Turns out, there’s a helpful framework that can make it easier to stick to new habits so that you can improve your health, your work, and your life in general. If the reward is positive, then you’ll want to repeat the routine again the next time the reminder happens. If you talk to your friends about starting a new habit, they might tell you that you need to exercise self–control or that you need to find a new dose of willpower.
Getting motivated and trying to remember to do a new behavior is the exact wrong way to go about it.
A good reminder makes it easy to start by encoding your new behavior in something that you already do. For example, when I wrote about the secret to sticking to little healthy habits, I said that I created a new habit of flossing by always doing it after brushing my teeth.
To make things even easier and prevent myself from having to remember to floss, I bought a bowl, placed it next to my toothbrush, and put a handful of pre–made flossers in it. Setting up a visible reminder and linking my new habit with a current behavior made it much easier to change. It doesna€™t matter if ita€™s working out or eating healthy or creating art, you cana€™t expect yourself to magically stick to a new habit without setting up a system that makes it easier to start.
The best way I know to discover a good reminder for your new habit is to write down two lists. You’ll often find that many of these items are daily health habits like washing your face, drinking morning tea, brushing your teeth, and so on.
With these two lists, you’ll have a wide range of things that you already do and already respond to each day. That’s the type of small behavior that could blossom into a more grateful outlook on life in general.
If you want to start a new habit and begin living healthier and happier, then I have one suggestion that I cannot emphasis enough: start small. For example, if Ia€™m working towards a new fitness goal, then Ia€™ll often tell myself at the end of a workout, a€?That was good day.a€? Or, a€?Good job.
If you feel like it, you could even tell yourself a€?Victory!a€? or a€?Success!a€? each time you do your new habit. You might have to experiment before you find the right cue that reminds you to start a new habit. Facing the Wave (starts at 04:50) Yesterday marked the two-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that rocked and partially devoured the northeastern coast of Japan.
Pandora’s Lunchbox (starts at 14:38) Did you ever think how long that energy bar you ate while skiing recently would last in tact beyond the expiration date?
This is an extended version of the interview we broadcast on March 12, 2013, featuring author Gretel Ehrlich discussing the aftermath of the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The concept of a parallel universe, a universe remarkably like our own but with some subtle difference, has been the staple of science fiction stories for years.  But it is an idea that is seriously discussed in real science starting many decades ago when physicists wrestled with the weird implications of Quantum Mechanics, and recently has appeared in many other guises in other areas of physics. This is an extended version of the interview we broadcast on February 26, 2013, featuring Professor Brian Greene discussing the concepts of Parallel Universes.
Russian Meteor (starts at 4:28) Just a few days ago on February 15th,  a large meteor broke up in the skies over Russia, creating an air blast and sonic boom, which caused damage to buildings that injured over 1,000 people.
DJ Spooky performs a composition based on the geometric structure of ice during a recent visit to CU Boulder’s ATLAS center, accompanied by CU student musicians. We look at a new study where researchers, led by Jayne Danska transferred gut microbes from male mice to young female mouse pups, and in the process, raised the testosterone level in the female mice and protected them from getting Type 1 Diabetes. And we look at a new kind of science, offered in The American Gut project, featuring CU scientist Rob Knight.
How On Earth is produced by a small group of volunteers at the studios of KGNU, an independent community radio station in the Boulder-Denver metro area. How On Earth episodes can be downloaded as podcasts via iTunes, or streamed to a mobile device via Stitcher or Science360 Radio. More recently, I read about it in Charles Duhigga€™s best–selling book, The Power of Habit (audiobook). It’s more important to realize that therea€™s a lot of science behind the process of habit formation, and so we can be relatively confident that your habits follow the same cycle, whatever you choose to call it. A good reminder does not rely on motivation and it doesn’t require you to remember to do your new habit. The act of brushing my teeth was something that I already did and it acted as the reminder to do my new behavior.
We watch incredible weight loss transformations and think that we need to lose 30 pounds in the next 4 weeks. And because an action needs to be repeated for it to become a habit, ita€™s especially important that you reward yourself each time you practice your new habit.
You might have to think a bit before figuring out how to make your new habit so easy that you cana€™t say no. Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, is a good summary of a lot of habit formation research.
Thousands of people have attended my online seminars on Habits, Willpower, and Procrastination. Although prone to earthquakes, the Tohoku event hit a magnitude of 9.0, tying it for fourth largest earthquake on record according to the United States Geological Survey—a magnitude greater than scientists thought possible for this region. Or that bag of Oreo cookies  you devoured last night? Melanie Warner, a local journalist and former staff writer at the New York Times, started thinking about it so much that she began experimenting with leaving some processed foods out way beyond their expiration date.
Today, there are plans being made to send people to Mars, a fraughtful trip of a hundred and a half million kilometers and more than a year, each way.

One of the leading scientists in studying these ideas and explaining the mind-bending concepts to non-experts is Professor Brian Greene.  Dr. Using the list above, you could pick the reminder a€?sit down for dinnera€? and use it as a cue to say one thing that youa€™re grateful for today. I’m glad that you want great things for your life and I want to do what I can to help you achieve them. You can build up to the level of performance that you want once the behavior becomes consistent.
I share a public reading list of the best books to read across a wide range of disciplines. Martin Huber with us today talk about Dark Matter – what is known know about it and how we can detect it. You wanted to find out why the person on the other end was calling you and discovering that piece of information is the reward for completing the habit.
Brian is a Senior Research Analyst at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, a member of The Mars Society, and the author of the 2005 science fiction novel about Mars, Shadows of Medusa.
Chapman is an astronomer and Senior Scientist at the Boulder office of the Southwest Research Institute, and is recognized as a leading researcher in planetary cratering and in the physical properties asteroids, comets, and moons.  For more than a decade Dr. That’s certainly the approach he took after visiting Antarctica in 2007—Miller used scientific data from ice cores and other Antarctic sources to create musical motifs representing the southern continent, then blended them with live performers and his own hip-hop beats. They’ve developed experimental methods for trapping and holding particles so that weird quantum behaviors can be studied. Chapman has been studying the risks of comets and asteroids hitting the Earth and has been a member of Congressional and international committees regarding impact hazards. Huber is Professor of Physics and Director of the Master of Integrated Sciences program at the University of Colorado, Denver.
How On Earth co-host Susan Moran interviews  one of the participating authors of the report, Dr. He is a founding member of the B612 Foundation, which is developing ways to detect and deflect hazardous asteroids. He’s a professor at Colorado State University in the Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Department, and a senior research scientist in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory.

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