Charles Duhigg’s excellent book The Power of Habit discusses how we learn behaviors that we’re able to keep forever, scientifically dissecting them into provable and learnable methods in which we literally change which part of our brain controls our actions. Essentially, it’s a three part process.
- Cue – An emotional trigger that makes us want to act.
- Routine – The behavior that’s caused by the cue.
- Reward – The result that’s caused by the behavior.
The cue needs to be something powerful that truly intrinsically motivates us to want to act. The routine needs to be enjoyable enough for you to continue, and the reward has to be powerful enough for us to remember. This is why most people who earn some sort of recognition or memorable achievement in the gym tend to last longer as members. Something along the way said very clearly to their brain, “This is worth it.”
I’ll give you an example. My cue is my FitBit. Shocking, I am sure. The reason it works so well for me is that I love tracking my steps and it’s the only reason I use it. Don’t even know what else it does. Don’t care. Low key, I think walking is the healthiest and easiest daily action we can perform and when I see my FitBit through the day, it encourages me to get off my computer and walk more. When I am more active, I am motivated to continue being active and will likely go to the gym or do a home workout. When I get in a workout I am exponentially more likely to eat healthy. When I string enough of those routines together, I get results.
- Cue: FitBit
- Routine: Walking –> Training –> Eating Right
- Reward: Maintaining health and physique
Rinse and repeat until permanent habit is formed that takes just as long to undue as it did to form. In there words, barring complete catastrophic meltdown: permanence.
This is what separates those who are “motivated” versus those who are simply living their life. Novices mistakenly perceive healthy action to be mastered by the “motivated” and that is simply untrue. It’s mastered by those who took the time to deliberately practice the skill of consistency, which means, anyone can turn themselves into someone who is “super motivated.”
Each person is different. I am not here to tell you what your cue should be. What in your day or what as part of your life can positively trigger healthy action? What are your best habits in the day and how can you double down on those and turn them into routine?
Bay Park PSC
Hang Power Cleans
Pacific Beach PSC
A: 4x4x4x4 RKB Swing Cluster + 20 Plank Lateral Bounds
B: 10 Burpees + 20” Wall Sit
C: 300m Sprint
Banded Lawnmower Rows
Prone Y Raises
Explosive Curtsy Lunges