The Habit Loop
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” – Aristotle
Scientific studies have shown that we operate from our conscious awareness only 5% of the day. This means that 95% of the day, we operate on our subconscious programs, also known as habits (source:Dr.Bruce Lipton).
Our ‘bad habits’ then are simply unwanted or undesired ‘programs’ that no longer serve us. In fact, some habits will hold us back from achieving our goals. So it’s important to take an inventory of our habits, identify that ones that empower us, and become aware of the ones that dis-empower us.
I just finished reading an amazing book called Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Below is a short summary of my key learnings..
In order to change our programming, and our habits, we must first become aware of existing Habit Loops, as shown in the image above;
1. Cue – what is the ‘trigger’ to know it’s time to start that behaviour (time, location, emotion, other people, etc)
2. Routine – what is the actual pattern of behaviour (program) that we wish to change
3. Reward – what is the current reward we receive, that keeps that routine the same (certain emotion, physical reward, acknowledgement etc).
Even though we are consciously aware just 5% of the day, our conscious awareness is like a flash light. As we shine the light on our habits, and become aware of these habit loops, we begin to take charge of these habits, and can install new routines to achieve more fulfilling rewards.
For example: Your bad habit might be too much social media. It looks like this in the habit loop;
1. Cue – Boredom (emotional trigger)
2. Routine – Scroll facebook
3. Reward – Entertainment (emotional reward)
In order to effectively change a habit, it’s best to clearly identify the trigger, and design new routines with more empowering rewards. For example, your newly designed habit loop may be;
1. Cue – Boredom (keep the same trigger)
2. Routine – Read a Book (new routine)
3. Reward – Entertainment, new information, new resources, motivation (better reward)
With practice, repetition and a little discipline, you’ve created a new habit loop, that will be easier to install, as your rewards are greater than the old habit.
As Coaches, Cristy and I support many of our clients to create new empowering habits. These new habits create Excellence in their lives & business.