Do you get through your morning on auto-pilot, only really waking up after your first cup of coffee?
Is your breakfast the same every day? week? year? Or do you skip breakfast altogether?
Making something delicious and nutritious for breakfast might seem a tough ask if you’re not a morning person. That’s why you should create better breakfast habits that allow you to get a good meal with no thinking required.
What’s a habit anyway?
A habitual behaviour is an automatic response to a cue that has been developed through repeated practice. The cues can be internal (e.g. you wake up hungry and want breakfast) or external i.e. in the environment (e.g. putting cereal in your bowl cues you to go to the fridge and get the milk). Most habits require very little thinking or effort to perform and can be difficult to change unless you know how. Once the habit has started it will continue to run unless it is interrupted by something else. For example, if you got out your bowl and then found you had no cereal the routine would stop and you wouldn’t go to the fridge to get the milk. In that case you’d have to think about what to do next.
Two steps to change your habits
Set small and simple goals
If we give ourselves a massive goal that’s hard to achieve we are more likely to give up trying. Instead make small goals, which will contribute towards your larger goal. The positive feeling you get when you succeed will keep you motivated and repeating the action will help build the new habit and replace the old one.
Let’s look at some examples
1. You don’t eat anything in the morning– Your first goal should be to eat something quick and easy- like a banana or cereal bar. If you set your sights on a plate of pancakes every morning that’s probably not going to happen and you’ll end up with nothing. Once you have the habit of wake up and eat, you can start to change what you’re eating.
2. You want to eat fruit at breakfast– Start by adding blueberries/ raspberries or pre-chopped fruit instead of something that takes time and effort to prepare. Once you’ve successfully integrated having fruit into your breakfast routine you can move on to other kinds that might involve more effort like apples, kiwis or persimmon.
Change cues in the environment
Change cues in the environment to stop the old habit from running automatically and trigger the desired behaviour. Disrupting the routine means that you have to choose what to do next. But if you create cues for the behaviour you want to perform then you don’t really need to give your next action too much thought at all.
If you consistently pick the same response to the new cue you will develop a new habit. Once this habit is formed you won’t need the cue to set it in motion because anymore it will automatically follow from actions before it in the sequence.
1. You always make coffee but forget to eat in the morning– Carrying on from the example above, you could store a jar of cereal bars or bunch of bananas in front of your coffee jar. That way you will have to move it to make the coffee and it will remind you to eat one.
2. You want to change from cows milk to almond milk– Store your almond milk in the place the cows milk usually is. That way when you reach in the fridge your hand will automatically land on it and you won’t have to remember to use it.
These two steps help create a routine for the new behaviour. By changing your environment and behaviour in small steps you reduce the number of choices you have to make and are more likely to achieve a successful change.
What are your breakfast goals? and how are you going to achieve them?
If you’re struggling to think of how to break it down into small steps or change your environment let me know. I’d love to help you find solutions.
Stay healthy and psyched until tomorrow.