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to Create a Running Habit
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RUNNING: A LOVE STORY Use Cues to Create a Running Habit
emotional (linked to a mood or emotion), or social (linked to a particular group of people). So if you want to create a running habit, develop prompts that will cue you to engage in it. For example, you can use temporal cues to make a habit of running every day after work, or you can make it a necessary step in your routine: Wake up, brush teeth, coffee, run, shower. Documenting how you feel after a run will help your mind link the good feelings it gives you to the action, which will then cue the habit. Next time your drinking buddies suggest happy hour, suggest a run instead. Maybe they’ll even pick up the habit. Go on now. Let running sweep you off your feet!
Since the ‘70s, devotees have referred to the elusive rush of euphoria they feel during and right after a run as a “runner’s high.” Your friend who claims to “love” running despite how exhausted she looks at the finish line of her 10K might be experiencing the effects of this phenomenon. This post-workout boost has long been linked to a rush of endorphins entering the brain, but a recent study from researchers in Germany suggests that a more likely cause is an increased production of serotonin and other feel-good neurotransmitters. Because of these physiological effects, running may help to improve your body’s ability to stand up to stress while also making you feel good. For seasoned runners, that sweet call of serotonin might be enough to lace up their sneakers week after week, but the rest of us might need a little more convincing. Research into the psychology of habit formation, which has allowed companies like Procter & Gamble to make millions, has found that habits are often linked to a specific cue. Calling on the insight of psychologists, marketing campaigns have used this tactic to sell products like Febreze, and you can use some of the same techniques to adopt a running habit. Most cues fall into one of four categories: temporal (linked to a specific location or time of day), action-based (one of a series of actions),
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