Posts Tagged ‘ new year’s resolutions ’

Author Charles Duhigg Gives Great Advice About ‘The Power of Habits’ For You and Your Kids

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions?

Honestly, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t even made mine yet. I’ve had work, and the kids just went back to school on Monday! Anyway, resolutions can be made all year long. But it’s definitely fun to think about them in January, right? It’s a time for new beginnings.

So I was especially excited to have a phone conversation this week with Charles Duhigg, the brilliant, bestselling author of the book called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. It just came out in paperback this week.

He told me exactly why I do what I do, how to stop it, and how to instill good habits in my kids. Also, click to the next page to see his Habit Flowchart. It’s pretty cool–you’ll understand yourself a whole lot better. (And don’t miss this story about 17 Habits of Very Happy Moms.)

KK: Why are habits so hard to break?
CD: I think the reason they’re hard to break is because when most people attack them, they do’t think about the structure of how habits work. At the root of every habit, there’s a 3-step process:
1. Cue: This is like a trigger for the behavior to start.
2. Routine: Going through the motion of the behavior.
3. Reward: Whatever you get out of the habit.

If people don’t think about those cues and rewards, there’s a real disadvantage to try to change things. You can say, ‘I’m going to be thinner,’ but if you don’t sit down and make plans and look at the cues and rewards behind the eating habits, it will be difficult to make progress.

KK: How do we start installing good habits in our young children now? You know, so they don’t watch too much TV, eat too many snacks and yell too much like I do…
CD: The number one thing we can do is help them come up with plans. My son loves the TV show Special Agent Oso. There’s always three steps to solve a problem. So whenever he has an issue, I use that format, and we go through three special steps: Breath, calm down, think. Whatever the three steps are, we make them up on the spot and go through each one. With something like this, you’re teaching them a process for understanding how to react to their own emotions.

That way, when your child (or even you) feel a trigger coming on, you have a plan to deal with it ahead of time. The reward is that you’ll feel more calm and in control. We’re teaching my 5-year-old a structure to deal with emotions that helps him stay in control in the heat of the moment.

A huge amount of success in life comes from learning as a child how to make good habits. It’s good to help kids understand that when they do certain things habitually, they’re reinforcing patterns.

You can give your child an amazing toolbox for designing his own behaviors going forward and having a lot more willpower and self-control.

KK: What are good habits to form for the New Year? How are habits different than resolutions?
CD: Like I said, a resolution is usually like a goal, and a habit is a practical way of getting to that goal. It depends on the mom. Say she wants to exercise more, snack less and be more patient with her kids. What’s the cue for exercising? Put the shoes next to bed? Change into clothes as soon as the sitter shows? And she should give herself a reward after she’s exercised. People who eat a small piece of chocolate after running do it more and enjoy it more. We end up enjoying what we do on a regular basis if we offer ourselves rewards.

KK: Okay, here’s a common bad habit: How do moms who are always on-the-go create good eating habits and stop substituting their kids snacks for meals?
CD: It’s a habit I had, too. It’s very hard to resist. Those snacks are designed to be really yummy. My advice is to anticipate. When people have a willpower failure, it’s because they haven’t anticipated a situation that’s going to come along. So put a plate of carrots out with the nuggets. Or have your own meal with your kids meal, or eat your own snack before you feed them. Anticipate that moment ahead of time and it makes it much easier to resist.


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Dr. Ian Smith’s New Diet Book ‘Shred’ Deserves Its Spot on the Bestseller List

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Ten days into January, and I haven’t blown my New Year’s resolution to keep a book journal. I keep my goals easy for a reason. I think the rest of the world, including my husband, has loftier ideas: It seems like everybody wants to crank up their diet and exercise mojo.

Just thinking about that makes me sweat.

