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Develop a Perfect Posture Habit in 3 Steps

Develop a Perfect Posture Habit in 3 Steps

Developing a perfect posture habit leads to greater confidence, health, and attractiveness. But how do you develop that habit? What is a habit?

According to Charles Duhigg in his book, The Power of Habit, a habit is defined by a Cue, Routine, and Reward. The cue is what sparks the habit, the routine is the action you go through, and the reward is what you go through the routine in pursuit of.

How Do You Develop Habits?

Here’s an example: say you have a habit of sleeping in every day. The cue in this case is probably your alarm clock going off. The routine you go through is hitting snooze and getting back in bed. And the reward is the cozy warmth under the covers that you can only experience right after waking up.

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That would probably be considered a bad habit, but the same methodology can be used to understand good habits. Imagine exercising: your cue could be leaving your clothes out the night before and seeing them when you wake up. The routine is going for a run or to the gym. And the reward is the feeling of satisfaction and fatigue that comes with a good workout.

Going back to the sleeping-in habit, what do you do to change it? You usually have two options: find a new cue that you can react differently to, or find a new routine for the same cue that gives a similar reward. The first works sometimes, but the second is much more effective and easier to adopt.

In the sleeping-in case, you’d need to find a new routine that can be a response to the alarm going off and that still provides cozy warmth. Some options could be getting in a hot shower, or having a hot cup of coffee or tea. It’s not exactly the same, but it will usually suffice.

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Good posture is tricky though…it doesn’t have the obvious cue-routine-reward relationship that sleeping in does. Bad posture is simply something we do all of the time. So, how do we fix it?

Let’s Build a Good Posture Habit

When there’s no clear, existing cue-routine-reward relationship we have to create one from scratch. It’s difficult, but it can be done. It requires identifying the routine we want, then finding a reward that can make it worth doing, then finding a cue to start the whole thing going. So let’s get started.

1. Find the Routine

This is pretty easy. You want good posture, so the routine is fixing your posture. That means pulling your shoulders back, making sure your head is up, making sure your lower back isn’t arched, and then keeping it all in place for long than a second or two. It can help to look in a mirror while you do this a few times to learn how good postures feels.

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2. Find the Reward

This is where it starts to get tricky. I’m going to assume that you don’t want to carry a bag of Oreos around and give yourself a cookie every time you fix your posture–that would just lead to a new bad habit. So how do we reward ourselves for good posture? I see a few options:

  • Similar to exercising, it actually feels really good to stand up straight.
  • There’s the mental benefit of knowing you’re looking more confident and attractive.
  • Keep a checklist going of how many times you’ve fixed your posture, and try to beat your record each day.

But ultimately you’ll need to find what works best for you. So long as it’s motivating and keeps you doing it.

3. Now Find the Cue

This will be the hardest part. There’s no clear cue for posture since, ideally, it’s something you’re doing all of the time. Getting out of bed has a clear cue, not having dessert has a clear cue, but posture? That’s tricky.

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In order to solve this, we’ll need to make up our own cues to spark the perfect posture habit. We can do this two ways: through event associations or through environmental associations.

To base your habit on an event, simply pick something that’s going to happen frequently that you can peg the good habit to. In this case, you might pick:

  • When you sit down, check your posture.
  • When you’re standing in line waiting for something, check your posture.
  • When you get up to get a coffee or tea, check your posture.
  • Walk to the bathroom and back with perfect posture.
  • When you check your email, check your posture.
  • Set an alarm to ping you every 15, 20, or 30 minutes to remind you to check your posture.

You can also pick an environmental cue that you peg the habit to, such as:

  • Become sensitive to other people’s posture; when you see someone slouching, correct your own.
  • Take a moment to recognize what it feels like when you slouch, become sensitive to that feeling and correct it throughout the day.
  • Keep checking that you’re sitting back in your chair and not slouching.

Of these I think the event association is best. It’s easiest to remember, and you’ll constantly be cued to check your posture. Pick a few of the event cues, write them down, remind yourself of them every morning, and as you keep correcting yourself you’ll find you need to remember to do it less and less. You’ll quickly develop a habit of perfect posture.

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Nat Eliason

Writer and Host of Nat Chat

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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