The Habit Cycle

Every single day a person goes through hundreds of routines. From tying your shoes in the morning, to putting on your pajamas at night, the human brain uses habits to save energy while completing mundane tasks. Habits are the routines your brain has deemed worth remembering. They are suspected to be stored in a place of your brain called the basal ganglia.

Habits are implanted in your brain, but that does not mean they can’t be changed. Habits can be rewritten and rebuilt. But, it takes a lot of work.

Breaking a habit is hard, but not impossible. It can be done by taking advantage of the cycle that created it. By keeping the same cue and reward, but changing the routine can rewrite the habit. A person that snacks constantly throughout the day may do so to satisfy the feelings of boredom. By keeping the same cue, being bored, and the reward, of finding something to do, but changing snacking to getting up and walking around, they can change that habit. Changes require consistency and time devotion. A relapse will only damage the process made.

Advertisers and Marketers use habits to draw in customers and encourage purchases. Large companies like Target will buy consumer demographic information, and then track purchase patterns to predict future buys. Toothpaste companies create a satisfying minty and tingling taste to convince you the toothpaste is working. This is all part of creating a reward worthy of habit.

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg, introduces these topics and explains the success of changing a habit. Through his book, he illustrates the steps a person needs to take to change a bad habit into something beneficial, and shows that one change can impact other habits in a positive way. We do what we do in life and business because of habits, so read this book.

-Eva Mewborn

One thought on “The Habit Cycle

  1. This was a very cool read. I have never thought of habits before s=as functioning to save brain energy. However, it makes sense because while we are performing routine habits, our brains do seem to go on autopilot.

    I agreed with the part in the article about habits being extremely hard to break (from firsthand experience); but I do think it is so important to be aware of our habits that need to be broken as consumers in today’s society. After all, today more than ever before, advertisers and marketers do really market towards our habits and keep us purchasing products that might be more expensive than others that would be of equal value to us. However, it’s a habit of ours and mentally convenient to just grab the product we have “always used” off of the shelf. Especially if you’re a broke college kid like me, it’s very important though to notice these habits and to change them, even if it means exerting a little more brain energy and time to find good deals and spend a little extra time browsing through a store.

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