Habit loops are great. Creating one is an easy 3 step formula that can be individually designed to promote an automatic habitual routine. Charles Durhigg explains this research proven cycle in his bestselling book “The power of habit.” So does James clear in his published works. I am going to attempt to adapt this formula to my volcanic model of change and apply it to postural correction.

The loop is straightforward consisting of 3 elements. There is a reminder(cue), a routine(action), and a reward(positive mental reinforcement). (3R’s).

In other words ,
1st – The first element is the deliberately planned ,environmental structure and design of the the desired habit being trained. It is purposely constructed to be signaled each day .This may be chosen to be a visual, audio or timed reminder, so that the desired action is cued each time, no matter what distracting thought or urgent matter may be present.

2st –The 2nd element , consists of the action component. It is the execution of the routine itself.

3st –The purpose of the reward (3rd element) that follows is to positively reinforce the mindset to acknowledge the successful completion of the routine so that it may be motivated to repeat the cycle the next day. Structure -action -mindset. Each reinforces the other and the loop creates an upward spiral in the direction of automatic habit formation. Without the reminder, mental distractions prevent consistent awareness to take the desired action. Without reward, there is no incentive to continue repeating the action. These are the two most common reasons why we fall short of our desired objectives. And its not personal. Its the way our brain and nerve connections are hardwired. With time, practice and consistent daily repetition of this 3 step loop, the middle action step becomes the easiest part, requiring very little cognitive brain activity or awareness. That’s the essence of automaticity. It takes the constant need for willpower and self-discipline out of the equation.

Now lets apply this formula to posture correction with an illustration. The cue should be tied in with something that you already do each day. For instance, if you already choose to practice yoga in the morning, then you may link your posture exercise routine with yoga by combining an exercise mat with a posture training device. This way the posture routine is timed with an already existing yoga habit. The equipment is grouped together so posture and yoga are visually cued as a combined activity.

The action step may be to incorporate posture training exercises in the yoga routine( as in Iyengar yoga which uses blocks to emphasize and assist with alignment) or separate posture exercises could follow a yoga routine.

An effective reward step would be a tracking phone app which counts and acknowledges the consecutive streak of posture routines that were performed in conjunction with the yoga routines. Because the yoga routine is already established, it makes it easier to add posture consistently and the habits become combined. There will always be a positive attitude shift occurring when additional healthy habits are added to a lifestyle. Increased endorphins and personal satisfaction will fuel more energy to move on to better nutritional habits too.

Remember that practice and consistency is everything when building better posture habits. There are too many daily distractions and urgent tasks that can get in the way. Don’t rely solely on awareness, willpower and self discipline .Be strategic! Plan ahead. Set up and design loop that will work for you and track it daily. It may take a bit of experimentation. It may take several weeks/months to really stick. Be persistent , be patient, and don’t berate yourself if a distraction interrupts your momentum. Streaks will always end but a new and longer one can start tomorrow. Its not about reaching a short term goal. its about establishing a long term lifestyle change.

What reminder(cue) would best initially signal you to do a 3 minute posture correction routine each day?
An alarm?
A note on a wall?
An app on your phone?
A posture device on your bed?
Give it some creative thought and please share