Habits can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. The good thing is that you are in control of making them work for you and making them your best friend. The first step is to recognize what habits you do have and how they serve you.
An example of a habit that serves you well might be waking up early every morning to work out. Maybe it is so engrained for you that you don’t even have to think about it anymore. An example of a habit that does not serve you well might be feeling you need something sweet after dinner. Although sugar is not good for your body, you may not realize it is a habit you need or want to change until you are overweight. And, for some people they need their overweight bodies to start hurting them before they are ready to change the habit.
As part of this mind, body, spirit journey, you have already noticed that much of what has been shared so far is about mindset, habits, and routines. This is important because your mind, body, and spirit are YOU and what makes up your life. Your mind is your foundation. Your body is your vessel that allows you to be, do, have and give all that you want to in your life. Your spirit is your energy and your aura. Since these are all so vital, you will want to make sure they are healthy, and habits are a way to help lend towards that.
In a previous blog I talked about neural pathways and our conscious and subconscious minds. I do recommend reading that blog if you have not already done so as it is a nice foundation for how our minds work. Learn How to Smash Any Goal You Set Now – Hypnosis and Coaching (conniejoholmes.com)
However, this blog is going to talk about the habit loop. A habit loop represents the perceived reward you get when doing a specific action. Enjoying this reward, you then do more of the initial action to get more of the reward. This pattern is what begins to create a habit. This is where the idea of a habit loop came from.
What is a habit loop ? (Be sure to grab your free download at the bottom of this blog)!
A habit loop consists of a trigger, a behavior, a reward, and the result. NOTE: Some habit loops end at reward, but I personally like the addition of result to the end. I like this because, depending on what the reward is, that might be ok with you. However, oftentimes the result of the reward may not be that positive.
A great example of this is to stay under the warm covers in bed continuously hitting the snooze button. Yes, the reward of warmth and comfort under the covers feels fantastic but the result of flying around your house to start your day, speeding to work and almost getting a ticket, and being late for work, is not the best result you would ask for. Therefore, adding result to the habit loop forces you to think all the way to the end to help you better determine if you want to engage in that behavior and perceived reward or not.
It is important for us to be mindful of our habits, and what the reason is behind them. Like anything in life, change cannot occur until we are aware of the issue. When you realize you have an unhealthy habit, take some time to figure out the reward you believe you are getting from the habit, but immediately get your mind past that to the end result you experience from the habit and the “reward.”
What are the steps?:
- Notice that you have a bad habit that is not serving you well. Stop and pay attention to this, vowing that you will be alert to find your pattern.
- Notice your behaviors. Did you all of a sudden feel a “need” for an alcoholic drink? Are you craving something salty or sweet? Do you keep hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock?
- Notice the perceived “reward” giving in to that behavior gave you. Reduced your stress, gave you comfort, filled a gap of boredom.
- What was the result of the reward you chose? Do you feel buzzed? Are you now going to be late for work? Did you just ruin an otherwise healthy eating day?
- How do you feel about the result?
- Assuming you feel pretty crappy about it, now think about what you can do differently next time to have a positive result. Imagine yourself executing that behavior, and feeling that positive reward.
- With these positive feelings and visualization you have, connect it to the trigger that will lead you to make a positive behavior choice, and feel the positive reward, and package all of this together to really feel and visualize the end result.
At the end of the day, the above could be accomplished by slowing down and being mindful and present. When you are mindful you will better be able to quickly see your trigger and immediately jump to the end result based on what behavior and reward you decide to have for yourself.
Below are two examples of the same trigger yet different behaviors that give a reward that leads to the end result. The trick is to be able to see these two scenarios in your mind the couple of seconds before you make a choice. Once you become aware of this habit loop and do it a couple of times – both in the negative and positive end result – you will notice how it is something you desire to do so that you make the choice that is best for you.
Be sure to grab the free download of, “My Habit Loop Tracker” so you can track some of your habits and start to see patterns with your own eyes. Once you can see things, you will be in a better position to change them.
- Trigger: I am thirsty;
- Behavior: I get a can of soda;
- Reward: My thirst is quenched and I have a “pop” of flavor;
- Result: Empty calories that will feed my sugar monster and have me craving more later.
- Trigger: I am thirsty;
- Behavior: I get a glass of water;
- Reward: My thirst is quenched;
- Result: I hydrated my body, replenishing it with water, something it cannot store.
Hopefully from the example above, you can see how the behavior leads to an assumed reward, but the real judge of that “reward” is the result of your behavior. The purpose of this tracker is to train our brains to think of the result and not the reward. Use this to track some of your habits so you can start to see a pattern. Once you see a pattern, you know what you can change.
Check out my You Tube video on this same topic at: https://youtu.be/wnS9TyN45tQ
Also, be sure to grab your free download now titled, “My Habit Loop Tracker.”