“40 percent of your actions are not conscious decisions but habits”.

  • Excerpt from Life Potentials – Psychology of Habits

“The key to sustaining positive change is to turn each desired action into a habit.

40% of your actions are not conscious decisions but habits.  So habits are a big part of your life – and a lot of the time you don’t even notice it!

Six Crazy facts about habits

  1. Your life is very much the sum of all your habits – good and bad
  2. By changing your habits, you can control your life and move it in a conscious desired direction
  3. Why is it so difficult to change a habit? It takes an average of 66 days before a new habit takes root in our brain
  4. HABITS NEVER TRULY DISAPPEAR. They must be replaced by another habit.
  5. The habit of self-acceptance is the cause of most people’s happiness.
  6. You gotta crave it! Cravings are the brain’s motivator.  For something to become a habit, you must crave it.

How habits form…

Habits do not happen overnight.  It is by little behaviors done consistently over time that eventually become second nature that forms a habit.  This works in both directions, bad and good so be aware.

Habits are our brain’s way of increasing its efficiency.  Our brain turns daily actions and behaviors into habits, so we can do functions and actions automatically, without much thought or energy freeing up our brainpower for other more important challenges.  While this leads to an abundance of unconscious activity, it allows us to function better in life.  Imagine if we had to think about everything involved driving to the store and back.  Whoa… You’re not going to want to do it without a compelling reason and just needing eggs is not enough.

The foremost theories on how habits work is Charles Duhigg and his book “the Habit Loop”.  The Habit Loop is a MUST READ if you want to fully understand how habits are formed.  Mr. Duhigg details a neurological 3-step process that is at the core of every habit.  This simple 3-step loop is very powerful and is hardwired into our brains.  So, to change the rules (or change a habit) you must know what the rules are in the first place.  Here is the 3-step process.

  1. Cue – is a trigger that tells your brain when and which habit to use
  2. Routine – is an activity, emotion or behavior triggered by the Cue
  3. Reward – is how your brain determines if a loop is beneficial to you or not.

A habit loop example: Cue – your feeling bored.  Routine – you grab your favorite junk food.  Reward – you feel relaxed and happy.  In this case, eating a bag of chips NOT boring.  The challenge is when an innocent snack turns in an addiction that cause weight gain, lethargy and a host of physical issues.  Now that you know the rules, how do you change this habit?

If you only focused on changing the routine, like stop eating unhealthy snacks, you will be unhappy.  WHICH TRIGGERS THE DESIRE TO EAT UNHEALTHY SNACKS, HELLOOOO!  Our brains demand fulfillment and satisfaction.  You must replace the routine in the loop with something else that will give you the same reward.

Here is example of by knowing the process you can change the habit.  Next time when you are bored and you typically go to the kitchen to become “not bored” you have to change the routine.  Ready for it?  Here we go, let’s change the habit loop.  You’re bored, instead of getting up to grab something to eat, call a friend to chat or go for a walk.  Now you’re happy doing something and it didn’t take an Oreo.  The more you repeat this new routine the more the que / routine / reward becomes a habit and the eating because I’m bored habit loop becomes; bored, call a friend, happy.  The routine (bored eating) has been replaced with a new routine (connecting with friends) in the habit loop while the cue (boredom) and the reward (happy) stay the same.

This is truly an example of knowing is half the battle when it comes to habits.

Hope this helps…  look for more blogs about the crazy world that lives inside our head and how to navigate the waters of life in my next blog.

Now that this blog is written, what to do?…  I think I will call my mom… 😊

Brad Stewart

BwellAware / Mile High Tide