I just read…skimmed J.D. Roth’s post about turning 50 wherein he riffed on his 50 nuggets of wisdom for the year. His paragraph about habits reminded me about reading The Power of Habit last summer, combined with my habit tracker in my Bullet Journal. I’ve been bullet journaling (bulleting?) for my fourth year now and find it an excellent tool to quickly write down notes, but more importantly serve as a a brain dump. Each month has a calendar, random list of tasks to do, and a habit tracker. I try to use it to see how much water I drink throughout the day (moderately useful) and how many days I go without alcohol (interesting). I’ve also tracked getting 8 hours of sleep a night and how days in a row I’ve gone with staying calm with my sons.
Duhigg talks about how we can’t change a habit, but rather change the reward or the cue. I’ve found that if I am feeling the need for something sweet, I will recognize this and eat a spoonful of coconut oil or almond butter, rather than to to chocolate. Or if I am upset at my family, I will recognize this and force myself to hug them or snuggle on the couch. This releases oxytocin (I hope it does…I’ve never measured…or maybe it’s serotonin?) and the anger lessens. See Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last for more about our world of hormones and when they visit. Also, go read Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens for his discussion of how things or events don’t make us happy, but serotonin does.