Building Positive Habits

A habit is a routine of behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously. The American Journal of Psychology defines a "habit, from the standpoint of psychology, [as] a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience. As said above most of our habits are done without us even being conscious of them. As people, we react, think, and do things solely based on our subconscious decisions and thoughts. These are the Habits that are hardest to change because you have to identify them at first and realize the cues that set them off.

When it comes to habits there are 4 components that build a strong habit loop.

Cue:

This is what sets the habit into motion. it is a signal in your day to day life that sparks the thought or idea of the habit it is connected with. The cue triggers your brain to initiate a behaviour. It is a bit of information that predicts a reward.

Routine:

The routine is the actual habit you perform, which can take the form of a thought or an action. Whether a routine occurs depends on how motivated you are and how much friction is associated with the behaviour. If a particular action requires more physical or mental effort than you are willing to expend, then you won’t do it. Your response also depends on your ability. It sounds simple, but a habit can occur only if you are capable of doing it. If you want to dunk a basketball but can’t jump high enough to reach the hoop, well, you’re out of luck.

Reward:

The first purpose of rewards is to satisfy your craving. Yes, rewards provide benefits on their own. Food and water deliver the energy you need to survive. Getting a promotion brings more money and respect. Getting in shape improves your health and your dating prospects. But the more immediate benefit is that rewards satisfy your craving to eat or to gain status or to win approval. At least for a moment, rewards deliver contentment and relief from craving. Rewards teach us which actions are worth remembering in the future. Your brain is a reward detector. As you go about your life, your sensory nervous system is continuously monitoring which actions satisfy your desires and deliver pleasure. Feelings of pleasure and disappointment are part of the feedback mechanism that helps your brain distinguish useful actions from useless ones.Rewards close the feedback loop and complete the habit cycle.

Craving:

Cravings drive the habit loop, and they are the motivational force behind every habit. Without some level of motivation or desire—without craving a change—we have no reason to act. What you crave is not the habit itself but the change in state it delivers.

To successfully change a habit you have to work with the old habits you have created. You must recognize the cues and rewards but you need to change the routines. by changing the routines you can take the cues and direct the negative habit into a positive one with receiving the same reward! It takes practice but it can be achieved! You just need to continue to strengthen your willpower muscle and over time you will be able to change your life!

Matthew Clarke