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  • Writer's pictureAniston Antony

How Habits are formed in our life

Habit forming loop

Forming a good habit is one of the toughest things an individual can achieve. A Healthy and routine habit is one of the keys to a brighter and successful future. Yet, many of us ignore this fact and just go around with the flow. This is mainly because habit forming can be super tedious and difficult at times, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.

Changing a habit can be daunting. It can feel like there is such a long road ahead and you don’t know where to start. Maybe you’re one of those people who go hard in the beginning only to burn out later and revert to your old ways.

How Habits Form

Habit begins with a three-step psychological pattern known as a "habit loop". An initial cue, also known as a trigger, instructs your brain to switch to automatic mode and permit a behavior to take place.

Our habit-forming actions have been linked to the basal ganglia, an area of the brain that is related to emotions, memories, and pattern recognition. The prefrontal cortex, a distinct region of the brain, is where decisions are made. However, as soon as a behavior becomes routine, your brain's decision-making center enters a state analogous to sleep.

The Science of How Habits Work

Cue, craving, response, and reward are the fundamental steps that make up the habit-forming process. Let's understand these fundamental four steps in detail.

1. Understanding CUE

There is the cue first. Your brain is prompted by the stimulus to start the behavior. Our ancestors in the prehistoric era were alert to indications that indicated the location of essential rewards like food, water, and sex. Today, the majority of our time is spent learning indicators that indicate secondary rewards like cash and fame, dominance and position, affirmation and approval, love and companionship, or a feeling of fulfillment. Of course, these activities indirectly increase our chances of surviving and procreating, which is the more fundamental reason for all we do.

Your mind is constantly looking for cues about where the rewards are by examining both your internal and external environments.

2. Understanding CRAVING

The driving force behind every habit, cravings constitute the second stage of the habit loop. We have no reason to act unless we have some amount of drive or desire. You desire the sense of relief from smoking a cigarette, not the act of doing so. The sense of having a clean mouth motivates you more than brushing your teeth. You want to be amused; you don't want to switch on the television.

Everybody has different kind of cravings. In reality different cues motivate different people. The sound of slot machines can be a strong trigger for an intense wave of desire in a gambler. The jingles and chimes of the casino are just background noise for someone who doesn't frequently bet. Before they are interpreted, cues have no significance. The observer's ideas, feelings, and emotions are what turn a cue into a need.

3. Understanding RESPONSE

The response comes as the third phase. Your actual habit, which may be expressed as a thought or an action, is the response. Depending on how driven you are and how much friction there is surrounding the behavior, a response may or may not take place. You won't undertake something if it involves more effort than you are prepared to put out, either physically or mentally.

Your capability will also influence how you respond. Although it seems easy, a habit can only form if you have the ability to execute it. You're out of luck if you want to slam a basketball but can't jump high enough to get to the hoop.

4. Understanding REWARD

After that, the reply gives a reward. Every habit has rewards as its ultimate goal. To focus on the reward is the cue. The need is brought on by the desire for the reward. The reaction is focused on winning the prize. We look for prizes because they satisfy and educate us simultaneously.

The first function of rewards is to satisfy your craving. Yes, rewards have advantages all by themselves. You get the energy you need to survive from food and water. A promotion results in increased pay and esteem. Getting in shape enhances both your dating prospects and health. However, the more immediate advantage is that rewards satiate your want to eat, improve your standing, or obtain acceptance. Rewards provide contentment and satiation, at least temporarily.

Second, rewards help us identify the behaviors that are important to remember for the future. It is a reward detector in your brain. Your sensory nerve system constantly tracks which behaviors in your daily life meet your desires and make you feel good. The feedback process that aids in helping your brain discriminate between behaviors that are productive and ineffective includes feelings of joy and sadness. Rewards complete the habit cycle by closing the feedback loop.

A behavior won't become a habit if it falls short in any of the four stages. If you get rid of the cue, your habit won't ever start. If the hunger is lessened, you won't have as much drive to take action. Make the action challenging and you won't be able to perform it. You won't have any motivation to repeat the action in the future if the reward doesn't satisfy your desire. A behavior won't happen if the first three steps aren't taken. A behavior won't be repeated until all four are present.

On breaking habits

The best way to change a habit is to understand its structure; once you tell people about the cue and the reward and force them to recognize what those factors are in a behavior, it becomes much, much easier to change. Habits are malleable throughout your entire life.

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