Habit-forming Lesson 101: “Do a little more of what you want to do every day, until your idea becomes what’s real.”

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Recently, I’ve gotten a bit off track for what I’m doing with my life. May it be family? Work? Career? Friends? Love? There are ups and downs in life. Even when it’s inevitable bad news, I thought a positive mindset will make everything better. Back a while ago, someone important to me told me, when I do something wrong, think of this:

Don't Be Sorry (1).png“Don’t be sorry, just be better.”

I was living by this quote – reminding myself everything that I can’t use apologies to make up for the wrongs I’ve made – and it must serve as a lesson that I will learn from. This change must come from within. Words can’t count. Only your true actions do. I promised myself to do better, more careful, but in the end, sometimes misinformation and miscommunication (or the lack of) may make things disconnect.

Today I want to promise myself how to do better at things – form a habit. Make a list.

Recently, I’ve been into a book called ‘Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg. It’s a book about habits – how to use the habit-forming mechanism to change your life.

Learning first things first – the first rule of habit-forming was learning how to change habits. This is by understanding the HABIT LOOP, how habits loop into your daily life.

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Fig. 1: Habit Loop (Reference).

In order to understand how to change a bad habit – we must learn how habits have formed in the first place. The basis of every habit comes with a 1. CUE, 2. ROUTINE, 3. REWARD.

How does this work?

First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future. Over time, this loop… becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become intertwined until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges. How to Change a Habit.

  1. Cue is the trigger of the automatic mode.
  2. Routine is the behavior.
  3. Reward is the positive/addictive feeling your brain feels – that figures it will loop this habit so it remembers it for the future.

When these three things 1. Cue, 2. Routine and 3. Reward entwine – automatism – a behavior that you act on without thinking – occurs.

CUE can be automatic by time, location, feeling.

When you wake up in the morning – you don’t even need to think – you’re already walking into the bathroom ready to take a pee and brush your teeth.

ROUTINE is the behavior.

The automatic behavior that had been etched into you…Good habit? Brushing your teeth before you go to sleep? Bad habit? Sleeping too late?

REWARD is the positive/addiction your brain senses after the action – that will complete the ‘Habit Loop’ and make you remember why you are addicted to this routine in the first place.

For Michael Phelps – the reward of the completion of his ‘routine’ is that he knows this practice is essential to his win. This is a positive psychological reward.

Things such as bad routines. Such as people who like plucking their hair Trichotillamaniacs…the moment they’ve plucked their hair out, their ‘reward’ is a psychological enjoyment of the sensation pull-out of the hair…as weird as that sounds, ‘Trichotillomania‘ impulsive control disorder is guessed to affect around 0.6 ~ 4.0% of the total world population. These people desperately need to break this habit loop.

Now we’ve learned How a Habit Forms, next time we’ll find ways how to change our habit.

I’m reading this book:

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Really absolutely fascinating.

From now on, each day I will do a little more of what I want to do…until my routine actions form into a good habit. Make a DIFFERENCE.

 

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