To Change A Habit You Need To Know When You Are Being Triggered
One of the first things we teach in changing a behavior is to know when you are being triggered. Most habits have what is called a Habit Loop This was discovered by scientists at MIT. This consists of what they called the Cue, Routine, and Reward. Many have substituted names for the different parts but they all say the same thing. There is a triggering event a response and a reward. The secret to many habit changing techniques is in the manipulation of the three elements. Let’s look at the cue.
If we are ever going to have a chance at changing a habit then we need to what is the cue. What is triggering our need to behave in a certain way? This is not as easy as it sounds. The trouble with a cue or trigger is that it causes a reaction. This reaction is strong and immediate so we don’t have a lot of time thinking about the trigger. It is upon reflection that we can identify the cue.
One way we can discover the triggers in our life is to pay attention to our emotions or sensations. We tend to think of emotions as sadness, anger, joy, anxiety but these are words that we use to describe our feelings. Before we have the feelings we have an emotion or a sensory response. The word emotion has it’s root word, motion. It’s purpose is to get us to move. So a sensation comes into our purview and we have an aroused sensation. It is at this point that our brain starts to react. The sensation is like an alarm and it will not go off until we engage in the behavior that it is demanding. When we recognize the sensation we can then decide what to do with it. This is a great first step to changing a habit.
Think of a habit. Visualize yourself participating in it right now. Go right to the beginning of the behavior. Can you sense a triggering sensation? What does it feel like? Where is it in your body? How intense is it? Make a note of the trigger and the sensation. We will come back to it.