We find talking and thinking about habits fascinating. Quite often, we do things in our everyday lives without even thinking about them twice, but do you ever think about why are we doing things we do? Do you ever think about all of the successful people in the world, about their habits, routines, rituals? If you do then we’re on the same boat.
A question a lot of people might ask themselves before taking action. However, with habits, you’re not asking that question. If we had to define ‘habit’ in our own words it would be something like this. A habit is an unconscious-complex action that we do, which gives us some sort of a sensation. Think that’s a bit confusing?! Let’s dig a bit deeper.
Take brushing your teeth as a good old example. Do you ever think about why you’re brushing your teeth? Is it a requirement or a duty? Do you even think, when brushing your teeth? For majority of people the answer is no. Simply because this is just something we’re so used to doing over and over and over again that it became automatic. It’s just something we do regardless. Let us tell you a funny fact.
Did you know, that about 100 years ago, most of the people were not used to brushing their teeth? In fact, only the upper class used to do so. It was too expensive. Majority of the folks had a nasty film on their fangs. Guess what?! That didn’t bother them, whatsoever. It wasn’t until an adman named Claude C. Hopkins decided to advertise his friend’s new revelation called Pepsodent. A toothpaste. Something that was affordable for everyone. However, this wasn’t the reason Hopkins wanted to sell this product, he thought that people will buy it because it made their teeth whiter and their smiles prettier. Turns out it wasn’t true either. In fact, the reason people bought into the whole mess was because of this weird tingling in their gums and their mouths after they would brush their teeth. A true sensation. Something that majority associated with cleanliness. Back then, people wouldn’t leave their houses or go to sleep until they feel that tingle in their mouths. Wait…back then? How about now? Hmm… You get a reward for brushing your teeth?!
That’s right, a reward for brushing your damn teeth. See any habit, whether it is good or bad, is created/developed through something called a ‘habit loop‘. This loop consists of three things:
- Cue – this is the trigger, that little light-bulb inside your head that tells you to take action.
- Routine – this is the process, the behaviour, the ‘automatic’ part of a habit.
- Reward – that’s that tingle in your gums and teeth, that sensation, that something which makes you want to do it again and again.
Once these three things are engaged and the habit loop is executed then we start forming habits. We might not even realise we’re doing it, because it is such a freaking complex process. I could go into more detail about how the brain digests the whole information and so on, but let’s leave it for later.
For now just focus on your habits, things that you do every day and don’t even think about. Try to notice them, the tiniest things. Write them down, see if you can improve them, change or replace them. Share them with us. Share your thoughts with us.
Finally, let this post be a tiny-tiny insight into the topics (including different types of habits, the complexity of the process, habits in different environments and etc.) that we’re planning to cover in the near future.
People say that small things matter, well, we couldn’t agree more.
–Vinny The Guy–