Summer holiday period is a perfect time to rethink and restructure. Sure you want to rest and relax before going back to work and your busy schedule, but you could also use this time for improving one habit.
Actually, it is not the habit itself that you will be improving, but the routine associated with it.
Most of us do things to satisfy a need, but the routine we engage in to get to the reward may not be so constructive. For example, if you are a smoker, you would go for a break to have a smoke and chat with other smokers out there. It could be that you are really in need of a quick change of environment or a break from work much more than the actually cigarette. In order to figure out what it is you are actually after, you have to conduct a fun experiment.
To start with, you should detect a cue which triggers you to make the move, the routine you are doing and lastly the reward you are getting. So it could be that you don’t need to smoke that cigarette but rather a chat with a friend, a social moment is what you are after.
A cue can be anything from place, time of the day, person who triggers you to go. Then a routine kicks in. This is the part you are actually changing. Lets use an activity you might do on a holiday. When you go to the movies, do you get a large bag of popcorn? You sit down and watch a movie and before you know it, you are down to the bottom of the bag. This routine of eating unconsciously while watching a movie is probably what you don’t want to do again. Lastly, the reward is something you get in return, the pleasure that this habit offers.
So if the cue is a movie theatre (place), routine is popcorn eating and the reward is pleasure of seeing the film with sound effect on a large screen.
If you ask me, I don’t eat anything at the movies. Why? Well, because when I am distracted and eating, I don’t remember what I ate, how much and why. Most people don’t. Has anything like this ever happened to you? You set the bag of popcorn aside and then after a few minutes you pick it up again, but there is nothing inside. You forgot that it was empty. This routine is not the healthies one and if you want to improve it, there are a few things you can do.
Two things are for sure, the cue and the reward do not change. You will be going to the movie theatre and enjoying a film on a large screen. It is the routine that you should experiment with and see what works for you the best. You could try eating something healthier, just having a drink instead, or maybe fully engage in a movie and not chew on anything. Try a few different things each time you go and detect how you feel about the reward afterwards. Was the experience less satisfying? Was it maybe the same?
So, what movie are you watching next?
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