Habits are automated series of actions. You just need to start the habit and you can complete all actions in it without even thinking.
Habit has three parts: trigger, routine, reward. Trigger is what makes you want to start the habit e.g. bored. Routine are the actions that you complete e.g. go to refrigerator and grab a snack. Reward is what you receive at the end e.g. sugar rush.
Pepsodent become popular toothpaste because they add citrus and mint to the product. They make your tongue tingle a bit. If you don't feel the tingling, it triggers the brushing habit.
Habits cannot be unlearned. You have two options: fight the habit by suppressing it or change the routine. Suppressing is usually hard, even impossible for long term habits. Changing the routine and possibly the reward is a lot easier.
- Find the trigger. When you feel the craving or urge, write down 5 points: WHEN, WHO, WITH WHO ARE YOU, HOW ARE YOU FEELING, WHAT DID YOU JUST DO. Continuing to do this will give you a really good feeling what the trigger is.
- Find the reward. Try replacing the routine with something else. If you frequently go to buy sugary snacks, try the following when the craving triggers:
- Just walk around the block (exercise).
- Eat something healthy e.g. an apple or orange (energy).
- Talk with somebody (distraction). When you have completed the routine, write down 3 things that first come into mind. Set time for 15 minutes and then see if you still feel the craving and write this down.
- Now that you know what triggers the habit and what you want from it, it should be easy to change the habit.
- Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg