You’ve probably seen in the news that masks are now mandatory in Burlington, as of tomorrow…it won’t be much of a shift for me as I have been wearing one indoors for a while now.
But…it wasn’t always that way. When I first started venturing out after the pandemic hit I knew I should wear a mask in public places but I just kept forgetting to bring my mask with me. It just wasn’t a habit.
But because I was sold on the importance of wearing one, I decided I had to set myself up for success. I bought extra masks, washable ones and disposable ones. I had a pack of disposables in my car, as well as some by my front door. I kept my washable one in my car at all times…I had no more excuses.
If you have decided that you want to start a new habit, your very first step is to always drill down as to WHY this habit will lead you to a better place. Once you have that, there are lots of things you can do to help yourself out.
If you are still on the fence about masks then this video from PBS on how masks work might be helpful.
There are a lot of ways to develop good habits and make them stick and the one I just described above with mask wearing is something called ACTIVATION ENERGY.
If you are trying to implement a new habit, and/or trying to kick an unhealthy one to the curb, you should try changing the “activation energy” of your habits.
The idea is that each one of your habits requires a certain amount of energy to get done. And the more activation energy it needs, the less likely you’ll be to follow through and do it. (In case you didn’t notice, we humans are inherently lazy, we are always looking to find the most efficient way to do things…)
Let’s say you want to start eating more vegetables:
- Decrease the activation energy of your desired habit (eating vegetables). For example, wash and cut up your vegetables and leave them front and centre in your fridge.
- Increase the activation energy of your undesired habit (eating junk food). For example, don’t have it in your house at all. If you really want it, you have to go out and buy it.
Let’s say you want to start exercising more:
- Decrease your activation energy of your desired habit (exercise). For example, schedule a time to exercise and either find a friend or hire a trainer who will help you stick to your schedule.
- Increase your activation energy of your undesired habit (wasting valuable time scrolling on your phone). For example, program down time on your phone so you can’t use certain addictive apps until a certain time of day.
By changing the activation energy of your behaviors, you can nudge yourself in the right direction.