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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

In January, like most people, I mapped out some goals for myself for the coming year. I started out with a vague idea of what I wanted to accomplish: waking up earlier, eating healthier, exercising regularly, being more social, etc. Lucky for me, TikTok’s algorithm brought me to an account (Follow @shelbysacco5 on TikTok for all the specifics) that taught me how to build habits by following “The Habit Loop.” Basically, there is a loop that we can use to train ourselves to build better habits. It starts with a cue, then you have an action, then a reward, and then you repeat.

The first loop I trained myself with was to help me wake up early. My cue is my alarm going off. Personally, I use the app “Morning,” – which connects to my Spotify so I can wake up to a song rather than an apple alarm. Then, my next action is to journal in my Five Minute Journal. My reward is the feeling in my brain that I get from starting the day in a productive way. This sounds really simple and easy because it is really simple and easy. I went from sleeping in until the last possible minute to waking up no later than 6:30 on weekdays. Another fun part of following Shelby’s habit tips is that she doesn’t include the weekends, which I appreciate because if you stay up late on a weekend night it is not beneficial to wake up super early the next day.

There is also a more extended habit loop you can follow, that I have been using to incentivize exercising. After exercising Monday through Friday for one week, I give myself one small reward. I chose a drink from Starbucks for my first week. Then after exercising Monday through Friday for an additional two weeks, you get another reward. What is especially fun about the exercising habit loop is that you also get a reward for each time you exercise, that being the endorphins rush. I choose to exercise in the morning, so my cue is the alarm that wakes me up in the morning. The action is exercising and the reward is both the endorphins rush and the end of the week treat. Personally, the exercise habit loop has been a bit more difficult to stick to than my early wake-up loop. Some tricks that have helped me are laying out my workout clothes the night before. This way as soon as I finish my journal entry I can throw on my outfit and be ready to go. Also, I would be lying if I said I had all the energy I need right when I wake up. Before I start the workout I drink either a celsius or a cup of coffee just to get some caffeine flowing through me. Then I am really ready to go.

It has been a little under a month of building these habits and I already notice changes. I used to seriously struggle with consistency, but now I can stick to the plans I make for myself with practically no problem. By waking up early and exercising to start my day, I have made my entire day more productive and more fulfilling. You might not want to wake up early or start exercising more, but you can still take advantage of the habit loop to build habits that you want to follow. After all, humans are creatures of habit so you might as well make them good.

From Winchester, Massachusetts, Brooke is a sophomore at GW majoring in Business with a concentration in Business Economics and Public Policy. She plans to go to law school after graduation. In her free time, you can find Brooke reading, doing random Youtube workouts, or talking to her Dad on the phone.
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