By Kathleen Alleaume, Nutritionist and Noom ambassador.
When it comes to following a healthy lifestyle, we mostly know the drill: exercise most days of the week; eat a varied and nutritious diet; maintain a healthy weight for you; get enough sleep, and limit alcohol. If you’re reading this article, chances are you have a few habits you’d like to change this year.
Of course, habit change is hard, but certainly not impossible! New research by psychology-backed behavior change program, Noom, discovered that we spend an average of 427 hours waiting (for a coffee, for public transport, in a queue, etc.) a year – that’s more than 1 hour and 10 minutes per day just being idle! So, why not take advantage of this waiting time as an opportunity to feel more productive and help you achieve your health goals.
Change your habits by using simple psychology
Enter habit bundling, a tool that utilizes your current habits or daily actions to integrate a new habit into your routine and make the change less “shocking” to the system. In other words, it is much easier to create new, healthy habits when you bundle them with existing behaviors your brain already knows well.
For example, start by listening to meditation to help ground yourself for the day while doing something you probably already do every day, like riding public transport or brushing your teeth in the morning.
The human brain likes automatic processes as they take less energy than conscious, deliberate processes. Habit bundling or pairing a new habit or action with one you already do regularly can help make it easier to develop a new behaviour. The old action acts like a support system for your new behaviour, essentially giving your new routine a boost and making it more likely to stick to healthy habits for the long term.
Habit Bundling Ideas
As a nutritionist, I’m constantly being asked by clients about how they can improve their health and create habits they can stick to. Here are some clever ways to incorporate habit bundling into your day:
● If you like smoothies for breakfast in the morning, try adding spinach or kale to get an extra boost of nutrition and hit one of your five a day.
● When talking to family or friends on the phone, do it with earbuds in and meal prep at the same time. You’re more likely to make better food choices later in the week with a meal plan and prep already set.
● While your coffee is brewing in the morning, drink a glass of water to start your day or do some quick stretching exercises while you wait.
Small steps can make a big difference. The key is to stay consistent with these small changes and watch as your overall routine evolves over time.
If you’re curious about learning more on Noom’s psychology-backed behavior change program, The Noom Mindset: Learn the Science, Lose the Weight is the inaugural book from the digital health company, which takes a deeper look at the strategies and science for creating lasting habit change and weight management. For more information visit noom.com/book/.