Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Set your default to healthy

This video explains how you can make change easier to deal with by working to make the best choice your default choice.

Video transcript

Change is hard. Our brains really, really, really don’t like to change. Our brains like habits and paths that are easy. Change takes mental effort, and our brains are incredibly lazy. By setting your defaults to healthier settings, you are allowing your brain to be healthy without effort. 

A default is the outcome that you get if you don’t actively choose a different option. If you set your defaults wisely, you’ll turn laziness into a practice that facilitates self-care. 

How can this happen? 

Literally change your default settings. Take a look at your phone, tablet, and computer settings. Are there apps that are easily accessible that actually make you miserable? For example, some students may opt to have social media apps on the homepage of their phone. But, for lots of students, social media actually makes them feel terrible. If this is you, make it a little more difficult for yourself to get to your social media accounts – put the app on the back page of your phone. This way you’ll have to actively spend more time navigating to that app. Or, if your internet browser automatically goes to a website that stresses you out (like the news), change your browser settings so that you automatically go to your school email each time you log in. 

Make things easy for yourself. You probably know that throughout the day, our brains use up energy – by the end of the day, our brains are quite literally exhausted. And, that means that it’s harder for our brains to make healthier, smarter decisions that take more effort. Think about it – is it easier for your brain to give into a craving or is it easier to deny a craving? Duh – it’s easier to give in! It takes less work. So, if you’re trying to get in the habit of healthier decisions, set up your environment so that you can default into good decisions. For example: 

  • If you’re trying to limit sweets, don’t let yourself have a stash in your home. This doesn’t mean that you can never eat sweets again, but instead it just means that it is harder to get to them. When you’re home and it’s late and your brain is craving something sweet, if it isn’t in the house, you’d have to put a lot of effort into getting something! 
  • If you’re trying to get into the habit of working out in the morning, set up everything you need the night before. Put out your outfit, find your headphones, put your key in a place where it’s easy to find – make your morning as easy as possible so you don’t have anything holding you back. 

It might sound silly (or too easy) to do these things, but making small changes while your brain is motivated makes it easier to stay healthy when your brain is tired.