First, we need to understand how a habit forms. To do this, think about the following situation: your future client is planning to start training, but he wakes up with the deadline to go to work, and when he arrives tired from work, he dismounts on the couch and turns on the television.
At that moment, he may have forgotten that he had planned to train or if he does, he can’t help but think of the torture of getting up to sweat. And more: with how hungry he is, in addition to not training, he ends up ordering fast food to reward his tiring day.
And so, what to do at that moment? How to reverse this situation and create healthy habits that avoid poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle? Keep reading to find out.
How Habits And Motivation Work
In the context of this student portrayed earlier, notice one thing: when we talk about motivation, we are talking about a psychobiological process that gives you perceptions about what is or is not worth doing. Thus, habits are formed because our brain perceives that we release more dopamine for one behavior than another.
After a series of occurrences, a behavior becomes automatic (habit), whether it is beneficial to your health. That is: healthy and unhealthy habits can be installed similarly.
Therefore, your future client (from the example above) let the unconscious part decide for him. He did not deliberate what he would do about training for the next day and continued in his automatic behaviors until the day was over.
Note how this process occurs: everything that becomes automatic (be it good or bad for your health) is perceived as advantageous for your brain because it spends less energy.
Choices like waking up a little later instead of waking up early to train, getting home and relaxing, eating fast food full of energy instead of going to train, among others, start to demand some discipline and persistence.
This is because, being automatic, the brain is flooded with dopamine since the behaviors that occur up to this point are perceived as more pleasurable. Thus, it is obvious that without a strategy, your client will prefer to continue the way they are, even knowing consciously that they should eat better and start exercising.
But then, how can this person reverse this situation and create new healthy habits? Find out below.
The Structure Of Habits
Considering this situation, we noticed that, in addition to creating a new habit (training), we need to understand how we broke an old habit that is not helping us.
In the example, we have a person who has created the habit of waking up at the last minute for work, collapsing on the couch, and ordering food at the end of the day – despite understanding that these are unhealthy behaviors and that he needs to start exercising.
So we have some behaviors that he should leave out and one that he should include. Returning to how habit forms, we need to look at the following key points:
All behavior is triggered by the trigger and repeated by the reward. Your future client had such attitudes:
- Slept late (trigger to wake up at short notice);
- Slept a little longer in the morning, almost being late for work (behavior);
- But I enjoyed a few extra minutes in bed (reward).
In that case, if the unconscious realizes that waking up at the last minute releases a satisfactory amount of dopamine, it will motivate you to repeat this behavior until it becomes a habit.
Following, when arriving home, instead of training, your future client throws himself on the couch because he is very tired and hungry (triggers) and watches television while eating his fast food (behavior) and enjoys the rest of the day watching his series with their combo of fries and large soda (reward).
From this, it is clear that it is necessary to break this vicious cycle. See below how to perform this process.
How To Create Healthy Habits
At this point, you must understand that to start changing habits and identify and act on the trigger. Therefore, your future client should devise a strategy of simple actions that will reflect very clearly on their behavior, facilitating the process of starting a new routine and healthy habits.
For example: if you help him identify these triggers, you can also make him realize which one is easier to start acting on. I have explained below how some behavioural approaches that can help.
The client may, for example, realize that it is easier for him to wake up earlier to train than to train after work. Thus, he must identify and act on the trigger (going to sleep too late).
We need to define the actions to define which trigger will be addressed. For this, the following question can help: what can you do to sleep earlier? When answering, the client must analyze whether that is an action that he can easily complete because if it is something that he perceives as very complicated to do, the chances of failure are very high.
If the client realizes that it is easier for him to organize himself to train after work, the triggers are tiredness and hunger. In this context, remember that hunger directly interferes with the perception of well-being, making us feel more tired than if we weren’t hungry.
Here, you can attack the hunger trigger, suggesting that he take something practical to eat during working hours so he doesn’t arrive at the end of the day just thinking about resting and eating.
In summary, the practice of physical exercises is directly related to behavior. Therefore, Physical Education professionals must also understand behavior and the creation of healthy habits since sometimes discipline and motivation will depend on a strategy. As simple as it is, humans are addicted to the chemistry generated by their recurring behaviors.
Based on this perception, we understand that some people find it difficult to start training. Furthermore, we realize that this is not just laziness but a behavioral process that can be transformed with a slightly more attentive look from professionals.
Also Read: What Are Foods Rich In Dietary Fiber?