Life is the result of habits from the past. If you want to lead a successful life, it’s crucial that you learn how to master your habits.
An article in medium.com lists out a few points that will help you with this.
* All habits follow the same neurological loop. A cue that triggers the habit, A routine that follows the cue and reward you gain from doing the habit.
If you perceive the reward as positive, you will want to repeat the loop again the next time the cue shows up. If you repeat it enough times, it will become a habit.
Let us do a detailed study of each segment.
* The Cue
To build a solid habit, you need to know exactly when and where it will be taking place.
A simple, yet incredibly powerful way of doing that, is to use 'If → Then' statements.
More than 200 studies have shown that people who use If → Then planning are about 300 percent more likely than others to reach their goals
* The routine
When we create new habits, we tend to want big results fast. And because of that, we try to create big changes. Forget long term results and instead make the habit so easy you can't say no.
Build motivation and momentum by setting yourself up for, and celebrating, small wins. Then, when the behaviour is well established, you can incrementally increase your efforts.
* The reward
To reinforce your habit, you need to reward yourself for doing it. It is not for the success that you got but for doing it.
Stanford psychologist and behavior expert BJ Fogg suggests you think of it this way.
'The fact that you’re learning to change your behavior is a big deal. Think how rare a skill it is. Think how long behavior change has eluded you. And now you are succeeding.'
Your brain will associate your habit with your reward. And that, in turn, will make it likelier you’ll keep doing it in the future.
The habit loops are not only helpful in creating good habits, but also very helpful in getting rid of unwanted habits. This can be done by analysing and manipulating the different parts of the already existing loop.
* Cut the cues
Identify the unhelpful cues and remove as many triggers as possible from your environment.
* Replace the routine
If you find that there is an unwanted routine you can use the same If → Then formula to cut it out. The key here is to experiment with different routines to find substitutes that work for you.
* Removing rewards
Come up with creative ways to remove the rewards associated with your bad habit. This will help you in stop wanting to do the habit.