I recently started reading James Clear's "Atomic Habits" and I know that I'm late to the party, but...WOW, what a gamechanger! According to Clear, what we do, is who we are meaning our habits are a big part of our identity. Vis-à-vis, changing a small habit today could make the difference in our identity - how we view ourselves and how the world views us - in addition to supporting life long goal setting.
Why else do atomic habits help us? Because the goal you're working toward is not the end win. Rather, the process and growth we experience in achieving that goal (and repeating it for future goals) is where the real win happens. Once you make one small change, it is easier to continue to do so while of course adopting habits that contribute to your overall goals or your goal future identity.
While Atomic Habits include helping you change something as small, yet productive, as going to bed earlier to rise earlier (which I'm working on now!), I got to thinking of how atomic habits can help you, and all of us, improve our hair health over the long haul. Wouldn't a great new identity be "I'm someone with great hair"?
Today, let's walk through the principles set by Clear on how to continue, edit habits that work toward our new identity and drop or replace habits that don't. I'll also suggest some possible small habits that you can start today that can change the way your hair feels, looks, and even grows.
Of course, I'll recommend some fantastic North Authentic products— to go hand-in-hand with your habits to help you achieve the vibrant and healthy hair you deserve.
UNDERSTANDING ATOMIC HABITS:
James Clear's philosophy revolves around making small changes that, when practiced consistently, yield significant results over time. He recommends principles to make habit changes easier to adopt. I'll explain a method with each new suggested habit.
1. Make it Obvious
According to Clear, a way to adopt a new habit is to make it obvious. Otherwise, set up your environment, set a schedule, be aware of your current habits and ask yourself if what you're doing contributes to your new identity - anything to make it easier to change this new habit.
For instance, if you don't already know, eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated are essential to healthy hair and consistent growth. Of course, they're great for hundreds of other reasons, but one small habit you can work toward is drinking plenty of water per day. The National Academy of Medicine suggests an adequate intake of daily fluids of about 13 cups and 9 cups for healthy men and women, respectively, with 1 cup equaling 8 ounces.(1)
A few years ago someone purchased a water bottle for me that included printed measurements on the side. This allowed me to measure how much water I was drinking per day and keep me on track. You can get them online or at your local market.
Another great way to ensure your hair is getting enough nutrients is to consider adding a Hair, Skin & Nails Supplement, like Viviscal Pro Hair Supplements, packed with essential nutrients to your daily routine. They not only support your overall well-being but also specifically contribute to the health of your hair.
Now let's make it obvious. Making a schedule such as, "I will take my daily supplement every morning with my tea or coffee" will allow you to stay on schedule. Even better, place your supplements next to your tea kettle or coffeemaker so your brain automatically associates it with your morning routine. Order your supplements on auto-ship so you never run out.
2. Make it Attractive
The next principle is to make the new habit irresistable. You can do this by bundling new habits with something you enjoy, reframe your mind-set by highlighting the benefits of avoiding your bad habits, create a motivation ritual, or reprogram your brain to enjoy hard habits. Most importantly reduce exposure to bad habits from your environment.
A small habit that contributes a great deal to reducing hair damage and breakage is to use a delicate towel and detangling brush. While terry cloth towels can feel fluffy and enveloping on our bodies, they wreak havoc on your hair. The particles can catch on your hair resulting in breakage along the cuticle which then causes dryness, frizz and loss of porosity.
Invest in a microfiber towel that is safe on your hair. Find one that is aesthetically attractive so you love seeing it hanging next to your shower towel in your bathroom.
Associate your towel with your washday ritual. Imagine stepping out of your shower with your hair safely wrapped in your microfiber towel while you put on your favorite robe to start your evening or morning self-care routine.
As you may or may not know, your scalp is the crop from which healthy hair grows. Because of this, its important to give your scalp as much attention and care as you give the skin on your face? After all, your hair is just as capable of making you look younger as your skin care routine.
By associating the health of your scalp with a more youthful appearance of your hair and self, you are more likely to stick to this new self care habit. Start this new habit by incorporating a scalp exfoliating shampoo or scrub into your bi-weekly routine to eliminate dead skin, product build up and impurities that clog the follicles and impede healthy hair hydration and growth.
Apply a scalp oil to your scalp once per month as well to improve hydration, increase blood circulation, and stimulate growth. We love Kavella Scalp & Hair Oil Treatment. This small change can make a big difference in maintaining the overall well-being and youthfulness of your hair.
My fav scalp detoxifying products
3. Make it Easy
The 3rd principle for creating a new good habit is to make it easier to start your new habit as well as make it hard to continue bad habits. You can do this by priming your environment to make future actions easier, use the Two-Minute Rule (downscale habits that can be done in two minutes or less), and use a commitment device (restrict your future choices to the ones that benefit you).
A great habit for optimum hair health is to always detangle hair while it's wet or at least damp and use an anti-breakage detangling brush or wide-tooth comb. When your hair is wet is has more elasticity so it is less likely to break. Also coat your hair with a hair oil or a deep conditioning treatment like the Naturally Drenched Restore Hair Masque to give it some slip and to soften it up before combing through.
Invest in a good detangling brush, like a Tangle Teezer, and keep it in your shower right next to your conditioner and hair mask. This will make it easier to use it whenever you're in the shower. It also makes detangling faster keeping to your Two-Minute rule.
