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  • Answer 1/9

    Why do habits have such a strong hold?

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    When you want to change a habit, it helps to understand why that can be so hard to do. A behavior like eating cake for dessert every night might have started because cake tastes good, but the more you repeat the action, the more it becomes a routine you do without thinking. You might even have a slice on nights when you aren’t even hungry or the cake is stale. That’s the power of a habit.

  • Question 1/9

    What’s the best way to wipe out an old habit?

  • Answer 1/9

    What’s the best way to wipe out an old habit?

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    Once a habit takes hold, it’s easily triggered by a cue, the same way having a cocktail triggers some smokers to light up. Derail old behaviors by erasing those reminders. If you usually sit and snack in an easy chair while watching TV, stand up or do stretches instead. Rather than eating ice cream at the kitchen counter after a meal, make a cup of herbal tea and sip it in a different room.

  • Question 1/9

    You want to get in the habit of getting more exercise. Your first step should be:

  • Answer 1/9

    You want to get in the habit of getting more exercise. Your first step should be:

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    It’s important to know how good habits will boost your health, but it’s not enough just to hear it from someone else or read a pamphlet. To switch habits, you need to define your personal goals. They don’t need to be complicated. One study found that the simple notion of better health is a powerful motivator.

  • Answer 1/9

    After you set a goal, it’s important to:

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    Here are your next steps to success: Write out exactly what you need to do to build up a habit, like “walk for 15 minutes” or “spend 30 minutes looking for healthy recipes.” Then, sit down with a calendar to fit these steps in your daily schedule. Get support from loved ones to make sure you follow your plan. Invite a friend or co-worker to take a daily walk with you, and ask for help to handle a task that could keep you from that walk. 

  • Question 1/9

    How many behaviors should I change at once?

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    How many behaviors should I change at once?

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    This is a very personal decision. Sometimes people feel overwhelmed the more changes they try to make at once. On the other hand, studies show that if several changes fit together -- the way a better diet, more exercise, and quitting smoking all add up to great health -- you might see them as one goal. The steps you take to reach each one may not seem any harder than taking on just one habit at a time.

  • Question 1/9

    What’s the most helpful tool to build new habits?

  • Answer 1/9

    What’s the most helpful tool to build new habits?

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    A daily journal works so well because you put down all the details of your plan and see your progress. Be very specific. List portion sizes of foods for every meal and write down when and how you’ll exercise. Regular check-ins with health pros can give you an added boost, especially to kick a habit like smoking. But those conversations alone may not have as strong an effect as a daily journal to keep you on track.

  • Question 1/9

    How much time does it take to form a habit?

  • Answer 1/9

    How much time does it take to form a habit?

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    • Correct Answer:

    Sometimes it happens sooner, but allow about 2 months. Repetition is key. The more you practice a new behavior, the more natural it will become. Also, expect some slip-ups along the way. Don’t beat yourself up over them or let them derail your efforts. Research shows they can happen as often as six times a week, often when you’re distracted.

  • Question 1/9

    What makes many people slip back into bad habits?

  • Answer 1/9

    What makes many people slip back into bad habits?

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    It’s hard to break the link between familiar cues and old habits, like walking into a pastry shop anytime you pass one. Stress is a factor, too -- it can bump up the desire to overeat or pour another glass of wine. Make change easy on yourself. If you can’t join a gym that’s close to home or work, use home equipment or find free workout videos online. If you have a hard time eating healthy at restaurants, make as many meals as you can at home.

  • Question 1/9

    What’s the best motivation to stick with a plan?

  • Answer 1/9

    What’s the best motivation to stick with a plan?

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    • Correct Answer:

    Praise is a great motivator to stick with your plan. Congratulate yourself every time you practice a healthy habit. Rewards work, too, as long as they aren’t related to the habits you’re changing. For instance, if you've stopped buying and eating junk food, use the money you've saved to buy nice exercise clothes or a gadget on your wish list. You deserve it!

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    You correctly answered out of questions.

    Results:

    Well done! You know what it takes to break bad habits and build better ones.

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    Not bad, but you could learn more about forming healthy habits.

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    It’s hard to give up old habits. Try again and see if you can learn more.

Sources | Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on January 07, 2021 Medically Reviewed on January 07, 2021

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on
January 07, 2021

IMAGE PROVIDED BY:

1) rez-art / Getty Images

SOURCES:

University of North Carolina: “Changing Habits.”

Annual Review of Psychology: “The Psychology of Habit.”

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity : “Putting habit into practice, and practice into habit: a process evaluation and exploration of the acceptability of a habit-based dietary behaviour change intervention,” “What are the most effective techniques in changing obese individuals’ physical activity self-efficacy and behaviour: a systematic review and meta-analysis.”

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin: “The Pull of the Past: When Do Habits Persist Despite Conflict With Motives?”

University of Southern California: “Habits.”

Journal of Clinical Medicine: “Effectiveness of Approaches to Increase Physical Activity Behavior to Prevent Chronic Disease in Adults: A Brief Commentary.”

BMC Psychology: “Exploratory study of the impact of perceived reward on habit formation.”

American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine: “Goal Setting and Action Planning for Health Behavior Change.”

Journal of Consumer Research: “Too Much of a Good Thing: The Benefits of Implementation Intentions Depend on the Number of Goals.”US Preventive Services Task Force Evidence Syntheses: “Behavioral Counseling to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Persons With Cardiovascular Risk Factors: An Updated Systematic Evidence Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force [Internet].”

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: “Psychosocial interventions for smoking cessation in patients with coronary heart disease.”

British Journal of General Practice: “Making health habitual: the psychology of ‘habit-formation’ and general practice.”

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