As I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t like to read. Instead, I peruse the article or book, and look for one point that jumps off the page. Then:

 I quickly put one idea into action.

I recently read “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. I’m curious about habits and why people do the things they do. I was really interested in discovering ways to break my old habits and create new ones.

The -one thing- that stood out for me while reading the book was how to change a habit. Or what Duhigg calls, The Golden Rule of Habit Change.

A habits has three components: the cue, routine, and reward.

The starting point for habit is a trigger or cue that your brain can easily remember. Following the cue is the routine. This can be physical, mental or emotional.  The routine is followed by a reward which reminds the brain that this was well worth doing. The brain likes hitting the Staples Easy Button. That was easy!

Over the last year, I’ve had a recurring habit of craving sweets. This is the cue. Sometimes it’s a Chocolate Devotion at Cold Stone Creamery. On occasion, I’ll go to Wegman’s grocery store and pick up a few handfuls of dark chocolate covered almonds. If I don’t want to drive too far, I’ll head to the corner drug store and pick up a Snickers bar. These are all routines. The reward is the utter joy of devouring chocolate.

Duhigg says habits can’t be broken. They can, however, be changed. He says the cue and reward remains the same.

The key to changing the habit is change the routine.

So, I started making an energy drink (recipe compliments of fellow coach Gisele) first thing in the morning and keeping it in the fridge. It has all sorts of delicious nutritious ingredients including kiwi, banana, flaxseed, blueberries, strawberry whey protein powder, yogurt, and OJ.

The delicious fruit is satisfying my sweet tooth cue. I changed the routine in two ways; having a healthy drink that was already made. My reward was kicked up a notch knowing I’m putting something into my body that’s feeding me energy. This change also helps my clients because I’m a better coach.

When’s the last time you modified a habit for sustainable change?


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