Another great habit is washing your hair with tepid or cold water. Now, I love a hot bath or shower as much as the next person, but hot water - especially scalding hot water - can be harmful to your hair health and hair color. Hot water dries out your hair and scalp as well as opens up the cuticle causing your hair color to fade faster. Wash and rinse your hair with cold or tepid water, then clip up your hair and turn up the heat.
Even better, enjoy a cold shower...they're great for boosting your immunity and improving circulation. (2)
4. Make is satisfying
The final principle is to make your new habit satisfying and make bad habits unsatisfying. You can do this by giving yourself an immediate reward when you complete your habit, tracking your habit streak, getting an accountability partner, or making the cost of your bad habits public or painful.
Consistency is key to building atomic habits for healthier hair and that includes regular hair cuts. I always explain to new clients that if you don't cut your hair at regular intervals you can get split ends. When they are not trimmed, they can split up the hair shaft eventually breaking your hair on the ends. This is why we say regular haircuts makes your hair longer faster. Its not that haircuts cause your hair to grow any faster. It's that they stop split ends from breaking your hair.
Plus, your stylist has a better idea than mother nature of what haircut would look cute on you.
To stick to a regular haircut schedule of 10-12 weeks for those that use heat and up to 20 weeks for those that never use heat, make a pact with your hairstylist to prebook your haircuts after every appointment so he/she can be your accountability partner. Also, reward yourself with something that you enjoy doing after your hair is freshly cut and coiffed. Put it on your schedule to meet friends for lunch or dinner right after or go on a date night.
A bad habit to break is burning your hair without protection which goes directly in line with creating the new habit of protecting your hair. For instance, ensure you have a styling product that includes heat protection properties. Place your styling products in your cabinet in the order of prep to finish so your visual cue is there.
If you start to apply a hot tool to your hair without using heat protection, stop and ask yourself, "Is this contributing to my new identity?" This will stop you in your tracks and remind you to use your proection product before moving forward.
Applying heat to your hair is even more dangerous after using a dry shampoo on your hair. While a quick blast with your blow dryer is a great way to remove white residue left behind by some dry shampoos, directly applying heat, via blow drying with a round brush or even flat ironing or curling iron, after using a dry shampoo on your hair is not recommended. Dry shampoos include ingredients to absorb oils and product while also creating volume and texture. No complaints here; however, these results leave your hair shaft exposed to burning and damage. If you plan on using a dry shampoo on next day hair, then style your midshaft and ends first, then hit your roots with dry shampoo as your last step.
If it's not already apparent, a public and painful result of burning your hair is dry, frizzy, damaged hair. That should be a great reason to break that bad habit immediately.
Clean Dry Shampoos
Track and Reflect
As I mentioned, habit tracking could be huge in helping you stay the course to your new identity. Keep track of your hair care journey by using a journal or a habit-tracking app to monitor your progress. Reflect on the changes you notice in your hair condition and be ready to adjust your habits accordingly. This self-awareness is crucial for continuous improvement. By staying in tune with your hair's needs and adapting your routine as necessary, you'll enhance the effectiveness of your habits and achieve ongoing positive results.
Build a Support System
Building a support system is crucial for sticking to your hair care goals. Share your goals with trusted friends, family, or join an online hair care community. Communicate your routine, habits, and desired outcomes. Request regular check-ins for accountability, celebrate milestones, and seek advice from your support network. Whether online or in person, stay connected, reciprocate support, and adapt together as your hair care routine evolves. This ongoing encouragement and motivation from your support system enhance your journey to lifelong healthy hair habits.
Embrace the Growth Mindset
Embracing a growth mindset means understanding that taking care of your hair is a lifelong journey. Our hair changes throughout our lives whether it's caused by life events, illness, pregnancy, menopause or just aging.
Be open to the idea that your hair care habits might change as your hair changes. Many hair care brands create hair care products that directly address the signs of aging. For instance, Davines Renewing Shampoo & Conditioner was formulated to deposit the hydration and nutrients that are lacking as we mature or experience menopause.
Stay flexible in your approach, adjusting your routine based on what works best for your hair. Think of it like a continuous learning process, and by staying open to change, you'll be better equipped to keep your hair healthy in the long run. It's about being adaptable and making decisions that support the well-being of your hair as you grow and learn along the way.
By blending the transformative principles of atomic habits with our recommended products, you're on the path to a lifetime of beautiful, healthy hair. Keep in mind that it's the small, consistent actions and the use of quality products that add up over time, ensuring your hair exudes health and vitality throughout the years. Embrace this holistic approach to hair care, and witness the transformative power of atomic habits with North Authentic.
Natalie Palomino is a Master Stylist, educator and Founder of North Authentic. Through advanced education and commitment to her craft, she built a vast clientele providing haircare education and hair services. In 2020, she created North Authentic, a conscious haircare retailer that puts the health of its customers and the planet at the forefront.
1. Water - The Nutrition Source by Harvard School of Public Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/water/#:~:text=General%20recommendations,1%20cup%20equaling%208%20ounces.
2. 6 Cold Shower Benefits To Consider By UCLA health. January 25, 2023. https://www.uclahealth.org/news/6-cold-shower-benefits-consider
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