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Making Habit Change Easier: Put a tomato on your cracker

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Driving to Palmerston North a couple of years ago, a good friend of mine was explaining what they'd learned in yoga about habit change.

"If you want to stop eating so many carbs," he explained "you need to start by adding more of what you want, not depriving yourself."

"Rather than trying to quit crackers, start by adding, say, a cherry tomato. Eventually you'll just have the tomato and not be feeling bad about anything."

This has always stuck with me.

When people get burnt out and look at a long list through the bleary eyes of overwhelm, the usual advice is to... delegate more, take some things off the agenda, draw a line through lower priority tasks, etc.

But if you're an adder by nature, odds are, you're just going to fill that space straight back up!

Before you start looking for things to take off the list, think about what you want more of.

If you want more time with your kids, that's great motivation to stick around longer at the table in the evening and leave the dishes. Far better than "relax housework standards."

If you love team meetings, but hate performance reviews, focus on connecting with your team and put more of that into your life before you worry about how you'll measure them on paper.

Put a tomato on your cracker.