How to Hack Healthy Habits

BJ Fogg is one of the world’s leading experts in human behaviour. He teaches us that emotions create habits and that it is success that hard-wires a habit not repetition!

We can hack this process by ‘firing off’ an emotion each time you do a new behaviour that you want to become a habit. So do something positive straight afterwards and the reward centres in the brain ‘notice’ the positive emotion and it is this that makes us want to repeat the experience. Thus success increases self efficacy and confidence and reinforces the new behaviour creating a habit. Pretty quickly other related healthy behaviours will begin to be automatically incorporated and as behaviours change then identity changes. We will begin to identify ourselves as someone who eats healthily, or exercises regularly.

New habits HOW?

It is known that motivation varies over time and that we have a limit to our motivation. The less motivation is required, the more likely we are to succeed. So whatever behaviour you want to ace:

  1. scale it down so that it is super tiny
  2. find where it fits naturally in your routine ie.what it comes after. e.g.After I feed the dog I’ll do 2 squats,
  3. Finally celebrate your achievement there and then in the moment, it could be as simple as a smile, a bit of air guitar, or a tick on a wall-chart.

You are now on the path to success!

Fitbit for Christmas?

I have been a regular user of a Fitbit for 3–4 years now and today I received a notification which tells me I just registered 12,713 ‘lifetime’ kilometres; that is the distance from one side of the earth to the other, via the centre. This is not a journey I am likely to take, although I must admit to enjoying the various renditions of Jules Verne’s Journey to the centre of the earth.

So if you were the recipient of a Fitbit this Christmas or you have one sitting in the drawer, download the app and add a friend for ‘company’ as you walk towards your fitness goals. Fact: People who add a friend on average do 700 more steps a day.

Buddy up on facebook

If you have yet to join our precizion members facebook group, LIKE the Precizion business page and I can invite you to join. It’s a great place to keep connected and interact with our growing Precizion community.

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Moving Through Menopause Podcast:

Homeopathy and Menopause

This week I chatted to Felicia Foster, an experienced Natural Health consultant and Homeopath. Whatever your belief system we are all individuals and there is not a one size fits all approach to achieving optimal health. We share some stories and offer some insights into complementary approaches to the management of menopause and beyond. Grab your ear-pods for company and take a stroll, or grab a cuppa and stay hydrated.

Listen HereHomeopathy has had a bad rap in my opinion and that’s a shame. I have used homeopathy consistently over the past 20 years and my first aid kit would not be complete without it. Homeopathic principles fly in the face of science since the remedies are diluted almost to the point of extinction and the principles of treating ‘like with like’ confuses the best of us.

But if we consider that drugs are just molecules which bind to receptors causing a cellular process to become more active. Remember folk remedies were sourced in nature before big pharma came along and chemically synthesised drugs in a laboratory setting.

A study in 2020 found that homeopathic potencies of Arnica Montana up-regulated the activity of fibronectin in human macrophages; key cells in tissue repair and defense, polarising them toward tissue repair. Reference

My children are more than familiar with the little white pills and creams which come out when someone has a problem and Arnica Montana is definitely one of them.

One of my most favourite remedies is euphrasia, common name eyebright, the clue to its use really is in the name. Now eye health is not something you mess about with, however when a bout of conjunctivitis or ‘pink eye’ hits just around bedtime and the painful pricking sensation (aways at its worst when you close your eyes) threatens to keep your child from sleeping. It’s not what you would call a medical emergency so no trip to the doctor until the morning, so in my experience using this remedy can take the pain away almost immediately and allow all a restful night before seeking medical attention as required.

I value having homeopathy as part of my repertoire of health interventions and I recommend that you seek out an appropriately qualified practitioner if you decide to explore this approach.

Isn’t it just placebo?

The placebo effect is well studied but at the same time something of a mystery. Science has shown us that it is very real, and can actually precipitate changes in our physiology and neurochemistry. Among other things, research has shown that taking a placebo can trigger the release of endorphins; our own natural painkillers. There is some growing evidence that placebos can work even when patients know that they are taking them.

Estimates of the placebo cure rate range from a low of 15 percent to a high of 72 percent. The longer the period of treatment and the larger the number of physician visits, the greater the placebo effect.

This effect is not limited to subjective self-reports of pain, mood, or attitude; physical changes are real. For example, studies on asthma patients show less constriction of the bronchial tubes in patients for whom a placebo drug works.

The placebo effect is… a product of expectation. The human brain anticipates outcomes, and anticipation produces those outcomes. The placebo effect is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it follows the patterns you’d predict if the brain were, indeed, producing its own desired outcomes.


Personality and patient practitioner interaction.

The Placebo phenomenon is not limited to medication however and as a Physiotherapist I have on occasion marvelled at my own abilities to heal! The extent to which the placebo effect is evoked by the patient-practitioner interaction is influenced by personality characteristics of the patient and is more likely when patients are extraverted, agreeable and open to new experiences. Source

But the practitioner also has a part to play as highlighted in a 2017 study by Howe et al, this study exploring the influence of physician characteristics found that the placebo effect was enhanced when the doctor appeared both warm and competent. Source

Experiences of the therapeutic interface clearly influence the outcome and so when in the clinic wearing full PPF, I am smiling with my eyes and using whatever body language I have at my disposal to optimise the patient practitioner interaction.

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My Mindful Movement Online sessions will stretch muscles and an opportunity to put your joints through their full range of movement. Moreover the combination of breathwork and guided meditation will moderate brain activity which in turn positively impact the autonomic nervous system reducing overall levels of stress and anxiety.

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Phillipa Butler

Phillipa Butler

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Chartered Physiotherapist. Passionate about movement as medicine. Using pilates and yoga to mitigate the symptoms of the menopause. Contact