I’m rooting for you if you’re on the brave health kick. So is Ian Smith, M.D., author of the brand new already-bestselling book called Shred: The Revolutionary Diet, 6 Weeks, 4 Inches, 2 Sizes. Dr. Smith, also the medical contributor to The Rachael Ray Show, has been all over TV this week. I saw him on CNN just yesterday. I used to watch him on The Today Show, and I’ve read his other bestsellers like The Truth About MenWhat can I say? He’s smart and handsome. I’m a big fan.

Shred is popular because it’s straightforward and simple (for a diet and exercise program anyway). Dr. Smith lists meal plans for every day of the six weeks. He tells readers when to exercise and exactly how much to do–even what to do. Instead of eating three times, Shredders get four times to dine. The foods are things we all like: oatmeal, pears, soup, shrimp, spaghetti and meatballs. On CNN yesterday, Dr. Smith (may I just call him Ian?) said, “This program is for regular people. If I can fix this food, anyone can fix this food. I want to make this easy for people because weight loss is hard enough in and of itself.”

And he delivers. If you’re dieting and exercising, check out Shred. It’s a fantastic program that is easy to do and sure to work. My husband already stole my copy.

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Get in Shape with Housework: Try ‘The cLean Momma Workout’ by Carolyn Barnes

Friday, December 14th, 2012

No time to exercise? No problem. Author Carolyn Barnes just wrote a book called The cLean Momma Workout. You may know her from her website or her popular DVDs. Below, Carolyn wrote a guest post for me with her tips on getting lean while you clean. Her book comes out on December 26–perfectly timed for those New Year’s resolutions.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all had a maid and fit into a size 2? Let’s face it, housework is a drag, and going to the gym? Blach. So why not combine the two and get a serious workout, while you clean your house? Learn how to burn up to 200 calories in just 20 minutes while doing your chores!


Crank up your favorite tunes and tone up while you cLean up with three of my favorite, calorie blasting, butt burning exercises that will get your heart rate pumping and your house spotless.

Cleaning your floors can be a drag, so use this move on any hard surface or floor that needs cleaning. Here’s what you do:
1. Get two damp rags, and place them under your feet, standing shoulder width apart.
2. Bend your knees slightly, keeping your tush tucked in and your abs engaged.
3. Make sure you are not hunched over and that your spine is straight.
4. Start with your right leg bringing it in and out 5 times while bending your left knee. (Make sure that your knee doesn’t extend beyond your toe.)
5. As you bring your right foot in and out, put pressure on your entire foot, as if you are wiping old jelly off the floor. (The resistance makes this a great work out).
6. Repeat this on the other side, 5 times as you clean another area of your floor.

*If you do the “Rag Drag” till your floors are clean, you will burn three times the amount of calories than
you would if you used a mop!

Say goodbye to gooey countertops, and hello to fab abs and a tight tush! All you need is a rag, a cleaning spray and some elbow grease. Here’s what you do:
1. Stand in front of your counter-top or table with your feet shoulder width apart and bend your knees into a plié position. (Make sure your tush is tucked in, your abs engaged, and your spine stays straight. Note: the tighter you keep your abs, the better the workout).
2. Make sure to keep your hips square to the countertop or table that you are cleaning.
3. Take your rag and cleaner and make ten large circles with your right hand firmly pressing down onto your countertop. (Again, think of wiping away sticky jelly).
4. Repeat with the left hand doing another ten circles while pressing down firmly.

*Think about how often you wipe down your countertops. If you do this throughout your day and evening you’ll see your tummy and arms tone up fast!

The Vacuum Lunch
Firm up your thighs, tush and abs while you vacuum.
1. Place one hand on your vacuum and the other on your hip (for added burn, keep it straight out to the side.
2. Step forward with your right leg bending at the knee and lunging forward. Make sure that your knee doesn’t extend beyond the toe. Keep your spine tall and straight and your abs tight.
3. Hold this position or you can pulse up and down for a count of 10.
4. Repeat with the other foot forward for another count of 10.
5. Continue with counts of 10 as you vacuum around you. The key is to keep your hips from wiggling by keeping your abs tight!

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