The secret is to instantly break, change, or form a habit is triggers. Triggers are stimuli that tell your brain it’s time to perform a habit. For example, when you wake up, you brush your teeth, eat breakfast, shower, etc…
Triggers are also used for bad habits. For example, people who only smoke when they drink. The trigger to smoking is therefore drinking.
Since triggers can be used for both good and evil, the way to change your habits is twofold. First, to make it easier to form a habit, “piggyback” the new habit off of a current habit. Second, to break bad habits, identify the triggers that stimulate the bad habits and eliminate them.
Example of Forming a Positive Habit
You want to start tracking your income and expenses weekly on Sunday evenings. Instead of relying on your mind, to remember to do this each Sunday, piggyback off of a current habit that already takes place each Sunday night.
Let’s say each Sunday evening, you kick back and catch up with some of your favorite shows. Watching an hour of TV, can be your trigger for tracking your income and expenses for the week. Your goal is to remember to watch TV, than track your income and expenses just once. Once you do this, a bond is formed between the two events. The second time you watch TV and then track your income and expenses, the bond will get stronger. The stronger the bond, the easier it is to continue that habit.
Example of Breaking a Bad Habit
You want to break the habit of online shopping. The triggers to online shopping could be:
- Browsing blogs/websites that constantly link to Amazon or other sites that you spend a lot of money on
- You get emails from daily deal sites such as Groupon, Gilt, RuLaLa, etc…
- Your laptop or iPad is lies on the couch, were you relax and browse for an hour each night
Now that you know your triggers, you can eliminate them. Therefore, unsubscribe to the emails, block the websites that direct you towards advertising, and move your laptop so you don’t unconsciously pick it up to browse.
If you write down the triggers that make up a bad habit, you’ll be amazed. I’ve written down 20-25 different triggers, for just one small bad habit.
Instant Habit Change
Use triggers to break bad habits and start positive ones. Concentrate on forming the bonds between multiple positive habits. The longer you do this for, the stronger the bond, and the easier it is to continue with your new habit.
Photo by: hmvh