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Hack Your Brain: How To Keep Healthy Behaviors On Track

SaladThis is a guest post by Annie Lynsen, on loan to AARP from Small Act.

About this point in the New Year’s Resolution cycle, the novelty has begun to wear off. Many healthy eating and exercising plans have been fudged or abandoned out of frustration.

One thing that I’ve learned in years of trying to live a healthy lifestyle is that willpower isn’t enough. Willpower is like a muscle, and it can become exhausted over time. Basically, the emotional part of your brain needs more to feed it than what the rational part of your brain provides, and it will, ultimately, overcome the rational side if it’s not placated. (For more on this concept and how to cope, check out the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Dan and Chip Heath.)

There are several little “hacks” you can do to soothe the emotional side of your brain and make change easier to stick with. Here are a few ideas:

If you’ve already fallen away from healthy habits, don’t worry. 2012 is just beginning, and you still have plenty of time to turn it around – and keep those healthy habits for good. It’s never too late!

Photo credit: sass_face on Flickr