DOING IT FOR THE REWARD
This is the fourth and final blog in a series on Charles Duhigg‘s book “The Power of Habit.” We’ve talked about how a habit is composed of three things: a cue, a routine, and a reward. We’ve discussed how the cue acts as a trigger for us to engage in a routine which is the habit itself. The reward, simply put, is why we do the habit in the first place.
I’m a personal trainer in Mississauga who loves to help people get fit and in shape. This discussion on habits might interest you, because it has lots to do with weight loss.
Our daily lives are filled with habits. Many things we do throughout the day we don’t even realize we do as habit. Our morning routine, for example. We usually do the same things in the same order every morning. My routine is simple. I get up, shower, get dressed, try to find some time to do some quiet meditation, walk the dogs, have a morning shake or my breakfast, and then get on with my day. I don’t have to think about these things because they are a habit. Habits are very useful in this way. They help me to get through my day without having to focus on the small things. Habits allow me to focus my attention on larger matters.
But what about the habits that aren’t so healthy? Habits like overeating, or eating junk food? Habits like these can hurt me. They can cause me to gain weight, which can threaten my mental, emotional, physical, and even spiritual well-being. Habits like these need to be broken.
Every habit we engage in we do so in order to get something out of it. My morning routine sets me up for the day: the reward is I’m prepared to meet my clients and the challenges that I will face throughout the day. Overeating and eating junk food also has a reward. The food tastes good. When I’m feeling stressed, anxious, fearful, or depressed, junk food can make me feel better. That’s the reward. But, as we mentioned before, the downside is that eating too much of that stuff will cause me to gain weight.
So how do we break habits that are less than desirable? We look at the reward that were seeking, and we try to find new routines to satisfy that reward. We talked a bit about this yesterday. Instead of eating junk food to boost my serotonin levels (which will make me feel better), I can do cardiovascular exercise, for example. What we have to remember is that bad habits never fully go away according to Charles Duhigg. They are always there. This is why I always counsel my clients to continue, one day at a time for the rest of their lives, with the disciplines I’ve taught them around food and eating. When they do this, they succeed long-term.
The overeating and junk food eating habits are always there. But, as we create new habits, the older not-so-healthy habits begin to lose their grip. Eventually, they exert no real pull at all. But remain close by, waiting for us to drop our guards and believe the lie that maybe, just maybe we can have a little treat, and this time it will be different. It won’t. This is why we need to hold onto the new habits. We need to strengthen them by repeating them. We need to change our expectations about how we’re going to achieve the rewards that we use to achieve by overeating and eating junk food.
So ask yourself why is it that you overeat? Why do you eat junk food? What are you trying to get out of doing these things? Once you have the answer to these questions, you can then go on to research and try different ways of achieving the same results. By different ways of course I mean healthier ways.
So there you have it. Habits can be changed. Old habits never really die, they’re still there. I’ve heard it said that these habits are in my basement doing push-ups while I’m busy doing other things. This means that there always there keeping themselves strong ready to jump in and take over if I let down my guard. So it’s up to me to not do that.
If you think you might need help changing your habits, I am available. I write weight loss programs – and fitness programs – for people local to me in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington and Etobicoke, and also for people across the globe
If you found this blog helpful, please share with your friends.
If you’d like more cool free stuff like this, please like my page Fit in 20 here: https://www.facebook.com/Fitin20-1554565138093465/.