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Re-training Your Habits

February 8, 2013 by  
Filed under blog

On January 4th I posted a blog about the great book called “The Power of Habit” and how it can change people lives for the better. The author, Charles Duhigg makes so many excellent points showing how habits are formed and how to change habits that you don’t like in yourself and are not good for you. You see, we all respond to certain cues or triggers which set us off to follow certain routines which then give us rewards.  If we want to change a habit we should think through and plan out, in mind and on paper, what our “new routine” is going to be when we face “the cue” again and then follow that new routine which also needs to have a reward attached.

Duhigg uses this example: At 3pm every day he eats a chocolate cookie. This habit has an obvious reward—the cookie. To change this he plans a new routine so when he is hit by the cue or trigger—the hour of 3pm—he takes a walk around the office building instead. This starts to form a new habit.  To make the reward more rewarding, if he can find a friend or co-worker to do it with him. Having someone to talk to adds to the physical exercise reward with this chance to socialize.

If you do this activity and reward replacement over and over again until you hardly even think about it, then you have a new habit!  So, if you have habits you’d like to change, take some time to think of new routines that may interest you that you can attach to these unwanted habits so when you are hit with the cue or trigger you can start a new and healthier habit. Try it. You will love it because it really works. Even though it sounds simple, it’s obviously not going to be all that easy because you will be facing a strong instinct to fall into the prior habit but if you stick with it you will end up with a new habit and soon you won’t even give it a second thought.

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