10 Tools to Help Change Your Bad Habits (Cyber Monday Gift Ideas)
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This post was originally written as a “Cyber Monday” post pointing out some habit change tools that were both on sale and had huge benefits to self help and chaning bad habits.
The idea being that rather than just buying the latest fad gadget, you could instead buy something that could help improve habits
Often a habit change is viewed as something you do alone, but there are also a lot of tools and gizmos that will make the job a little bit easier.
You could get devices that can be used for tracking, monitoring and just making the change more fun.
So this post not only has some great Cyber Monday tools and gift ideas, but it has just some great ideas on things that might help you achieve some general habit change success.
Tools for Eating Less and Losing Weight
Dieting, being healthy and losing weight are some of the most popular habit changes that people start. Sure, you can do it through willpower alone, but there are a variety of tools that can help you along the way.
#1: Portion Control Tool
I firmly believe that controlling portions along with a little selective eating is the best way to stay healthy for the long term.
This “insert” can fit over just about any plate and give you an easy feel for “proper” portion size.
When it comes to weight control it really is not what we eat that gets us, but how much we eat. Portion size has gotten out of control and simply creating a habit to decrease the portion size is an essential first step for controlling your weight.
I talk about the “portion control habit” in this article so I won't beat a dead horse here. Suffice to say, this tool provides a quick way to identify reasonable portions sizes.Check It Out
#2: Precision Digital Body Fat Scale
“What gets measured, gets managed.” -Peter Drucker
When you combine exercise and proper eating you will increase fitness; but as you increase muscle mass, your weight goes up, which often makes people think that all the effort “isn't working.”
That's why it's important to measure body fat.
The simple solution is to use a tool that tracks your weight & body fat. Most body fat scales are pretty accurate, but the EatSmart Precision is the one I own.Check It Out
Tools for Quitting Smoking
I've never been a smoker, so I can't personally describe how tough it is to quit smoking. However I've talked to a lot of people who did quit and they've said it's the toughest habit change they've ever done.
Now, there are lots of tools to help you quit smoking: Patches, hypnosis, e-cigarettes, teas and homeopathic remedies. The list goes on. From my research, there is one tool that focuses on the rules of good habit change. And that's why I recommend it:
#3: QuitKey – Smoking Cessation Tool
There is a lot I like about QuitKey.
First, it provides a way around the “cold turkey” method of habit change, which is something that I believe isn't the best method for making a habit change.
Next, it creates a baseline, and then develops a personalized plan for reducing your smoking.
Finally it creates prompt and cues that help you stick to the cessation plan.
Here's how it works…
One week 1, you set a baseline. After that, each day the tool lets you know when (and how long) until your next cigarette. Gradually increasing the time between smokes, slowly but surely decreases the amount you'll smoke every day, without having to feel like you're drastically changing your world.Check It Out
Tools for Daily Exercise
Exercise often goes hand-and-hand with the desire to control weight, but it should be more than that. Regular exercise increases alertness, decreases stress and increases happiness. There are tools that can help you with just about every sport, but here are my favorites for turning exercise into a fun activity.
#4/#5: Fitbit: Fitbit One or Fitbit Flex
I've talked before about the importance of a daily walking routine. I think it's important–even if you have another form of daily exercise.
I personally do lots of running, but I also try to get in a little bit of walking everyday. And the tool I use during my walks is the FitBit One.
I've already exhaustively gone over all the positive features of the Fitbit One in this article, so I won't drone on about it here.
Instead, I'll just say it's the best pedometer around and can help with all the tracking and measuring you need to create a daily walking routine.Check It Out
The Fitbit comes in different styles for different folks. Personally I like the style of the Fitbit One, as this is the tool I have used for well over a year at this point. I like the way it can be clipped anywhere or just slid unobtrusively into a pocket.
Of course this does present an issue. It could get lost, forgotten about and washed in the laundry (okay…i did this), or it could potentially unclip and fall off. The answer to those problems is the slim and fashionable “wristband” or “bracelet” version of the Fitbit, known as the Fitbit Flex.Check It Out
#6: Zumba Fitness World Party
It's easy to think of daily fitness as a chore, but this type of thinking makes it difficult to change a habit change.
When you turn fitness into a fun activity, you'll suddenly “find time” and do it more often. And a fun way to exercise is to play a game like Zumba Fitness World Party.
Most video game consoles these days come with movement capture that basically turn games into a fun workout routine. This new “Zumba” game is just one small example of literally hundreds of games out that can make your daily fitness routine fun and enjoyable.
My fiance plays this all the time and loves it. Give it a chance you might too and have some fun with your fitness.Check it out
#7: Smart Heart Rate Monitor
The only way to improve in any task is to monitor results and work out plans to improve. This is as true in fitness as it is in business.
Heart rate is a key component to weight loss. Raising your heart rate too high can be dangerous and actually does not health, fitness or weight loss benefits. But keeping your heartrate too low and you do not get the good benefits of aerobic exercise. That is one of the reasons I love this fitness tool.
This Smart Heart Rate Monitor tracks your daily exercise. Perhaps more importantly it can be used to fine tune the intensity of your daily workouts.
It also syncs bluetooth and almost all mobile devices. It also works with all the common apps designed to interpret, display, interpret and store the data. Including iMapMyRUN, Endomondo, and LogYourRun just to name a few..Check It Out
#8: LifeSpan Treadmill Desk (2013 Model)
This treadmill is something that has been on my wishlist for a long time.
The idea of being “productive” while walking is something I've love to add to my day.
My friend, Nick Loper wrote a great book about treadmill desks, which you might also want to check out, if you are interested in this big purchase.Check It Out
Tools to Reduce Stress
Most of us want to increase happiness and reduce stress. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Stress is a big factor in our lives, and something we'll never completely eliminate.
That said, there are many ways to deal with stress (I discuss 16 of them in this article), but here are a few tools that can also help:
#9: Stress Buster Desktop Punching Ball
Sometimes you have to just let out the stress that builds up. That's where this little nifty punching bag comes in handy. Like the little stress balls that you squeeze, this mini-punching bag provides a way to shed that tension which often builds up.
Sometimes a good punch can dissipate quite a bit of bit up stress before it begins to overload and cause you to react in a way that might be more negative than a little punch to this cool anti-stress desktop tool.Check It Out
#10: Ecotones Sleep Machine
Sleep and stress are closely related. When you're stressed, you have trouble sleeping. And when you don't get enough sleep, your stress levels go up.
In fact, sleep is a keystone habit that effects just about everything you do.
The Ecotones Sound & Sleep Machine is a nifty habit change tool that does a variety of things to aid your sleep.
It has 10 distinct sounds settings to help to sooth your sleep. It plays sounds on a loop. It adjusts volume to background noise. It changes and modifies sounds on the fly to keep them fresh, new and realistic sounding. Plus, these tones can calm you while you're awake and help you to fall asleep by masking background noise.
This is a great option for anyone who is plagued by sleepless nights caused at least in part by a noisy environment.Check It Out
Now… On To YOU
These are just a few of the habit change tools that can help you improve your healthy routines, but there are many more out there.
Now, it's your turn.
There are two things I would like you to do:
1. Tell me if you're looking for a tool for a specific habit change (Example: Reduce debt, increase efficiency or read daily.)
2. Do you have any tools that you regularly use?
Share these ideas in the comments below.
Or email me if you do not want your recommendations to be public: sj[at]developgoodhabits[dot]com
Let me know your thoughts…