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  • Writer's pictureNicole Strachan

Engineering Thriving Habits

Updated: Feb 1

Time to build on week one’s mantra. Now I want you to set up a fun routine to help you commit to your habit. This habit can be from any area of your life; sleep, family, work, exercise, nutrition anything! I strongly suggest just working on one habit. That’s because once you get comfortable with this process you will notice you can apply it to any area of your life. You will need the same journal you are using for your mantra, as you will now track your behaviours, by simply noting whether you did or did not complete the refreshed habit for that day.

Engineering your Habit

This means you have to work backwards from the habit you desire because it is the new habit you want to form. You will need to sit with this to reflect on your current and honest behaviours and feelings around this habit as it is now. And then you will map out how you want the habit to look like in real life. I won't sugarcoat this, this is the point of changing your rituals where all your discipline comes into play. That being said by staying committed to this process your new habit will become second nature to you and soon, you won't need to put so much effort into it.

I highly recommend working with someone to keep you accountable. This can look like hiring a coach, partnering with a gym buddy, setting up co-working sessions or confiding in a close friend. This is because encouragement helps you feel motivated and motivation is driven by your dopamine, and dopamine is released in your system when you feel like your needs are met. In short, having a cheerleader helps with joy and joy helps you do hard things.

Here’s an example of engineering a caffeine-free habit:

Identify the habit: I want to stop drinking coffee after 2 pm.

Identify how/when/where the habit happens: I drink coffee at 2:30 pm on weekdays during my last break at work. I don't drink coffee in the afternoons on the weekends

Identify the current behaviours that support this action: at 2:25 pm I secure my desk items. I grab my purse, go by Mickey’s desk and we walk to the atrium at the north end of the building and go to the coffee shop. At 2:30 I buy a black Americano and a protein bar, Mickey usually just comes for the company and a walk.

Identify how you feel once the habit is completed in the moment and for the rest of the day: I look forward to hanging out with Mickey and I enjoy walking around with them. Around 3 pm I get a jolt of energy. By 7 pm I feel a little jittery but overall fine. At 10 pm when I am trying to fall asleep, I toss and turn for hours. I do not sleep well most nights and I’m extra tired when I wake up at 5 am.

Now identify how you want to feel once you master this new habit: I want to feel energized all day, not just when I drink caffeine. I want to sleep well at night, I want to feel refreshed when I wake up.

Now is the fun part. You know your current 2:25 pm routine so now you are going to create a new one that supports your caffeine-free afternoons. You will focus on keeping the fun parts of the routine.

At 2:25 pm I secure my desk items. I then go to Mickey’s desk and we walk to the south atrium where there is a juice bar. We stop at the juice bar and I get a delicious caffeine-free energy shot and some fun chocolate hazelnut energy balls. There are a variety of flavours I want to try. In the evenings I no longer feel a caffeine crash and I feel well-rested in the days now that I fall asleep soundly at night.

Now you implement the new behaviours of the habit you are establishing. Every day you complete the habit give yourself a checkmark and continue meditating on your mantra and writing it down. Remember none of your habits are good or bad. Some of the things we do simply make our lives easier or harder. It's up to us as individuals to decide what we want. This week is about showing up for yourself so remember to pat yourself on the back if you even attempted to execute the ritual but only got through some of it.

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