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Developing habits for Lifelong Results – Part 3 of 3

Change is often required and necessary, but it can also be difficult.

By Katie Radzieta, Personal Trainer at Wynyard

Strategies and Priming your Environment 

I’m sure we’ve all heard this famous Albert Einstein quote: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Change is often required and necessary, but it can also be difficult.  

First, let’s review current habits. This can be done by completing a ‘Habit Scorecard’. As James Clear said in Atomic Habits, “Many of our failures in performance are largely attributable to a lack of self-awareness”. 

Habits Scorecard: List all actions you do each day. After listing all actions for the day, put a ‘+’ next to a good (or effective) habit, a ‘–’ next to a bad (or ineffective) habit and a ‘=’ next to a neutral habit. These allocations will differ for each person, depending on your situation and your goals. For example, if someone is wanting to lose weight but they’re eating bacon, eggs, sausage, toast and hash browns for breakfast each day, that might be considered a bad habit. On the other hand, if someone is wanting to bulk up and add muscle and physically gain size, the same behaviour might be considered good.  

For example, a basic morning routine scorecard might look like: 

  • Get up when the alarm goes off +  

  • Go to the bathroom =  

  • Wash face and apply moisturiser + 

  • Brush teeth + 

  • Get dressed = 

  • Forgot to eat breakfast – 

  • Leave for work on time + 

Here is an example of a routine scorecard that aligns with weight loss goals: 

Night before: 

  • Pack gym bag for morning workout + 

  • Prepare breakfast and lunch for next day + 

  • Set alarm for class + 

  • Went to bed 1230am – 


  • Did not get up when alarm goes off – 

  • Go to the bathroom =  

  • Wash face and apply moisturiser + 

  • Brush teeth + 

  • Get dressed = 

  • Grab gym bag and pre-packed breakfast and lunch + 

  • Did not catch usual bus, was late for work – 

Now that you are aware of your most common habits, which habits are effective to you and which habits are ineffective to you? 

Here are some strategies to help you get on track and stay on track: 


1. Prime Your Environment 

Resisting temptation is only a short-term solution. A long-term solution is to prime your environment and plan in advance. A small change in what you can see can result in a big change in what you do. Be the designer of your world and ensure exposure to positive cues while reducing exposure to negative ones. 

  • Leave joggers near the front door to promote walking 

  • Put a bowl of fruit on the counter and leave unhealthy snacks in the back of the cupboard to improve snacking habits 

  • Leave a book on the coffee table to encourage reading  

  • Keep your phone in the living room when you go to bed to avoid scrolling through social media for long periods of time 

  • Plan to get an earlier bus to work so you can get off a couple of stops earlier and walk the rest of the way 


2. Implementation intentions 

“When situation X arises, I will perform response X.”  

These statements transform foggy notions of “I plan to to/will do X” to concrete plans of action – “I will [behaviour] at [time] in [location]”.  

For example, you want to drink more water each day: 

“I will drink a glass of water in the kitchen when I first get out of bed.” 

You want to focus on being tidy: 

“I will put my clothes away/in the laundry basket as soon as I get dressed after my shower.” 

You want to get up early to go for a walk: 

“I will get my walking clothes and shoes out before bed each night and leave them in a visible place.” 

You want to be more organised during the week: 

“I will plan my outfit and pack my lunch each night for the following day.” 


3. Habit Stacking 

No behaviour happens in isolation. Habit stacking identifies a current habit or behaviour and allows a new habit or behaviour to be stacked on top. 

Here are some examples; 

“After I finish dinner, I will clean the dishes. After I clean the dishes, I will brush my teeth.” 

“After I get out of bed, I will make my bed. After I make my bed, I will get changed into my walking clothes.” 


4. Commitment Device  

Commitment devices are choices or actions you make in the present that control your actions in the future. For example:  

  • Serving your dinner on a smaller plate (weight loss) 

  • Scheduling for a gym class in advance (improve fitness) 

  • Leaving phone in living room when it’s time for bed (reduce screen time) 


5. Habit Tracking 

Habit tracking provides a reminder for you to act on something. It allows you to see the progress you’re making and encourages you to keep going. It also feels satisfying when you record another successful instance of the habit or behaviour. Tracking behaviour is a habit in itself and sometimes it can be hard to start a new habit AND track it. Take it one day at a time – track one day and then do two days, then three, and so on. Now you can start to see how using the MyVision app greatly strengthens good behaviours, develops consistency and increases the chance of successs. 

Remember, just showing up is casting a vote for the person you want to be. Showing up and giving 10%, 20% or 50% is better than not showing up at all. For example, you want to walk for 30 minutes a day but one day you only have time for a 10 minute walk. Do it! 

You will gradually get to the point where you don’t want to break the streak of positive behaviour and each new instance will reinforce that behaviour as part of your identity. Of course, life happens and barriers are inevitable. Try to remember to “never miss twice” – missing once is an accident, missing twice is the start of a new habit. 

Thankfully, here at Vision we have MyVision which is a fantastic tool that allows you to track activity, meals and progress! It’s all right there in your pocket (on your phone), so it’s easy for us to keep track.  


“The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to keep playing the game.” 

Are you our next success story?

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