How to Form A Good Habit

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Charles Duhigg presents some recent research on Habits in his book “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business”.   In it, Duhigg analyzes the latest clinical research, including that on the basal ganglia, a part of the brain associated with habit forming and decision making processes.”Cravings are what drive habits.  And figuring out how to spark a craving makes creating a new habit easier.”

With every habit that is formed there is less brain energy associated with the underlying action.  This is why it becomes a habit – we teach ourselves to perform the action without even thinking.  There are a lot of desirable actions during our day, such as drinking more water, that is not yet a habit so we simply don’t do it. There is no unconscious cue to trigger the habit.  Ultimately, the brain wants to conserve and preserve energy while performing common daily functions, which is why it forms habits in the fist place.  Using the brain less on these mundane actions  allows us to “think outside the box” or create new ideas on how to solve other things in our lives – in other words: to focus on the harder stuff.

The basic flow of a habit is as follows:

1. A cue triggers our habit or routine to begin

2. The habitual routine occurs

3. There is a reward

A good example the author uses is brushing our teeth in the morning:

1. You wake up with bad breath

2. You brush your teeth

3. The reward is sparkling teeth and fresh breath

So how do you create good eating and healthy habits? You first have to figure out the “cue” or “trigger” – essentially, what is causing the habit.  For some it may be the smell of a certain food or the the sight of chips and salsa on a table.  Find out your trigger! “Cravings drive habits…figuring out how to spark a craving makes creating a new habit easier.” In essence, create a “good” craving.  For example, create a craving for vegetables or for the taste of water.  The key here is that once you figure out your cue or trigger, you can start to associate it with the desired reward.  For example, leading yourself down the path toward eliminating irritable bowel symptoms – a happy tummy. By understanding and using this unconscious feedback loop to your advantage, you will be able to change the habit or the routine. Finally, remember that if you have a toxic bowel and have never cleansed or purified your gut, the toxins within your body and poor food choices keep you in a bad habit cycle.  That means you’re actually inhibiting the rewards you want to encourage. Don’t let this negative reinforcement cycle continue. Instead, check out our purification course to learn more about what cleansing is and how it works.  Your habits will be glad you did.

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