The One Secret To Habit Change: Get It And Use It!


By Diane Gold

The SecretThere is one secret to habit change. We don’t need to be college-educated to understand it. We don’t have to have been brought up in a wealthy home to use it. It is the same in every country. It applies to every habit. We all know the concept as it applies to daily life. Yet, it’s still a secret.

Before we spell it out for you, let’s look at the characteristics of habit change. We have three ingredients: the URGE, which is the itch or cue that we want to experience a particular pleasurable feeling; the ACTION, which is whatever is done in response to the urge; and the REWARD, which is the glorious feeling of pleasure we get from the action we chose to take after we had the urge.

Act Within 5 SecondsIn order to hear it, we must be ready at this very moment to realize its truth; and that if we don’t make it a priority in our lives, we will go another way. Easiest is best, and that’s upon what this secret is based.

Are you ready? Here it is.
In order to eliminate lots of wasted time from roller coaster habit change work, act within 5 seconds of feeling the urge. And you will have the easiest road ahead. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I am saying this method makes it easier. Simple, right?

Let’s look at a few examples.

Instant MotionPicture the situation where we get an urge to eat cake. We are on a strict regimen not to include cake in our food plan. If we don’t act with instant motion within five seconds of the urge, we have already given ourselves time enough to plan which way we will walk to the cake store, passing an Automatic Teller Machine along the way, since we keep no cash with us to avoid running out to buy food. Oops, we forgot about the ATM card. Or figuring out how to run up an account with the local grocer if we have no cash, if we have remembered not to have an ATM card around.

[Note to self: if not already done, place the ATM card in the safety deposit box.]

If we do act within five seconds, we can dissipate our urge and have one more experience of staying within our food plan.

Here’s another.

Join Our BuddiesImagine it’s the end of the work day, we are closing up our store and start getting the urge to join all our buddies across the street and drink alcohol. Yet, we know, at this time, we have decided to abstain from alcohol because it does not support us. So, when we feel that craving, we have a choice: we can act within 5 seconds and take a new action that does not involve alcohol OR wait and go drink alcohol, a behavior we already know is not working for us. If the people at the pub are really our buddies, we will see them later, not in the bar.

This urge and this situation have happened to me more times than I can count. My live-in boyfriend had left work early and was always at the bar. So, my mind did its jealousy dance about his having alcohol and fun without me or having more alcohol than I was having. Crazy, right, that I would be jealous of someone else’s having more substance than I? Crazy, but true. Vividly, jealousy green, true.

The only way for me to replace this cycle was for me to act IMMEDIATELY before I thought about alcohol, jealousy, whatever else my crafty mind came up with. If I didn’t act quickly, I’d be sucked into the old habit behavior.

And finally, a last example follows.

Let’s say I had stopped smoking cigarettes for a year. And no one smoked around my job or house. One day, I was taking a walk in the metro area, and someone who was smoking passed me by. I got a whiff of smoke and instantly wanted to smoke. Without instant action, I would be urged to bum a cigarette from that very person. That would start the old familiar cycle of smoking which was the familiar behavior I knew that satisfied the craving for smoking. When I moved quickly and took a different action, I learned how to create new rewards with my different actions, and the urge to smoke went away again.


Window Of OpportunityWe have a very short window of opportunity in which to execute the one secret to habit change. It’s usually in that five second range that we must act. If we don’t take a new action within that time, we will habitually do our old behavior. And changing our habit will wait on the sidelines another day.

Think about it. What happens when we procrastinate? Nothing new. If we do nothing new to change our habit, we will gravitate toward what we know: our old habit. Most of us know our old habit with our eyes closed because we have repeated it so often.

It requires focus to take a new step. The more we take that step, though, the more it replaces our old action. If we do it once, it’s a novelty. If we do it twice, we see its merits. If we carry it out a third, fourth, fifth time; it becomes more natural, although usually it requires 21 days for the mind to accept the new behavior as becoming a possible replacement.


The one action we will take when we feel an urge works for all kinds of habits. It can’t hurt us either. It can only help.

We will drink water, two glasses, eight to twelve ounces each, as soon as we feel our urge to fulfill our old craving, no matter what it is. The act of drinking water dissipates any of the oral addictions biologically, such as eating, alcohol drinking, drugging, smoking. It has the following effects on all habits.

Perspective1) It physically dilutes the blood so that the usual amount of substance (food, alcohol, drug) cannot produce the same reward.

2) It changes our mental perspective so that we are no longer focused on whatever we were focused on before we drank the water.

3) It changes our emotional status because it has a calming effect.

4) It teaches us a technique we can use almost anywhere), at any time, as long as we are in a place fortunate enough to have freely running water.

5) It is our first habit change buddy, always loyal, never a flat leaver, always faithful.

Secret MagicDo it. It is massively impactful, requires little activity, not much effort other than the effort of doing magic on or tricking one’s own mind. And it works on all the urges to a large degree.

May the change be with you!



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Diane Gold, Founder of Warriors of Weight, Turning Habits Into Health, is a mentor in tai chi, kung fu and meditation, a music, fitness and stress expert, dedicated mom, studying plant-based nutrition and habit change.

She has used the one secret to habit change many a time and would like to see it go public. She says,

“Habits are learned by repeating one behavior, over and over again. If we were Vulcans (from Star Trek) and had no emotions, we’d have no trouble taking the secret step at any time and adjusting our behaviors.

“Because we are not Vulcans and are so attached to our emotions, cravings, urges, desires, passions; each behavior is motivated by many emotions. Thus, we need boldly to move ourselves to the new behavior, whether our emotions agree or not. This takes focus. If we put on horse blinders, we would have an easier time. Although the very idea might diminish our self-esteem, another important emotion; so we don’t use them.

“The secret to habit change is water, two glasses. Let’s make an effort to drink it as a technique of change. It works and empowers, all by itself. Consider it. There’s nothing to lose.”

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