Most of us know that we have some bad habits that are standing in the way of us achieving what we want in life. We also know that we need to replace these with some empowering habits that will make the transition to a better life a lot easier.
This is all well and good but the problem is that breaking bad habits and forming new good ones is a tough thing to do. It requires dedication and effort that most people are not prepared to commit to.
If you really want to break your bad habits and form good ones that will change your life for the better then you need to understand how habits work. In this article, we will look at the science behind habits so that you can understand them better and increase your chances of making a successful change in your life.
Habits have Cues
All habits have cues. These are the things that trigger a specific habit within us. There are different categories of cues and the experts believe that they fall into five main categories which are:
- Your emotional state
- Specific times of the day
- What you see
- Where you are
- The influence of others
A habit is a neurological loop in your subconscious mind. When the right cue appears it will automatically trigger the habit. It is tough to change your response to these cues especially if you have habits that have been around for years. Most of the time we do not realize that our habits are being triggered by these cues.
There is always a Routine
As soon as you experience the right cue then you will go through a routine that means you will exhibit certain behavior or take specific actions. This is important because it provides you with the opportunity to replace a bad routine with a good routine.
Many psychological experts will tell you that it is far more effective to replace a bad routine with a good one than it is to attempt to totally eliminate a bad habit altogether. This makes a lot of sense and makes the process of breaking your bad habits much easier if you replace the routine with something better.
Habits have Rewards
All habits have a reward associated with them. You may not realize this but it is true. Each time you smoke a cigarette or eat junk food there is a reward attached to this. Smoking may make you feel relaxed for example. Even good habits have rewards such as cleaning your teeth makes your mouth and breath feel fresh.
You Crave Habits
Because you repeat your habits over and over you will receive your reward and then your brain will start to crave whatever the reward is. This craving strengthens the habit whether it is good or bad.
The craving is a positive thing for good habits because it makes the habit stick. On the flip side it is a negative for those bad habits because it will constantly nag at you to indulge in them.
You are now aware of the habit neurological loop that will help you to break any bad habits that you have and form new ones that are good for you. It is a matter of addressing the cues, routines and rewards to make the changes that you desire.