The Habit Loop: Putting it to the Test
By Mia Sherin, November 20, 2020
You may have noticed something a little bit different about our blog...and we are excited to officially relaunch the Habits 365 blog under the title, “The Loop”! You might be wondering what that means or how it relates to habits. Well, the Habit Loop is the process of building habits, which consists of four steps that we cycle through that reinforce our habits. It’s the process we must turn to when building positive habits, and the cycle we must break when trying to get over our negative ones. At Habits 365, we are all about practicing good habits, 365 days a year. Through this blog, we hope to help support you as you build your habits, so make sure you check out our posts to stay in “The Loop”!
For now, let’s learn a little bit more about the Habit Loop and put it to the test. James Clear, author of the New York Times bestselling book, “Atomic Habits”, divides the Habit Loop into four steps: Cue, craving, reward, and response. The cue is what triggers your brain to feel an emotion or take action, and could be anything from a time of day, a location, or those around you. If you have a habit of watching TV, is it not that you are craving television, but rather entertainment. The response is the actual habit you perform, and the reward is what the response delivers, and can vary from habit to habit and person to person. While the Habit Loop is a universal phenomenon, each cue, craving, response and reward are very personal and unique to each person.
Especially with online school, I have struggled with checking my phone much more than I used to. I have also developed a bit of a TikTok obsession, which definitely isn’t helping. So I decided to use the Habit Loop to help me break this bad habit and replace it with a healthier one: meditating. To do so, I began paying attention when I would go on my phone, to try and determine what my cue was, or what was triggering me to pick it up. I noticed that it was almost always when I was in class or doing schoolwork, which led me to believe that I wasn’t just craving TikTok time but also a distraction and stress relief. My response to this craving was to check my phone, and I was rewarded with a distraction and momentary release of stress.
From there, I acknowledged my cue of doing schoolwork and feeling anxious, and understood my desire for a release of anxiety. But instead of pursuing my typical response of checking my phone, I set a timer for five minutes and meditated. This used to be one of my favorite forms of self-care, but I lost the inspiration to do so with the craziness of this year. After cycling through this new Habit Loop for about a week, I noticed that I still got the same rewarding feeling, without needing to check my phone. Even better, my stress levels were lowered and my productivity increased.
I would definitely recommend taking the time to build your habits using the Habit Loop, and make sure to check back in for more tips. We promise to keep you in the loop.