I know a lot of you are just like me. You want to be creating habits in your life like meditation, exercise, eating better but the actual meta habit of creating habits is actually really difficult. So how do you create habits? I found it a very interesting theory called the cue routine reward cycle, popularized in the book ‘The Power of Habit’. I’m going to walk you through a sample habit cycle that you can use to begin meditating, eating better, or quitting social media addiction.
Let’s talk about the Habit cycle.
Now generally like Charles Duhigg popularized in his book ‘The Power of Habit’, generally there is a cue, a routine, and a reward cycle to a habit. The cue, routine, reward cycle is basically what triggers the habit, what the habit is and why the person does the habit. Because generally speaking we don’t just do things for no reason. Generally we do things because there is some kind of payoff or end goal we are trying to achieve. Weather in the brain or whether it’s just temporarily with distraction.
Now the cue.
The cue is what triggers your routine, an example of a cue could be me getting stressed out trying to write and edit this post. The cue being “I feel stressed”. This leads to my routine, what I do to deal with that cue. The routine is, I stuff my face with chocolate because I love chocolate and this helps me get through the post. The reward is getting through the task successfully and not feeling stressed, life is good.
The cue is what triggers it, stress, in this case, is the routine. What I do, is stuff my face with chocolate, that is the reward. That relief we get after is because we did that habit for some reason. Now I feel like I can do this post and I’m not grumpy.
Now let’s talk about a simple cue routine reward cycle you can use for meditation that I have successfully used. The cue here is going to be waking up in the morning. I’m going to link waking up and doing 10 jumping jacks to sitting down on the bed for one minute to meditate. So what we’re linking is to get up out of bed, 10 jumping jacks because, one, you already are getting up anyway. You always have a morning. so linking meditation to morning ritual is one of the best ways to consistently do it. Now the reason for the jumping jacks is that is going to actually wake you up. Honestly, it’s going to it’s a lot easier to be lazy and sit on the bed and fall asleep if you’re not woken up a bit so the jumping jacks will have built up circulation, and blood flow to wake you up.
Then you sit down at your bed calmly and quietly put your hands on your knees and then just meditate for 60 seconds. You can use a phone timer, you can set some kind of alarm. Your morning wake-up alarm whatever. The point is, you link waking up to doing 10 jumping jacks, to just sitting on the edge of your bed for 1 minute. Then you’ve linked meditation to a pre-existing event that’s already in your calendar.
So rather than being like yeah I’m just going to start meditating every day and then assigning it to some random time throughout the day is very hard to actually do that your master.