What Habit Have You Worked Hard To Develop?

What Habit Have You Worked Hard To Develop?

In May’s bookclub book, The Power of Habit – we’ve been talking a bit about why we do what we do – how to understand our habits (good or bad) and how to use that part of our brain as a way to strengthen our lives instead of being controlled by them.

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Otherwise, feel free to jump in to this conversation and share what your thoughts were below.

Discussion: Behaviour Loops – Negative, Positive or Neutral. What’s Their Impact?

One thing that really jumped out to me, was how common it is for us to just lump all habits into the ‘bad’ pile.

Something we should be encouraged to quit, like biting our nails, smoking, drinking too much, overeating – or some other pattern of behavior.

Duligg’s approach to habits was a bit more refreshing than just being given a list of things that we know we shouldn’t be doing – rather, understanding habits as just something we do routinely in our day to day lives.

Habits are often created and formed so that we don’t have to think about day to day tasks as much (if at all… ), so that a lot of the routine processes of general life run smoothly.

Duligg broke down a habit forming into a three part cycle.

Part 1: Cue or Trigger.  This is the start of the cycle that begins the habit sequence.

Part 2: Routine or Behaviour.  This is the actual act of the habit

Part 3: Reward or Incentive.  This is whatever it is that makes you want to repeat the cycle

An example Duligg used was for coffee drinkers… you wake up in the morning feeling tired, grab a cup of coffee and then you feel recharged.

  • Reward is: Feeling recharged after you drink your coffee
  • Routine is: Drinking the coffee
  • Cue/Trigger is: Remembering that last time you were tired, you grabbed a coffee and felt better

If you had to think and process each step of this, and the act of making the coffee itself, you’d be even more exhausted and no doubt, completely overwhelmed too.

You’d have no mental space or ability to do much else for the 30 mins it took for you to get your coffee done (possibly more, if your body NEEDS that caffeine hit bad!!!)

The habits we create take that step-by-step processing power out of the equation, so you can just relax, conserve your mental energy and use it on things that aren’t automated functions.

On the science/geeky side of things, there have been studies done by neurologists – having taken photos of the brain during the act of performing a routine/habit task.  They discovered that the behavior patterns from habits stay there – forever.

New ones can be created over the top of old habits, but they can never be completely erased.

This can be a relief for some, not so much for other habits – but the exciting thing is that understanding WHY we slip back into less desirable routines makes a bit more sense, yeah?   You can alter habits to mould them into new ones with time and dedication, but they cannot be erased.

That’s for your brain’s well-being … can you imagine if you had to relearn how to make coffee every single time you wanted to have a drink?  That doesn’t sound like fun at all…  This ‘default setting’ type wiring is there to help us streamline our day-today tasks.

So, now it’s over to you!  Discussion Time!

  • Did anything else jump out at you in regards to behavioural loops, negative or positive?
  • Do you have any habits you’d like to just erase from memory?
  • Do you have positive habits you’ve worked to develop that you’re proud of?
  • What’s the latest habit you’ve created or broken to take control of your life?

 

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Posted on

May 7, 2017

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