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Old Habits Die Hard… or Do They?

Jun 08 2020 - Blog

We have all heard of the saying, “A leopard never changes its spots.” While the original expression used to hold a negative connotation, it has gradually taken on a looser meaning commonly used to describe an old habit that is hard to shake off.

One classic case of the inertia of change would be the experience of adopting a new exercise routine. Many of us set out with grand goals of losing weight and living healthier, only to give up halfway. This may arise from the fear of the unfamiliar; the unwillingness to step out of one’s comfort zone.

This raises the question ─ just what does it take for someone to successfully change a deep-rooted habit or behaviour?

In his New York Times bestselling book, Atomic Habits, James Clear writes about the “Habit Loop” ─ four factors that work together to help someone build an entirely new habit. They are Cue, Craving, Response and Reward. As the human brain works on a trigger-and-reward basis, this loop can serve as an aid to help us adjust to what we hope to achieve.

A perfect example is our morning routine: wake up, head to the bathroom, take a shower, brush teeth, change out, make a cup of coffee and reply emails. It has been said that our mind is actually on something else 40−50% of the time while we complete routine actions on auto-pilot.

So one of the first steps to adopting a new habit is being able to identify moments that we can alter to improve our day. When we consciously switch up specific actions in our routine and train our mind to expect a reward for this new habit, the brain will use this connection to remember and replay the habit in the future.

We can apply this concept on the goal of starting a new exercise habit. Just by doing a simple morning stretch, you can start positively disrupting your sedentary lifestyle. Afterwards, treat yourself to a fragrant cup of coffee to connect your mind with this reward!

As we enter Week 2 of the 21-Day WFH Exercise Programme, Sky Premium wants to help you break out of your old routine and start living the Good Life. This week’s videos cover simple workouts that you can do right in the comfort of your home/office, using household items.

These 5- to 6-minute workouts are perfect for introducing into your morning, afternoon and/or evening routine. They are easy for beginners to pick up and will help you get your body moving to start an active lifestyle.

Remember, it takes gradual and realistic steps to attain your end-goal. Together, let’s keep improving and living our best life!


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Discover life’s treasures that await you—THE GOOD LIFE beckons.