Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Try This Tuesday: Identify the Cue and the Reward

Today’s TTT is all about habits. Let’s begin by examining a habit loop:

First, there is a CUE (a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use).

Then there is the ROUTINE (which can be physical, mental or emotional).

Finally, there is a REWARD (which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future).

Over time, this becomes more and more automatic: I am bored, so I wander to the pantry to see if there’s anything exciting that I can eat; I see chips. Yay, I eat them and temporarily I receive my reward. Crunch! Sometimes you may not even be aware you are doing this until you’re halfway through a bag! Yikes!

But what if you want to change this routine? Charles Duhigg says that we need to keep the CUE and the REWARD but provide a new ROUTINE. He gives excellent examples of this in his book “Power of Habits” and explains that sometimes finding the actual reward requires self-experimentation. Watch this short video about how he addressed a chocolate chip cookie habit he had: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1eYrhGeffc

In order to change any habit though, you must be aware of it. Once you’re aware of it, spend some time trying to identify what the cue is and what the reward is, and then you can work on changing your habit to better suit your wants and needs.

My favorite authors on habit are James Clear (Atomic Habits) and Gretchen Rubin (Better than Before) and Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit). What habit do you want to change? If you need help changing some of your nutrition habits - reach out!

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