A habit is something you make a conscious decision to do once, then stop thinking about because it’s become automatic. Around 40-45 per cent of what we do every day is done out of habit; behaviours that are repeated which require very little effort because we’ve weaved them into the fabric of our daily lives. So, when it comes to your goals, think of it as creating a new habit. Research commissioned by Amazon Alexa found that 66 per cent of Aussies agree that creating habits in their routine helps them stay on track with their goals*.
But developing self-supporting habits is often easier said than done which is why only 19 per cent of Aussies say they stick to their goals all year*. Enter Amazon Alexa – a personal AI accountability buddy that can help you reach your goals, designed with the habit loop in mind.
Habits are so powerful because they need minimal willpower once they are in place, thanks to the activation of the habit loop. 70 per cent of Aussies say their goals are health and fitness focused*, so an example could be a goal to workout every morning and create this new habit. The Habit Loop for this could look like the below.
The Habit Loop
- Cues – The more cues you create, the more likely the habit will switch on and strengthen. Set an alarm or reminder on your Echo Dot to wake up and head to the gym (61 per cent of Aussies agree a daily reminder helps with their goals*). Create visual cues by setting out your active gear and shoes the night before, along with anything else you need (drink bottle, towel, etc).
- Routine – The routine then occurs where we carry out the automatic behaviour in response to the cues. You wake up to your alarm and see your workout gear. You’re tired, but know you’ll feel better after the workout so you get dressed and say, “Alexa, start 7-minute workout.” You’re five minutes into your workout on your Echo Show before you’ve had time to become fully aware of your thoughts and behaviours. You just completed a series of actions, or a routine, on autopilot.
- Reward – The reward is crucial in the habit cycle to ensure the behaviour is repeated. It’s the prize that tells your brain that this routine is worth perpetuating in future because it feels good.
While most people say losing motivation is the top reason they drop their resolutions or goals throughout out the year (52 per cent) as well as being disorganised (19 per cent)*, using Alexa is an easy way to turn new routines into long term habits. Think of Alexa as your accountability buddy for whatever your goals may be. To help, here are six tips to help you set your goals and turn them into positive habits:
1Keep it Simple
Focus on one goal which you can weave into your routine. Once that habit has been created, you can move onto the next.
2Create specific goals
‘Improve fitness,’ and ‘sleep more’ are great goals but are hard to achieve. Creating specific goals like ‘workout three times a week’ or ‘got to bed by 9pm’ will see more success. Routines and reminders via Alexa can help you stay on track.
3Set a reminder
Alarms are great to prompt the brain to activate a habit routine, and setting a reminder via Alexa will further this. A reminder will sound at the designated time and say what the reminder is i.e. ‘leave for the gym’ or ‘pay phone bill’. With more cures, the habit is more like to switch on/strengthen.
Have fun with your goals – create a workout playlist to get you in the zone, or ask Alexa for a recommendation on a new recipe to try using what’s leftover in your fridge. You can ask Alexa for recipes for up to three ingredients and you’ll get the perfect suggestion back. Say “Alexa, what should I make with salmon, pasta and cream?” as an example.
It’s important to reward yourself to mark that behaviour in your brains as one worth repeating.
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* The Amazon Creating Habits with Alexa research was undertaken by Researchify in March 2023, surveying 1,054 Australians aged 18 – 99 years old. The survey was conducted via quantitative ad-hoc online survey interviews from 2 March 2023 – 8 March 2023.