
the popcorn was. That’s because the behavior is
automatic and mostly unconscious.
The researchers didn’t stop there, however…
This time, they invited the same group of participants
to a conference room where they were to watch movie
previews. Again, each participant randomly received
either a fresh or stale bag of popcorn.
The group of folks who had eaten the majority of the
stale popcorn at the movie theatre (because of their
strong popcorn habit) actually STOPPED eating the
popcorn in the context of a conference room.
This means that just changing your environment
or CONTEXT of where your automatic habit is
triggered, is enough to disrupt it.
And in yet another study, these same researchers
conducted the same movie theatre experiment.
This time, they asked the participants to eat the
popcorn with their non-dominant hand.
Again, those who had strong popcorn eating habits
did not eat the stale popcorn.
Which means, also changing up HOW you do
something is also enough to disrupt an automatic
habit or behavior.
So how can you use this in your quest to
transform your health and your physique?
Well, 90% of getting in shape lies in your nutrition.
So if you have any “bad” habits that involve snacking
or eating mindlessly, now you have two tools you can
use to change it.
For example, if every night after work, you like to
relax on the couch and watch some television
while snacking on nuts, chips or whatever,
now you can change one of two things.
Instead of snacking on chips or anything unhealthy,
snack on veggies like carrot sticks, broccoli florets,
or snap peas.
Alternatively, instead of sitting on the couch to relax,
maybe you can lie down in bed and read a book…
or go for a leisurely walk… or call up an old friend.
You get the idea.
Whatever it is, focus on changing the context
and/or how you normally do the “mindless” activity.
Focus on breaking one unhealthy habit a month,
and by the end of the year you’ll be a whole new you!