Do Cookies Make You Want to Sing? How to Form a New Habit

 In Presence
Women holding freshly baked cookies

Want to form a new habit?

There’s good news out there. First, a story:

When I was a little girl learning to play the violin, my mom had me practice every day at the same time … right after my after-school snack. Once the cookies were gone it was time to practice. That snack became my instigation cue for practicing, and this is why I told you that story; a recent study published in the journal, Health Psychology, looked at habit formation vs. execution in exercise routines and determined:

“Exercise instigation habit strength was the only unique predictor of exercise frequency.”

Even the frequency of exercising was not as important as that cue for forming a habit to be healthy. No wonder eating cookies always make me want to play the violin!

The implication for using instigation cues to help you become a better voice professional is obvious. The next time you decide you want to try my voice strengthening workout, or apply my advice about kicking the habit of too many filler words, pick a cue that will get you going and make a habit of the cue. Suggestions:

  • When you get in the car to go to work, always do some warm-ups. (cue = car going to work)
  • When your alarm rings, get up and run through your breathing exercises. (cue = alarm)
  • When you get home, have a cup of tea and then practice. (cue = tea)

You can mix up your practice routine, but keep the cue the same. But be careful; you may begin making funny sounds every time you have a cup of tea.

For info on finding the right practice routine for you, please see my post How to Create a Strong Voice, Part 4: Practice.

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