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Habit of the Day: Take Vitamins

We often struggle to pick up the simplest habits. Routines like taking vitamins sound easy but you’ll still find it hard to stick to a new habit if you’re short on motivation or ability.

Luckily, science teaches us tricks that make building any habit easier.Jason Shen, who’s written about the science of behavior change on his blog The Art of Ass-Kicking, clued us into a few strategies that helped him start taking his vitamins daily.

How to build a habit of taking your vitamins

1. Start small (one tablet) and add more supplements later.

“Once I got into the habit of taking my mutlivitamin, I started taking fish oil.”

According to BJ Fogg the most effective way to build a habit is start with the smallest first step (like flossing one tooth). Of the two supplements Jason wanted to get in the habit of taking–multivitamins and fish oil– his gummy vitamins required less motivation and ability to take because he could chew them and they tasted good. He added fish oil tablets later, once he’d trained his brain to perform the routine.

2. Use rewards to increase your motivation.

“I got gummy vitamins because if you’re going to take vitamins, which isn’t fun, at least they could taste good.”

By choosing vitamins that made his tastebuds happy, Jason also built a reward system into his routine. Rewards wire your brain to like a new behavior. This gives you more motivation to repeat the routine again.

3. Take your vitamins right after a you perform a daily habit you’ve already built.

“I take my vitamins right after I put on my contacts.”

Every habit needs a trigger that sparks you to take action. Anchoringmeans that you make an existing habit the trigger for a new habit. For Jason, putting on his contacts cued him to take his vitamins, which made it easier to adopt the habit.

How to start building this habit:

Right Now: Watch this video to get the full story of how Jason built his vitamin taking habit. You’ll also get an impromptu tour of the vitamin shelf at Target (picking which vitamin to take can be the hardest part!).

Then: Add the Take Vitamins habit on Lift. If you don’t have vitamins at home, go buy some.