The Anatomy of a Habit (part 2)

Soda  

Let’s recap (part 1)… habits are part of our biology and are intended to benefit us by shifting a large portion of the workload of repetitive tasks from the conscious mind to the subconscious mind. There are 3 parts to a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward. Finally, dopamine (the feel good neurotransmitter) is used to make it all work.

 

Armed with the knowledge that we are hardwired for habits, how do can we use that to our advantage?

 

Using the Habit Loop to Break a Habit

It’s important to note that habits form neurological pathways that strengthen in the response to frequency and intensity. Even after you’ve successfully “broke” your habit, don’t be surprised if you still have cravings weeks or even years later… those pathways will still be there.

 

To use the habit loop to change a habit, we start by breaking it down into it’s components.

 

First, write down the routine you want to change and why you don’t like it. Be as specific as possible.  Stating that the...

The Anatomy of a Habit (part 1)

Smoking  

Before we can get into some strategies and tricks to change our habits, we need to first understand what a habit is.

 

By design, habits are a good thing. We have two parts of the brain, the conscious and subconscious, working independently toward the same goal… to serve the host.  We all like to believe that our conscious mind runs the show. If we do something, then it’s because we chose to… right?  Not really, about 45% of our daily actions are a result of habit.

 

All Habits are Good!

First, it’s important to know that ALL habits are good. “What? You are an idiot. So you’re saying that habits like smoking are good?” Yep

 

A habit is usually born out of a conscious decision to take action. Maybe our smoker thought it would make him look cool in high school.

 

Over time, that action is handed over to the subconscious to handle in a more automated fashion, freeing up the conscious mind to do what it does best… think. Isn’t it great that we...