Forming a Habit
How many times have you tried to form a new habit? Whether that’s getting up earlier, going to the gym, or even making a smoothie every morning. It can be difficult.
We recently heard the expression, your life today is essentially the sum of your habits, and it couldn’t be more true.
What does your life say about your habits?
This time of year often gets people thinking about their habits, their weight, their fitness levels, and their happiness. Here’s some insight to help you understand the process of building a habit.
Simply said, building a habit can be divided into four simple steps – cue, craving, response, and reward.
Cue: First, there is the cue. This is the trigger that causes your brain to behave a certain way and to initiate a behaviour. Basically, something happens which causes your brain to predict a reward.
Craving: Once our brain has predicted a reward, we naturally begin to crave. Every craving we have is linked to the desire to change your current state. For example, you don’t crave television, you crave being entertained as it changes your current state.
Response: The response is the habit you perform. Note that these can take place in the form of a thought as well as action.
Reward: The reward is the end goal of every habit, which hopefully will satisfy us.
As an example when many people wake up (cue) they want to feel more alert (craving) so they drink coffee (response). This satisfies their craving to feel alert (reward) and drinking coffee becomes associated with waking up.
What can we learn from this?
All behaviour is driven by the desire to solve a problem: The cue that triggers our brain to desire a reward.
Are you trying to build new habits to help lose weight? Habits to quit drinking coffee? Or to help quit smoking?
To do this, one must identify the prospective reward, and create environmental cues that trigger your new behaviour. Start small, and once the habit is in place, you can adjust. Find ways to make your desired habit obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying. Obvious so that the cue happens regularly, attractive so that it’s something you’ll crave, easy so that the response/behavior is something you won’t have barriers to doing, and satisfying so you want to keep doing it.
Your habits solve the problems you face. Set your sights on a specific goal to figure out what habits lead to success. Give it time, be patient, and take some time to get to know why you do what you do.