How to form habits that sticks
Building a new habit takes time and requires consistently performing what it is that you want to change. There are a few hacks that you should know about when trying to make something become a habit especially if it is going to improve your health or make some other significant change in your life.
So here is what I am learning from James Clear, author of the book Atomic Habits. Making a habit stick can be divided into 4 stages, Cue, Craving, Response and Reward.
The four stages of making a habit stick :
Cue - This is the first stage that triggers the brain to start a behavior, which ultimately predicts some type of reward. Our mind is always evaluating our internal and external environment for reward clues. Since the cue tells us that a reward is close, this naturally leads to a craving. For example, we often look for cues that could lead to secondary rewards like money and fame or status.
Cravings - This is the second stage that represents the motivational force behind every habit. This is the reason to act, the motivation, the desire. You do not crave the habit but the change that it delivers. For example, the simple act of brushing your teeth is not a motivational factor, the motivation is the feeling of having a clean mouth.
Response - This is the third stage and represents the habit itself that you perform. It can either be a thought or an action. Your response will depend on your level of motivation, if you are very motivated, you will respond, if not, you will not. Responses deliver rewards which are the end goal of every habit.
Reward - This is the fourth stage and its primary purpose is to teach or satisfy our craving and they do provide benefits on their own. For example, food and water give our cells energy to live and getting in shape improves your health. Our brain is a reward detector that teaches us which actions are worth remembering in the future.
And, James Clear sums up the stages perfectly, the response delivers a reward, which is the end goal of every habit. The cue involves noticing the reward, the craving is wanting the reward and the response is obtaining the reward.
Look at the habits that you are trying to form and apply the four stages of forming a habit that sticks.
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In Good Health,
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide medical advice. The purpose is to provide education and broader understanding to my readers. Always seek the advice of your qualified healthcare provider before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. I do not recommend or prescribe, or recommend changing dosage or discontinuing, any prescription medications or pharmaceutical drugs.