"We all have habits: some good, some bad. If we understand how we form habits, we can begin to gain some control over them.
When we experience change and have a break from our routines, we sometimes feel at a loss. In response to this, we can form habits. Most bad habits are caused by two things: stress and boredom. Losing your job can create both (bad habit central!)"
First, there is the cue. The cue triggers your brain to initiate a behaviour. It is a bit of information that predicts a reward. Our prehistoric ancestors were paying attention to cues that signalled the location of primary rewards like food, water, and sex. Today, we spend most of our time learning cues that predict secondary rewards like money and fame, power and status, praise and approval, love and friendship, or a sense of personal satisfaction. (Of course, these pursuits also indirectly improve our odds of survival and reproduction, which is the deeper motive behind everything we do.) Your mind is continuously analysing your internal and external environment for hints of where rewards are located. Because the cue is the first indication that we’re close to a reward, it naturally leads to a craving.
Cravings are the second step of the habit loop, and they are the motivational force behind every habit. Without some level of motivation or desire—without craving a change—we have no reason to act. What you crave is not the habit itself but the change in state it delivers. You do not crave smoking a cigarette, you crave the feeling of relief it provides. You are not motivated by brushing your teeth but rather by the feeling of a clean mouth. You do not want to turn on the television, you want to be entertained. Every craving is linked to a desire to change your internal state. This is an important point that we will discuss in detail later.
The third step is the response. The response is the actual habit you perform, which can take the form of a thought or an action. Whether a response occurs depends on how motivated you are and how much friction is associated with the behaviour. If a particular action requires more physical or mental effort than you are willing to expend, then you won’t do it.
Published by Aquila Jet Training Association with L3Harris