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7 Scientifically Proven Habit Strategies For Moms

7 Scientifically Proven Habit Strategies For Moms

 

Did you know that approximately 45%
of your daily rituals are considered habitual
– habit formed routines!

 

If you have found yourself failing with a new habit, maybe it’s not YOU that’s the problem, maybe it’s the process that you are using to create the habit. With is in mind we are looking at scientifically proven habit Strategies and how you can implement them.

Disclaimer – I sometimes use affiliate links in my posts, this means that if you buy something after clicking on my link, I get a small percentage of the sale at no cost for you.

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1. Keep The Decisions Simple!

 

Often, we over complicate things, the best way to make a new habit stick is to keep things simple. A huge problem many of us face these days is “decision fatigue” this refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made over the course of a day.

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Decision fatigue is now known to be the cause of irrational decision-making, such as choosing cheesecake at night instead of a piece of fruit. You know the fruit is better for you but, by the end of the day, you’re tired and just take the easy route. It’s more about bad decision-making than willpower.

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Action point:

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Think about your new habit, what decisions do you have to take to make it happen?
What can you do to reduce the chance of making a bad decision?
How can you make it so simple, make it a no-brainer to stick with?

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Have a meal plan stuck to the fridge so you don’t have to decide each meal time what to eat.
Don’t buy the cheesecake!

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Gamification To Maintain The Passion

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2. Start Small

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The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that we often choose a huge goal and the reason that they fail is that it’s because the goal is too big and starting out doing too much at once then not being able to maintain it. This is why scientifically proven habit strategies will help you keep your new year’s resolutions this time!

You need to start with a version of the habit which is incredibly easy. It must be so easy,  that you can’t say no.

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According to Wood and Neal (2007, A new look at habits and the habit-goal interface. Psychological review) “Different brain systems control goal-directed actions and habits. These two systems influence behavior independently of each other.”

The prefrontal cortex is the goal-directed system and controls conscious thought. This is the system we use when we are starting a new habit.

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The basal ganglia are the habit systems that tend to be more automated and are guided by cues or triggers, this system controls subconscious habits such as washing your hands after going to the toilet or putting on the seat belt when you get into the car.

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We need to start small and work the two systems together initially using conscious thought until the habit has stuck and it becomes an unconscious action.

This is the whole premise behind The Kaizen Revolution – my membership site for entrepreneur moms, taking baby steps to smash those big goals.

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Action point:

Until your habit, it has become an unconscious action you need to be conscious of what you want to do. Setting a reminder on your phone or having Post-It notes to help you remember to do the new habit is an easy way to get started.

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3. Habit Stacking

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The phrase Habit Stacking was coined by best-selling author S.J Scott. In his book Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes Or Less. The theory is that you attach a new habit to one that already exists.

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For example:
After washing the dishes + I will wipe down the oven.

Before I go to bed + I will cleanse my face and put on night cream.

Before each meal + I will drink a glass of water.

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Habit stacking works if you keep each habit small and doable. The small wins help build momentum because they are easy to remember and complete. This fits perfectly with the kaizen philosophy of making a small improvement every day.

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Action point:

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Get out to your journal and write down the sentence:

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Before/after [ I do this current habit], I will [do this new habit]

before/after ___________________, I will __________________

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Habit stacking is a GREAT way to help kids get into a routine. Routine cut down on our decision-making process and work well for kids. Setting up a good morning and bedtime routine – (the two times of day that parents report as being the most stressful) can make the difference to a family being at each other’s throats or actually enjoying each others company.

Just remember to make it easy and logical.

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Gamification To Maintain The Passion

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4. Gamification To Maintain The Passion

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How are you going to stay passionate and focused?

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Charles Duhigg, author of The Power Of Habit

“Habits are not conscious decisions, but instead are routines. Once we start the routine, we go on autopilot and simply go through the steps of the routine – we don’t even think about it. This means that you need to establish a routine for the habit you want to add.”

