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It’s Not About Willpower: Make It a Habit! by Caren Baruch-Feldman

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In this presentation, Dr. Caren Baruch-Feldman reviews the latest research in habit building and willpower (based on 4 books).
Dr. Baruch-Feldman is a licensed psychologist and a certified school psychologist. She has been on the EOT faculty since 2011. www.drbaruchfeldman.com

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It’s Not About Willpower: Make It a Habit! by Caren Baruch-Feldman

  1. 1. It’s Not About Willpower: Make It a Habit! ARDSLEY WELLNESS FAIRPresented by: Dr. Caren Baruch-Feldman www.drbaruchfeldman.com
  2. 2. A Little Bit About MeBefore After
  3. 3. Goals for Today1. Review the latest research in habit building and willpower (based on 4 books).2. Help you to develop your own positive, new habits.3. Teach you the secrets of how to maintain these new habits by being more mindful and less impulsive.
  4. 4. Four Books Serve as Inspiration
  5. 5. The BAD News1. Our brains are lazy.2. Glucose which releases dopamine hijacks the brain.3.Stress makes us more susceptible to fall into bad habits.4. Willpower is a limited resource.5. Glucose/sugar refuels willpower (ugh).6. We tend to be short-term as opposed to long- term hedonists.
  6. 6. GOOD News1. You can build those willpower muscles.2. Since willpower is limited – need to make into a habit so willpower is not being used.3. Pick gateway habits (write it down, meditation, and exercise). These types of habits build resistance muscles.4. Develop beliefs that will inspire you, focusing on long term goals as opposed to the immediate gratification.
  7. 7. What the Research Tells Us In Terms of Changing A Habit• Change one habit at a time.• Wait 10 minutes.• Pre-commit. Makes it difficult to reverse your preferences.• Practice meditation (APPS = Take a Break; Mindfulness Meditation)• Get social support and make it public.
  8. 8. What You Can Do To Change a Habit Cont…• Be proactive.• Know your triggers. Don’t think you’ll outsmart old habits. Instead try to avoid them.• Make it easy to be good and hard to be bad.• Give yourself credit.• Takes at least 3 weeks, sometimes even longer to change a habit.• Change your outlook/thinking. Develop a new belief.
  9. 9. Changing a Habit is Not Enough: Need to Change the Belief • Stand firm. No wavering. • Remind yourself of the whole story, not just the beginning. • Stay away from- “what the heck phenomena”. • Stay away from thinking your are doing “good”. • “Your future self, is no better than your current self.” • Seek to be consistent.
  10. 10. Beliefs • Stand firm.• What are your • Remind yourself of the whole sabotaging story, not just the beginning. beliefs? • Stay away from - “what the heck phenomena”.• What beliefs • Stay away from - thinking your are doing “good”. inspire you to • “Your future self, is no better meet your long- than your current self.” • I will avoid, rather than think term goals? I have the willpower to overcome.
  11. 11. Response Card: Advantage Card• A response card is a tool that helps you change your mindset and overcome sabotaging thoughts. • My Advantage Card• Read the card everyday and when you are struggling • I’ll look better. with a craving, temptation, • I’ll be able to wear a smaller size. or sabotaging thought. • I’ll be in better health. • I’ll feel better physically.• By reading everyday you • I’ll feel more in control. make this into a habit.• Make your own Advantage Card.
  12. 12. Let’s Put Our Ideas Into Practice: “Change that Habit Form”BAD HABIT NEW, POSITIVE HABIT1. Write down one bad habit 1. Write down one new that you would like to habit that you would like work on. to work on.2. What is the cue, 2. What Is the cue, routine, routine, and reward for and reward for the new this bad habit? habit?3. What is the sabotaging 3. What is the new, rational belief? belief?
  13. 13. Example of Bad Habit/Good HabitBAD HABIT NEW, POSITIVE HABIT1. Bad Habit to Change? Getting New Habit? Staying calm when my frustrated with my husband when he gets annoyed about husband gets annoyed about small small things. things.2. What Is the Cue, Routine, and 2. What Is the Cue, Routine, and Reward Reward for this Old Habit? for the New Habit? Cue = Husband gets annoyed over Cue = Husband gets annoyed over a small things. small thing. Routine = I get frustrated that he Routine = Sit with the feeling. Don’t is annoyed and show it on my try to be controlling and know it all. face. Reward = Better relationship with Reward = Get it off my chest and feel superior. my husband.3. Sabotaging Belief? I am right and 3. New, Rational belief? My relationship he is being ridiculous. with my husband is more important than being right. Thinking about the whole story, not just the beginning.
  14. 14. Example of Bad Habit/Good HabitBAD HABIT NEW, POSITIVE HABIT1. Bad habit to change? Eating 1. What is the new habit ? Staying cookies after 9pm. out of the kitchen after 9 pm.2. What Is the cue, routine, and 2. What is the cue, routine, and reward of this old habit? reward for the new habit? Cue = feeling entitled/craving. Cue = feeling entitled/craving Routine = go into the kitchen for Routine = go into bedroom and just 1 cookie, but eat many more. drink decaf coffee. Reward = dopamine rush and Reward = continue to fit into my pleasure from taste of cookie. size 4 pants.3. What is your sabotaging 3. What is your new belief? thought(s)? I am entitled. I have “Nothing taste as good as thin been so good. The cookies are so feels”. I need to remember the GOOD!!! whole story. Stand firm.
  15. 15. Response Card: Advantage CardsAdvantage Card for Watching Advantage Card for Staying My Weight Calm with My Husband • I’ll look better. • I’ll have a better• I’ll be able to wear a smaller relationship with my size. husband. • I’ll be in better health. • Will be a good role model • I’ll feel better physically. for my children. • I’ll feel more in control.
  16. 16. What Strategies Will I Choose to Support My New Habit?1. Gateway Habits (exercise and write it down)? ___2. Stand Firm? ___3. Meditate? ___4. Seek Social Support and/or Make It Public? ___5. Give Myself Credit? ___6. Change My Beliefs? ___7. Use an Advantage Card? ___8. Make It Easy to Follow My New Habit and Hard to Follow My Old One? ___9. All of the Above? ___
  17. 17. Summary• Willpower is a limited resource so make it a habit.• Be proactive, mindful, and avoid triggers.• Give yourself credit. Don’t put yourself down.• Develop beliefs that will inspire you.• Be mindful and reflective, focusing on the long term goals as opposed to the immediate rewards.

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