How to change any habit is crucial as research stated that 40% of all decisions of our daily life aren’t choices but they are habits. Hence, instead of repeating an old habit that might be causing you to feel stuck with your progress, it’s better to learn how to change any habit by either removing it from your routine or replacing it with another one.
And to do this, the best hack is to understand what components make a habit and how you can use those components to change your habit. Building a habit can be divided into four simple steps: cue, craving, response, and reward.
The cue triggers your brain to initiate a behavior by suggesting rewards ranging from food to power and money. Cravings are the motivational force behind every habit like experiencing relief after smoking or a clean mouth after brushing. The response is the actual habit you perform, which can take the form of a thought or an action. Finally, rewards are the end goal of every habit. And by manipulating these four steps you can build a new habit and/or even weaken a bad habit.
Hence, to build a new habit, start with thinking about what habit you want to attain. Then, you need to boost your cue, cravings, response, and reward for your desired habit. For example, a person wants to build a new habit of exercising, their cue is the urge to become fit. And to boost this cue, they put their current picture of themselves as their wallpaper so that they can remind themselves of their cue everyday.
The next is to boost their craving for feeling good after a workout by adding a healthy shake and bath with it. The next is to boost their response to their workout routine by making it a little easier or taking a break from it on days when they are tired. And finally, to boost their reward of being more fit and healthy, and validation as they chose to put pictures on social media.
And to weaken a bad habit, try to inverse the 4 steps of habit. For example, if a person wants to stop/weaken their video gaming habit. Then at first, they can decrease the cue by removing the video game setup from their place or uninstalling the games. Secondly, they can make their cravings of gameplay unattractive by reminding themselves that gaming in excess is harmful for their mental and physical health.
Thirdly, they can make their response difficult to perform by either giving their setup to someone else or making a commitment to their family member. And finally, they need to make the reward of winning at video games unsatisfying by internalizing that it’s easy to win at video games and it’s not as fun as it seems.
Furthermore, writing these down helps to implement them even more. The format is simple:
When (cue), I will (routine) because it provides me with (reward). Hence, building a new habit example will be, When I want to become fit, I will work out because I want to be more healthy and post social media validation.