Hi friends. Welcome to this week’s edition of Soul Food.
It’s been said that “It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.”
Life is made up of habits – things we do regularly, often without even being aware of them. Habits are what we repeatedly do. It’s true. “We make our habits, then our habits make us.”
Good habits include things like exercising regularly, being grateful, paying your bills on time, and showing respect for others.
Bad habits include thinking negatively, interrupting people when they are talking, not cleaning up your mess, or gossiping about other people.
Our habits will either break us or make us. We become what we repeatedly do.
Thankfully, we are stronger than our habits. We can change them. It’s not always easy, but it is possible.
When it comes to our habits, there is something neuroscientists call ‘the habit loop’. It operates all the time, whether we are aware of it or now. The four elements in the habit loop are (1) the trigger (or cue), (2) the response (or behaviour), (3) the reward, and then (4) repetition. Yes, it takes time for a habit to be formed – anywhere from 21 days to 3 months.
It’s worth taking the time to reflect on your current habits.
- What is the activation trigger or cue for your behaviour?
- What is your response – the actual behaviour you engage in?
- What is the reward? Why are you motivated to engage in this habit – what intrinsic or extrinsic benefit or reward is there for you?
- What is the repetition? When and how often do you engage in this habit?
If you simply make a change to any step in this process, you can change your habits.
For instance, if you want to stop the habit of engaging in social media last thing at night before you go to sleep, leave your phone in a different room and have a book by your bed instead.
Or if you want to have some ‘quiet time’ each morning before checking your email, to meditate, be still or read something inspirational, turn your computer or devices off each night and prepare your space for those morning moments.
You can also apply this process to any new habits you would like to form.
It could be as simple as laying out your exercise clothes last thing at night so when you get up in the morning you are prompted to engage in your exercise routine. Then after you finish your exercise, you might reward yourself with your favourite smoothie to start the day. Repeat this enough times and it will be an established healthy habit in your life.
Let’s summarise our main points:
- Life is made up of habits – things we do regularly, often without even being aware of them.
- Our habits make or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.
- Habits can be changed.
- Experiment with tweaking ‘the habit loop’ to change, edit, or adjust your habits.
That’s all for today. See you next week.
You can watch the video of this episode on the Soul Food YouTube channel.