Habit Loops

Habit Loops are things that we do repeatedly without much thought.

They allow us to do more because they reduce the demands on our thinking after we have internalized how to do something.

Our brains are like the CPU in our computers.

The available resources are utilized by the things we are doing and thinking about.

Habit Loops reduce the demand on our brain by allowing the things we know how to do well to happen without thinking through every detail as we need to do when we were first learning how.

Things like driving a car, playing an instrument, or a sport are good examples.

When we started we had to think about every step in the process.

Where is the brake? How hard do I push it? Where do my fingers go to play this note? How do I grip the ball?

As we built Habit Loops, we were able to do the basics with little thought.

We just did them.

Habit Loops are also comfortable.

We have done this before and we know we can do it again.

Habit Loops allow us to do what we do with less stress and worry.

The comfort they provide can also hold us back.

Habit loops can become confining

They can hold us back from trying new things, from learning and growing, from building relationships.

“This is the way we have always done it and there ain’t no reason to change”

The battle cry of those entrenched in the perpetuation of a confining Habit Loop.

Like most other things, Habit Loops be good or they can cause problems.

Depends on how we use them.

Habit Loops – “This process within our brains is a three-step loop. 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.

Over time, this loop—cue, routine, reward; cue, routine, reward—becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become intertwined until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges. Eventually, whether in a chilly MIT laboratory or your driveway, a habit is born.

Habits aren’t destiny. Habits can be ignored, changed, or replaced. But the reason the discovery of the habit loop is so important is that it reveals a basic truth: 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.” ― Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

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