Overriding Habits

I’ve been reading “The Power of Habit” and I want to share the basic fundamentals of how habits works and what you can do in a short post.

You don’t notice it, but everything that we do stems out of habit. The scary part is our minds don’t care if it’s bad or good habits. There are just habits.

For instance, we know that smoking cigarettes can cause lung cancer and potentially take a life. However, those who smoke can’t seem to be able to stop. This is the idea of habits.

1) trigger – e.g after eating a big meal and need to digest OR when they’re in a social setting and see people smoking.
2) action – e.g they smoke
3) result /satisfaction – e.g a sense of relief or feeling of being part of the group.

What is the practical approach to stop smoking? It’s by changing the action (step 2). It’s impossible to get rid of the environment or the gratification you get. However, you can change what kind of action you take.

E.g You just ate a big meal. You’re full (trigger). Instead of smoking, how about a cup of coffee (action). Then you get that coffee high (satisfaction).

This is a basic example and may not work for everyone. But this is the idea. You want to change the action instead of the trigger or result.

I hope you learned something out of this about habit! The book pretty much builds on top of this idea and shares a lot of great examples about habits.