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The Close, The Many, and the Powerful

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The Close, The Many, and the Powerful

This is my 3rd blog about habit forming. I hope you are all trying out what you’ve learned so far. This one talks about making it attractive. The more captivating you make the habit, the more probable it will become habit-forming. In this blog you will learn how to make the habit appealing. 


Here’s a little science behind forming habits…”Habits are a dopamine-driven feedback loop. Every behavior that is highly habit-forming is associated with higher levels of dopamine. Dopamine plays a central role in motivation, learning, memory, punishment, aversion, and voluntary movement. It is released when we experience pleasure but also when we anticipate it.” This increase in dopamine causes our motivation to increase.  It is the anticipation of the reward that sets us up to take action. It is not necessarily the reward itself. The more significant the expectation, the more substantial the dopamine spike.  


One way to make a habit more attractive it to “temptation bundle.” Temptation bundling is when you join an action you want to do with an action you need to do. So for example, the doctor told my mother she needs to ride an exercise bike every day. This is an action she needs to do. She wants to sit in her recliner and watch her T.V, shows instead. So her temptation bundling would be...Mom watches her shows (what she wants to do) while riding the exercise bike (what she needs to do). You are more likely to find a behavior appealing if you get to do something you enjoy doing at the same time. So in my mother’s case, even though she does not want to get on the exercise bike, she is more likely to do it because it means she can do what she really wants to do at the same time.


This can be applied to the Habit Stacking I talked about last time. It would look something like this…Habit stacking + temptation bundling

  1. After (current habit), I will (habit I need)...(Habit stacking part)

  2. After (habit I need), I will (habit I want)…(Temptation bundling part)

Here’s and example of what that might look like...you want to check email but need to exercise more…

  1. After I pull out my phone, I will do 10 sit-ups (need).

  2. After I do 10 sit ups, I will check email (want).

We tend to imitate the habits of three social groups: the close (family and friends), the many (groups), and the powerful (status and prestige), The most successful thing you can do is to join a group where the desired behavior is the normal behavior. Surround yourself with the people who have habits you want to have yourself. We have a strong desire to fit in and belong. If a behavior can get us approval, respect, and praise, we find it attractive. THINK CROSSFIT!


-Coach Liz

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