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Gamification as explained in Nir Eyal’s book Hooked, has become very popular over the last few years in a none gaming context to improver user engagement, organizational productivity and rewards from drinking coffee to reducing traffic violations.

Combining gamification with habit-forming can be a fun way produce the results that you want. It is a good idea to think of some kind of reward system which will help you to form your habits and reach your goals.

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These rewards need to be personal to you.  Rewards that don’t excite you are not going to motivate you to complete your task. You also need to keep in mind that the reward should be suitable for your habits that you are forming, rewarding yourself with a piece of chocolate cake for sticking to your diet is undoing the good work that you’ve done. <– Thanks, Captain Obvious!

There always needs to be intrinsic motivation for this to be truly successful.

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Action point:

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In your, Journal decide which reward you will have the habits that you are forming comment.

For example:

If you go running every day for 30 days you will buy yourself a cute running top.

If you Journal every day then you treat yourself to new stationary

If you finish your work task within the hour you can spend 10 minutes scrolling Facebook

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If I _______________  then I  will reward myself with _________________

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Make the rewards realistic and suited to the goal you are rewarding yourself for, you need to feel like you have earned it but don’t make it too much of a stretch that you never reach it. Small rewards leading up to something bigger.

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It also needs to tap into your intrinsic motivation, not extrinsic. If the rewards are self-motivating there is a much higher chance of it working whereas, just like rewards charts for kids that work on extrinsic motivation, they work initially but is rarely something they stick at.

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 Scientifically Proven Habit Strategies For Moms | habits | habit forming | resolutions | Kaizen | #kaizen #habits #productivity

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5. Laser Focus

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Laser focus is a new buzz word: To achieve what you want, you need to remove all surrounding distractions.

Easier said than done.

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“Field experiments have established that around 45 percent of human behavior can be considered habitual, in the sense that actions are repeated daily or almost daily in the same physical setting and with little or no conscious thought.” (Wood, Quinn, & Kashy 2002).

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One of the many problems we have when trying to form a new habit is the constant distractions, whether it be social media, the family or something else.

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Once the habit is formed and uses no conscious thought, distractions are much less of a problem. But as we are forming a new habit, distractions often de-rail us.

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Let’s say you are aiming to go to the gym 3 times a week but you never manage it because friends invite you out for drinks after work.

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You want to write a daily blog post but the kids are driving you nuts, either creating World War III in the living room or getting Lego stuck up their nose!

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You want to start meditating every day but the noise in the house makes it impossible to concentrate.

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Action point:

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Take out your journal and brainstorm all the different ways that you may be distracted when trying to stick with your new habit.

Once you have a list of all the different distractions that may (or may not) happen, come up with an action plan to have a way to deal with it before it actually happens.

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You are aiming to go to the gym 3 times a week which friends invite you out for drinks after work. –  talk to your friends tomorrow, explain which days are your gym days and ask them not to invite you out those days to help you stick to your new routine.

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You want to write a daily blog post but the kids are driving you nuts. –  schedule a time when the kids are supervised by someone else or in bed or down for a nap so that you can work efficiently and quickly.  This may mean getting up a little bit earlier or changing your routine so that you get some quiet time to actually write.

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You want to start meditating every day the noise in the house makes it difficult to concentrate. –  Schedule your meditation time when the house is quiet or maybe take your meditation and do it in the bath? Or buy some noise-reducing headphones so that you hear the chaos in the house.

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6. Celebrate the wins

Our limbic system produces the neurochemicals in your brain that tell your body about what’s good or bad for you. Basically, it’s a survival mechanism when something good happens the brain releases the feel-good chemicals which are endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. And when it’s something bad or dangerous cortisol is released.

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We want to use motivation and rewards to help us release dopamine. Back in the day that meant getting food and water but we can benefit in other ways in these modern times.

Something as simple as doing a victory dance or congratulating yourself on any small goal will allow a shot of dopamine to be released.

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Of course, that’s has a great knock-on effect, the more you feel good the more you want to repeat the process.

