Celebrate Your Good Choices

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

Part of the reason bad habits stick is that they make you feel good: Eating a piece of chocolate gives your blood sugar a boost and sends dopamine, a pleasure chemical, rushing through your body. When you’re trying to make a change, though, you can be depriving yourself of that chemical rush—there’s negative reinforcement for positive change. Flip the script: Celebrate your successes in making good choices before, during, and after you make the choice you’re after. Here are 3 simple ways to do that:

Be grateful before you act One of the ways Tony Robbins suggests his followers set their day up for success is with a morning gratitude session—not just for what you have or did, but for what you envision yourself doing that day. In his “Hour of Power,” Robbins encourages users to imagine themselves having done the act they’re after and saying thank you for having done it in advance. If your goal is to add a 10-minute walk to your lunch break, start your day by thanking yourself for it: “I’m so grateful for my lunchtime walk.” Imagine yourself taking the walk, the way it will feel and how good you’ll feel afterward. Use that motivation to carry you through the goal.

Reward yourself when you make the choice When it comes time to make a good choice that reinforces your new habit, remember to celebrate it. If you’ve skipped grabbing a chocolate from a co-worker’s desk at 2 pm or eaten an apple or taken your daily walk, reinforce the habit: Tell yourself, verbally, that you did a good job. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Surround the act with positive associations that you’ll remember and form to the action—turning it into a habit.

Remember your success at the end of the day Take another opportunity to celebrate when you’ve finished for the day. One easy way to do this is with a rubber band: Start the day with the band on your left wrist. When you do the action you’re aiming to make a habit—eating an apple or drinking a large bottle of water—move the band from your left to the right wrist. When you go to bed and remove the band, you’ll remind yourself that today, I had success. If you didn’t? Don’t beat yourself up. Commit to moving that band from left to right the next day.