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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Bari Levine

How to Hack Our Habits (Part 6)

At last, the habit series has come to an end. By way of reminder, over the last several weeks we have dissected the habit loop--cue, routine, reward--and the craving that keeps the cycle ongoing. If you've been reading along passively, now is the time to take real action.

Being in motion v. taking action. In his book "Atomic Habits," James Clear makes a clear distinction between "being in motion" and "taking action." If you're like me, you may often think you're moving forward only to find you're still standing still. According to Clear, "[w]hen you're in motion, you're planning and strategizing and learning. . . . Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will deliver an outcome." When it comes to achieving your wellness goals, how often have you been in motion--following wellness influencers, buying new sneakers, searching for apps that track sleep? How often do these preparations turn into noticeable change--healthier diet, increased physical strength, a better night's sleep? For many of us, the issue with healthy habits is not a lack of knowledge but going out and doing the work. So next time you are thinking about how you can improve your physical, mental or emotional well-being, stop thinking and start doing.

Just show up. Often times the thing that holds us back is our striving for perfection. This is so common that we've all certainly heard some variation of the famous phrase, "perfection is the enemy of good." But, according to Clear, "if you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you'll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you're done." Imagine how much happier, stronger or well-rested you could be if you were 37% happier, stronger or more well-rested than you are today. But to reap these benefits, you have to show up, on your good days and your bad days. "Going to the gym for five minutes may not improve your performance, but it reaffirms your identity" as a gym-goer.

If you need, take a few minutes and go back through the series. But then put the computer away and do something about it.

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