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The Science Of Habit Formation And Change

Chunking - The Root of Habits

The process in which the brain converts a sequence of actions into an automatic routine is known as ‘chunking,’ and it’s at the root of how habits form.

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The Science Of Habit Formation And Change

The Science Of Habit Formation And Change

https://fs.blog/2012/03/everything-you-need-to-know-about-habits-the-science-of-habit-formation-and-change/

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Key Ideas

Chunking - The Root of Habits

The process in which the brain converts a sequence of actions into an automatic routine is known as ‘chunking,’ and it’s at the root of how habits form.

Habits emerge...

...because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. 

It will try to make almost any routine into a habit, because habits allow our minds to ramp down more often. This effort-saving instinct is a huge advantage. 

The 3 Step Loop of Habit Formation:

  • First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use.
  • Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional.
  • Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.

Habits and brain functioning

When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. 

It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks. So unless you deliberately fight a habit, unless you find new routines, the pattern will unfold automatically.

The Golden Rule of habit change

A habit cannot be eradicated—it must, instead, be replaced. And if we keep the same cue and the same reward, a new routine can be inserted. 

But that’s not enough. For a habit to stay changed, people must believe change is possible. And most often, that belief only emerges with the help of a group.

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Habit Ladder

This is a system that is automated by you. It is called a habit ladder because, from the time you wake up to finishing your first work task of the day, you're climbing up one rung at a t...

How Habits Work

A habit - a mini-system that once you create, becomes automatic to your body, with minimal interference from the brain.

The Habit Loop is a breakdown of a habit put it into three sections:

  • Cue: A certain trigger that awakens the habit
  • Routine: The action you perform without thinking.
  • Reward: The change you experience making you want to do more of the same.
Making a Habit Ladder

Keep a trigger cue ready and stack up the routine in such a way that your tasks become a habitual routine without any friction, each trigger cue and routine stacked over the next one.

Example: Put on running shoes instead of slippers in the morning and that's your cue to go out for a walk, then when you are back and feeling sweaty, that's your cue to take a bath.

Forming good habits

Habits are little chunks of auto-pilot behavior that get burned permanently into your mind. Once you develop a habit, you can never really delete it.

Habits start with a trigger, which se...

Find the trigger point of your habit

Describe your own behavior in detail, and search for clues you might have missed before. Find your trigger.
If you have a habit of making coffee, it might be triggered by entering the kitchen. Some people eat in response to boredom or buy stuff in response to their desires.

Trick yourself

Take an existing cue you have, but trick yourself into triggering a different behavior.
If you want to quit coffee, you could give away the coffee machine and put a box of tea or a glass of water on the countertop.

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The Habit Loop
The Habit Loop

The cue triggers a craving, which motivates a response, which provides a reward, which satisfies the craving and, ultimately, becomes associated with the cue.

Together, these fo...

5 primary ways that a new habit can be triggered
  • Cue 1: Time - Most common way to trigger a new habit
  • Cue 2: Location - Most powerful driver of mindless habits and also the least recognized
  • Cue 3: Preceding Event - Many habits are a response to something else that happens in your life
  • Cue 4: Emotional State - emotional state is a common cue for bad habits
  • Cue 5: Other People - people you surround yourself with can play a role in your habits and behaviors.