3 loops = new habit “done” 3 times.
Ive talked about the addition of daily practices.
Love them. Still doing them.
My days are better framed and I’m slowly becoming who I want to be in my second life.
Even with this restructuring, however, there existed a (rather large) habit which wasn’t serving me.
A phrase I habitually used which, even when I uttered it, I knew only made me feel worse.
When I confided this to a super-smart friend she informed me I had a habit loop I needed to break.
since she knew I’d procrastinate reading, she explained to me the major points of Charles Duhigg’s: The Power of Habit.
Duhigg suggests our habits take the form of cue (trigger from environment telling brain to act) routine (action/habit) and reward (what we “get” from the habit).
This made sense, but didn’t quite feel entirely applicable to the thought-habit I wanted to break.
So I tweaked his approach and made it work for me.
Habit: I have the bad-for-ME habit of saying the phrase I’m tired.
I want to stop as it’s neither true (I don’t mean sleepy.) nor is it working for me.
Habit is triggered when I feel unheard and saying it serves to help me feel momentarily seen or acknowledged.
Reward? None. I assumed my habit would be easy to shed as I received no reward (translation: still no one listened).
I was wrong. I tried to break my habit. I tried to shift my mindset. It didn’t work.
I needed more than Duhugg.
I needed a visual reminder.
To succeed I needed to create a trigger which reminded me of how long Ive maintained my new habit.
Something tangible in the same way I used rubber-bands when I was trying remind myself to drink more water.
Duhigg’s phrasing, however, sparked this too literal woman to recall her love of creating construction paper loops with the Child for Sukkot.
I’d identified a reward for my thought-habit.
The visual-reward of seeing my loop numbers grow!
And I started. I added a loop at the end of each day I maintained my new habit.
Encountering this visual trigger nudged me toward the mindset I desired no matter how I felt when I climbed out of bed in the morning.
These tangible loops work for me.
While I didn’t literally break my chain if I backslid (no loop-removal for undesired behaviors) the pride I felt at seeing how consistent I’d been with my new habit made me highly motivated to not want to even metaphorically break the chain.
- I know mastery follows consistency.
- I know behaving the way I desire begets more good behavior.
- I neither thought I needed a reward for habit change nor did I think I was particularly visual.
This habit-loop approach has proven me wrong.
In order to gain mastery I needed a (literal & metaphorical) chain of consistency to get me started and propel me forward.
And so far it’s working.
proud of her mama. pondering her own habit-loop.
- Have you succeeded in changing a habit using visual cues to show progress/momentum?
- Have you read The Power of Habit?