So, you know those things you do without even thinking about them? Like grabbing a snack when you’re stressed or automatically checking your phone when you wake up? Those are habits, and they have more power over us than we realize.

Here’s an example we can all relate to. Let’s imagine you want to quit eating sugar. When you feel stressed, your brain tells you to reach for the Kit Kat you have stashed on your desk. Stress happens, candy follows, and you feel a little better—at least for now. Of course, guilt creeps back in, and you’re not happy with your behaviour.

This is what’s known as the Habit Loop. The stress is your CUE. Your ROUTINE is to reach for candy. And your temporary sugar-high is your REWARD.

These factors will appear, over and over again in your life. You will feel stressed at some point in the future. It’s unavoidable. That CUE is never going away. You want to feel better – less stressed. So your desired outcome – or the REWARD, remains the same. What you have to mentally work on is changing your habit that responds to the cue – your ROUTINE.

But here’s the thing: habits aren’t set in stone. We can change them, and that’s where the magic happens. It’s like rewiring your brain to make better choices. 

Instead of grabbing candy, you could try something different when you feel stressed, like going for a walk or doing deep breathing exercises. It might feel weird at first, but with practice, it becomes a new, healthier habit.

Another trick is to change your environment to make good habits easier and bad ones harder. You could keep the candy out of sight or replace it with healthier snacks like fruit or nuts. Surrounding yourself with supportive people who encourage good habits can also make a big difference.

However, the key to successful habit change lies in self-awareness. It’s about understanding the why behind your actions. For instance, you might realize that you reach for candy not only when you’re stressed but also when you’re bored. This insight allows you to develop more effective strategies for managing habits.

Remember, habits are powerful, but so are you. By comprehending their mechanisms and making small adjustments, you can liberate yourself from the habits that hinder your progress and cultivate new ones that propel you forward. It’s about seizing control of your choices and constructing your desired life, one habit at a time.