Using Metacognition to Transform Habits


Your body transformation is a personal journey to better health and confidence. But there’s often one thing that creates many obstacles to a successful body transformation: habits.

That’s right, even the smallest habits can make or break your journey. Habits are seemingly small, but they propel us through the day. What you eat for breakfast, when you eat, how you prepare for the day, those are all habits, and your body transformation journey is all about incorporating new positive habits.

But old habits are incredibly hard to break. It’s why so many people struggle to stop smoking or eating dessert after every meal. Habits are so challenging to transform because they become automatic. Once you’ve created a habit, you no longer need to choose to engage in it each time.

That’s where the power of metacognition comes into play, metacognition is the key to
transforming habits.

But what is metacognition and how does it impact habits?

What is Metacognition?

The most basic, fundamental definition of metacognition is “thinking about thinking.” Metacognition involves an awareness of your cognitive processes and typically leads to a conscious attempt to control them. Metacognition involves understanding how we think and why we think that way. There are three self-assessment skills involved in metacognition:

● Planning: Anticipate the strengths and weaknesses of your thoughts and ideas. Scrutinize plans while they can still be changed. You should evaluate why you’re choosing a certain strategy, potential issues that may come up, and how to solve problems.

● Monitoring: Monitoring involves checking your progress and reevaluating your thinking at different stages. It should be reflective, while still allowing for adjustments. If you realize something is amiss, then you should rethink an idea. Reflect on what you did and then review the positives and negatives of the actions.

● Evaluating: The purpose of the evaluation is to magnify the image and take a close look. Inspect the details of your actions and think about ways you can apply this information to new situations.

Self-Reflection and Metacognition

At its core, metacognition is about self-reflection. Experiences are certainly helpful, but they only reach their true potential when combined with reflective thinking. We must be able to evaluate our experience and extract meaning from them. Metacognition is a self-reflection that helps us find meaning in our experiences.

Why Metacognition Enhances Habit Transformation

The goal of your body transformation is to change your behavior in a way that supports your fitness and health goals. Long-term behavior change is incredibly challenging. You have several habits that influence your actions. Some may be helpful, but others may limit your performance. Once you’re set in your habits, it’s very hard to make a change.

Changing some of those deeply rooted habits is essential for your body transformation. Metacognition is very important for changing habits. Using metacognition, you can take control of your thoughts and cognitive processes, and that’s the key to habit changes. Instead of letting habits subconsciously control you, you can use metacognition to evaluate your actions, thoughts, and mental processes.

Developing Metacognitive Skills

Metacognition is important for changing habits and succeeding in your body transformation. Of course, it’s not as simple as snapping your fingers and having excellent metacognitive skills. Like most skills, metacognition must be cultivated. It takes time and sustained effort to build metacognitive processes. Some ways to help you improve your metacognition include:

● Set realistic, yet challenging, goals. Consider long and short-term goals that are based on skill development. For example, instead of just setting a target weight,
consider a goal about how much you want to be able to bench press. During this process, you should also list potential obstacles and brainstorm strategies for preventing and overcoming them.

● Ask yourself smart questions. Force yourself to think deeply about your tasks and the best ways to address them. Ask yourself if the task at hand is similar to one in the past. Ask questions like “what should I do first?” and “what would I do differently next time?”.

● Prepare. Instead of jumping into action, take a moment, and prepare. In terms of your body transformation journey, this may mean going out and purchasing more whole foods or meal prepping healthy meals for the week. Preparation is huge for changing habits.

● Monitor performance. Don’t wait until the end of your program to check in with yourself. Monitor your progress as you go along. Frequently check-in and adjust where necessary.

● Ask for feedback. Seek out feedback, asking how you can improve. Once you have feedback, use it.

● Journal. Keep a journal noting what you did, how you felt, and what you learned. This helps you cultivate metacognition and build self-awareness.

Incorporate Metacognition Into Your Body Transformation

A successful body transformation incorporates and cultivates metacognition. To change your health habits, you need to reflect on your thoughts and monitor your decisions. JOC will help you live your best life after 40 and reach your fitness goals. Our proven body transformation programs include several elements that will help you foster metacognition, like check-ins with a certified trainer and resources for journaling. To learn more about our body transformation programs or to get started today, CLICK HERE.