Habits. We all have them. We’re aware of many of our habits, but there are likely many more to which we haven’t really given much thought. It’s easy to take habits for granted and to just keep doing things the way we’ve always done them. But in doing so we miss out on the huge opportunity found in the power of habit.
By becoming intentional about how we spend our time and what habits we allow to dictate our daily lives, we can accomplish so much more than we ever imagined.
In his bestselling book The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg outlines three basic elements of habits: cue, routine, and reward. He writes,
“This process within our brains is a three-step 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 or 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 loop—cue, routine, reward; cue, routine, reward—becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become intertwined until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges. Eventually… a habit is born.”
Duhigg goes on to explain, “Habits are powerful, but delicate. They can emerge outside our consciousness, or can be deliberately designed. They often occur without our permission, but can be reshaped by fiddling with their parts.”
Is it really as simple as that? Yes and no. While virtually every habit can be broken down into that three-part loop, the three parts aren’t always as easy to identify or change. Nonetheless, I have found that having that basic understanding of how habits work is extremely helpful for changing old habits or forming new ones. But the key is intentionality.
Being intentional with your habits means being aware of what you’re doing and having a plan for developing and nurturing positive habits. Stop taking your current habits for granted, and don’t disregard the power of habit to help you achieve greater success. Commit to it. With determination and intentionality, you can leverage the power of habit and achieve greater success!