Ever wonder why have certain habits or why something can become addictive for you? Want some insights into how to change your bad habits and how to start developing good habits?
We interviewed Charels Duhigg about that very thing. He wrote a book about why we do what we do. Check it out at on Amazon! It’s called, “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business,” by Charles Duhigg.
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So if you're like me you probably have at least a few bad habits you would like to break. But it's tough cause no matter how hard I try, I seem to slip back into the same old routines again and again.
In the last decade we've learned a lot about how habits work.
That's Charles Duhigg, author of the book, "The Power of Habit."
In particular we've learned the neurological structure of a habit. He says we tend to think of a habits as a single thing, but actually, each habit has three components. There's a queue which is a trigger for a behavior to start, and then there is a routine which is the behavior itself, and then finally a reward, which is how our brain learns to encode that automatic behavior for the future.
And one of the big differences is that for years when people thought about habits, they focused in on the routine, on the behavior. But what we now know is that it's these queues and these rewards that really shape how habits occur and how to change them.
And Charles says whether we like it or not, this kind of habit formation is endemic to our brain.
And what it will do is our brain will latch on to a queue that it associates with a behavior and a particular reward. And over time, that queue and that reward become more and more and more sort of intertwined. The inner part of your brain, the basal ganglia will relate them together. And the behavior that is associated with that, that will just sort of happen automatically.
But Charles says the good news is we can also use this knowledge to our advantage.
There was a big study that was done about how to create exercise habits. And so what they did is they told a group of people, "Okay, first of all choose an obvious queue: always go running at the same time every day or put your workout clothes next to your bed so that you see them first thing when you wake up." And then they said, "Go for a run or go workout and when you get back from exercising, give yourself a small piece of chocolate." Now this is kind of counter intuitive, right? Because people who are exercising are trying to lose weight, not eat more chocolate. And yet what the researchers knew is that their brain needed that reward. The basal ganglia needed some reward. But what they found was that people who ate a small piece of chocolate after coming home from a run or a workout, they were much more likely to start exercising habitually.
So according to Charles, whether you want to break a habit, or start a new habit, the key is to divide the habit into its component parts: queue, routine and reward, and design it for the result that you want.
Hey guys, my name is Kirsten from Epipheo and we would love to hear from you about what you think a great reward is for you to make or break a habit. So, leave us a comment down below in the comment section and let us know. We come out with a video every week that we hope will change your life. And next week we are talking about how you can say, "No," to pretty much anything. So hit subscribe and we will see you next week!