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  • So if you're like me, you probably have at least a few bad habits you would like to break.

  • But it's tough because no matter how hard I try, I seem to slip back into the same old routines again and again.

  • In the last decade, we've learned a lot about how habits work.

  • That's Charles Duhigg, author of the book, "The Power of Habit."

  • And in particular we've learned the neurological structure of a habit.

  • He says we tend to think of habits as a single thing, but actually, each habit has three components.

  • There's a cue which is like a trigger for a behavior to start, and then there is a routine which is the behavior itself,

  • and then finally a reward, which is how our brain learns to encode that automatic behavior for the future.

  • And one of the big differences is that for years when people thought about habits, they focused in on the routine, on the behavior.

  • But what we now know is that it's these cues and these rewards that really shape how habits occur and how to change them.

  • And Charles says that whether we like it or not, this kind of habit formation is endemic to our brain.

  • And what it will do is our brain will latch on to a cue that it associates to the behavior and the particular reward.

  • And over time, that cue and that reward become more and more and more sort of intertwined.

  • The inner part of your brain, the basal ganglia will relate them together.

  • And the behavior that is associated with that, that will just sort of happen automatically.

  • But Charles says the good news is we can also use this knowledge to our advantage.

  • There was a big study that was done about how to create exercise habits.

  • And so what they did is they told a group of people, "Okay, first of all choose an obvious cue:

  • always go running at the same time every day or put your workout clothes next to your bed, so that you see them first thing when you wake up."

  • And then they said, "Go for a run or go workout and when you get back from exercising, give yourself a small piece of chocolate."

  • Now this is kind of counterintuitive, right?

  • Because people who are exercising are trying to lose weight not eat more chocolate.

  • And yet what the researchers knew is that their brain needed that reward.

  • The basal ganglia needed some reward.

  • What they found was that people who ate a small piece of chocolate after coming home from a run or a workout, they were much more likely to start exercising habitually.

  • So, according to Charles, whether you want to break a habit, or start a new habit, the key is to divide the habit into its component parts:

  • cue, routine and reward, and design it for the result that you want.

  • Hey, guys. My name is Kirsten from Epipheo and we would love to hear from you about what you think a great reward is for you to make or break a habit.

  • So, leave us a comment down below in the comment section to let us know.

  • We come out with a video every week that we hope will change your life.

  • And next week we are talking about how you can say, "No" to pretty much anything.

  • So hit subscribe and we will see you next week!

So if you're like me, you probably have at least a few bad habits you would like to break.

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