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The habit loop

Updated: Apr 4, 2020

What does trigger us to eat that slice of cake even when we are on a diet? Discover how habit work.

Each habit means relatively little on its own, but over time they create behaviors that can endanger us.

Our brain is built to save effort, but it still wants to make sure not to go into autopilot mode in the wrong moment. To deal with this uncertainty, it spends a lot of effort at the beginning of a habit looking for something that offers a hint on which pattern to use.

The CUE is the trigger. It can be anything that gives the brain the input to go on energy saving mode.

It triggers a ROUTINE, which is the behavior that we are going to perform on the habit. (Brushing our teeth before going to bed or driving from A to B without even thinking).

The third element is a REWARD, that can be a physical, mental or emotional pay off. It is what helps the brain realizing that the habit loop just performed is worth remembering for the future.

So when your cue kicks in, the brain stops fully participating in the decision making process and the pattern unfolds automatically.

Habits are powerful, but delicate. They can be subconscious or deliberately designed but we need to be aware that they shape our lives more than we realize.

A pizza never killed anybody, but what about 1000 pizzas?

We don’t often recognize these habit loops as we grow, so we become unable to control them. By learning to observe the cues and rewards, we can change the routines.

Stay curious, Mindset Lab. family!

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