The Habit Society

⚡️ This is your cue

To: Society Members

Good Morning!

Starting your week by learning how to maintain healthy habits is a great habit in itself. I know, time is not something we all have a lot of, but at 659 words, it will only take 5 minutes. Enjoy 🙂

And, if you want to stay a little longer, you can let us know what you love and don’t love about The Habit Society here.

-⚡️ Nikki

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Cues

As a reminder, here’s the habit loop, which is important to keep in mind when trying to create a new habit. It goes like this: Cue → Craving → Response → Reward. We spoke about the habit loop in one of our first issues, but today we focus on Mr. Cue.

What is a cue?

A cue is a trigger for your brain to start a behavior. In other words, it’s a reminder. Without cues, a lot of things wouldn’t get done. Since they’re so important, here is your reminder to add THS to your iCal.

Cues

What are the different cues?

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, splits them into 5 categories: time, location, preceding event, emotional state, and other people. Let’s go through them one by one.

Time

Time is a very common trigger for habits. When you wake up, you brush your teeth. Or when the clock strikes 12, you get hungry. But there are also habits related to time that may not be as obvious. Like, a 10:45pm routine loneliness wave, which is your cue to Snap someone you shouldn’t. The time cues you’re not conscious of may be breeding grounds for bad habits.

What to do with this? These habits are triggered by a feeling you get at a specific time of the day. So, by understanding the key reason behind these habits, you can replace an old one with a new, healthier one.

Here’s an example. At around 3pm everyday, I would usually complete my daily routine of fridge-cupboard-fridge-cupboard-fridge-check. But once I became aware of my time cue, I noticed that hunger wasn’t the trigger. It was actually the simple fact that the clock struck three and I needed something to refresh myself. So I replaced this mini binge eating session with a quick 5-minute read of a page-turning book that I leave on my desk.

Location

Theories studied by Anne Thorndike, a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, say that we associate particular habits with certain locations. So in this case, the trigger for behaviors is the location itself. It’s much easier to start a new habit in a new location because it doesn’t force you to override any pre-existing triggers. I’m not saying to pack all your bags and move to San Francisco. But, you can find a new spot to meditate or a new reading chair.

P.S. I’m happy there’s science-backed evidence to explain why I become a 12-year-old, mac & cheese eating rascal when I go back to my parents’ house for the weekend.

What to do with this? Surround yourself in environments conducive to positive habits, find a new area to practice your habits, and most of all, don’t go home to your parents (kidding).

Baby Eating Mac And Cheese

Preceding Event

Remember one of our first issues on habit stacking? And how far we’ve all come! For those who don’t, using a preceding event as a trigger can be very helpful and can lead to some awesome habit stacks. Here are some examples to refresh your memory:

After I [brush my teeth], I will [floss]. After I [floss], I will [do 10 squats] and so on. Be careful though, a preceding event can also be that annoying buzzzz from your phone, so if you need to eliminate any triggers to avoid the social media blackhole, get rid of those too.

What to do with this? Choose an existing habit, and use it as a trigger for a new habit.

Emotional State

Emotional states as triggers tend to be where negative habits often come from. This is a tricky one, because it means you need to be emotionally aware and control the negative habit that stems from it.

What to do with this? If you do realize you’re eating out of sadness, for example, replace the bad habit with calling someone to speak to. We need to plan in advance for this one because in the emotional moment, it’s hard to redirect our behaviour. You can use implementation intention to plan: if X happens, then I will do Y. Sounds nicer, right?

Other People

I’ll make this one quick: When I hang out with my college friends, I drink more.

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The most reliable way to change your life is by not changing your entire life. If you try to change everything all at once, you will quickly find yourself pulled back into the same patterns as before. But, if you merely focus on changing one specific habit and work on it until it becomes part of your normal day, you will find your life changes naturally as a side effect. Improve the whole by mastering one thing.

– James Clear

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Share & Earn: Don’t forget to share your unique referral link to earn rewards like a personalized habit plan and a THS sweater.

Connect: Here’s another chance to join our plank accountability group.

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