Habits are the things we do without truly thinking deeply about them. There are specific steps that you must take to change habits in your life. It is important that every step is taken seriously. To make things easier, try writing them down. As you decide on the changes you’ll be making, write them down. It will be a lot easier to stick to the plan when you have one.

What’s the Trigger?

The very first step to changing a habit is knowing the trigger. What makes you want to act a certain way or do a certain thing? The trigger is easy to notice. Once you think of making a move to start the habit you dislike, think about the cause. What happened to make you do this?

This short moment of reflection will give you a greater understanding as to why you’re into this habit. For an example, we’ll use smoking. If you always want a cigarette after arguing with a certain person or after a workout, it’s clear that stress makes you want to smoke.

Now we can focus on consciously focusing on the trigger and the next steps will follow.

Cues

The cue of a habit is what gets you started. Cues make you get up and make the move or they start the process of thinking that leads to a routine. For example, a great cue for working out early in the morning is leaving your gear by the bed. Once you wake up, you’ll see your shoes and the morning workout is immediately on your mind.

Changing a cue is the second part of developing a solid habit. Switch up your cue to start the changing process. If you want to read more, keep books in the bathroom and don’t bring your phone. Now, you have no choice but to pick up the book and start consuming information.

Routine

Routines are the next step to change habits. The routine is what you do after the cue starts the process. If you have a habit of oversleeping, you probably have the cue of hitting snooze and the routine of laying right back down after the alarm has gone off.

To change this habit, you must switch the cue to setting your alarm much earlier and develop the routine of getting out of bed. After this change, you must make the conscious effort to stick with the new format.

Reward

Rewards are what make all habits work. The reward is what you get or do after the routine is completed. Rewards can be something simple like eating your favorite meal or taking a much-needed nap.

Changing your habits requires that you change your rewards. Let’s stick with workout example. So you have the cue of getting out of bed immediately, then the routine of completely a full workout, your reward can be something like a smoothie.

How to Change Habits

So changing your habits are a complete process. Every step must be completed for your habit to stick and remain relevant.

  1. Acknowledge your triggers.
  2. Set a new cue.
  3. Develop the positive routine.
  4. Add a new reward.