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Action point:

After completing your habit, praise yourself tell you that you are great. Do a happy dance, whatever it is that you prefer by way of reward. And celebrate your mini win no matter how small it is.

Encourage the kids to do the same when they have had a small win too, especially important for kids with low self-esteem.

In The Kaizen Revolution we have a weekly celebration thread so everyone can celebrate their wins, no matter how big or small. let’s face it, when your a mom, some days, just keeping the kids alive is worth celebrating!

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 Scientifically Proven Habit Strategies For Moms

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7. Fall Down Seven Times Get Up Eight

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Fall Down Seven Times Get Up Eight is an old Japanese saying. It means that no matter how many times you fail to brush yourself down, get up and try again.

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The final one of the scientifically proven habit strategies tackles the problem of when trying to form a new habit but you have fallen off the wagon. Often people give up at this stage and tell themselves that they are no good, rubbish, that they can’t-do it.

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Why does this happen? “Learning and memory research shows that habits, even when changed, tend not to be forgotten. Instead, they become dormant and can be revived relatively easily even after significant time has passed” (Bouton, M. E. (2000). A learning theory perspective on lapse, relapse, and the maintenance of behavior change. Health Psychology).

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“Initially successful efforts at changing behavior can fail to stick because bad habits re-exert themselves over time” (Tobias, R. (2009). Changing behavior by memory aids: a social psychological model of prospective memory and habit development tested with dynamic field data. Psychological review).

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In a nutshell, even when we have created new habits, old habits are still programmed within us. Even if the new habit has become an unconscious habit meaning that we do it automatically, we can still be derailed, so it is important to be conscious of what may cause the derailment.

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Your Daily Yoga routine maybe going great but, when the school holidays come around suddenly…

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You have been eating sugar-free for 2 weeks without problems then you go out to lunch with friends…

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You have been getting up early to sneak in 30 minutes work before the kids get up then one of them gets sick and…

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Action point:

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In your journal brainstorm all the possible things that could derail your new habit and then think of ways to deal that with them before it happens.

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If this is a habit that you are trying to reform think about what’s derailed you in the past and how you can stop that from happening again.

Also, journal about how to get back in the saddle as quickly as possible. Brainstorming about WHY this habit is important to you will give you some great ammo for when it happens and you are trying to talk yourself back into the rhythm of things.

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7 Scientifically Proven Habit Strategies For Moms | habits | habit forming | #kaizen #habits #productivity #mompreneur“>

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The science behind successful habits - how to make you habits stick #goals #habits #goalssetting #goals #productivity #kaizen“>

The science behind successful habits - how to make you habits stick #goals #habits #goalssetting #goals #productivity #kaizen

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7 Scientifically proven habit strategies so that you stick to your goals |habit forming | good habits | break bad habits | productivity | kaizen hacks | #productivity #habits #goals #kaizen“>
12 Responses to "7 Scientifically Proven Habit Strategies For Moms"
  1. Megan says:

    Great post! I especially love “celebrate the wins”. We often forget to do that but it is so important!

  2. N says:

    Great tips!

  3. Mink says:

    Great advice – I already do #4 and #7 and find them really effective, so I’ll try the others!

    • jo ebisujima says:

      Brilliant, let me know how it goes 🙂

  4. Lee Hudson says:

    Great advice! Thank you xx

    • jo ebisujima says:

      keep me posted on how it works for you 🙂

  5. Abbie says:

    Yes! Good tips! Habit stacking works for me, also getting back on the horse like it’s no big deal. Need to develop laser focus though, I’m so easily distracted.

    • jo ebisujima says:

      Yeah, it’s funny how some people really struggle with one thing and others with something else. You are lucky that getting back to it comes easy, I have clients that really struggle with that

  6. I had never heard of stacking habits before but is sure does a lot of sense!

  7. Patricia NOEL says:

    What a great read! and nice to be reminding of a few principles…Habit stacking is really not my forte…Need to work on it!

    • jo ebisujima says:

      Baby steps! you’ll get there 🙂

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