To learn how to create long-term habits, first, let's understand what a habit is:
Per definition, a habit is: “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary”
Now, it is important to note that we are all individuals who are inherently different. Therefore, creating or changing the same habit can be a totally dissimilar experience. For example, if we are both trying to become more active but I struggle with motivation while you struggle with finding the time. We will have very different habit-building journeys.
The reason why I mentioned the above is so that you understand that there isn’t a one-quick formula on how to create a habit. What will work for me might not work for you. However, what we can do is how habits in general work. This way, we can identify the components (which will vary per person).
THE HABIT LOOP
At its core, every habit has a loop. MIT Researchers identified this loop is formed of three parts:
The first part is the cue. It can be a person, a time or moment, an emotional state, a preceding event, or even a location. It is paramount in the habit-building loop to start utilizing cues that are immediately actionable and don’t leave room for interpretation.
For example, “I’m going for a walk after work” or “I’m going for a walk as soon as I park my car in my garage” is the same cue, however, one is very specific and easy to act on. Hint: It’s the second one
The second part is a routine. This is very self-explanatory, it is the steps you take during your habit. For instance, “Drive home, park the car in the garage, put my running shoes on, go for a walk”
Lastly, the third part is the reward. This part is where we normally fail to properly identify what moves us. What actually drove you to go for a walk? Was it that feeling of accomplishment afterwards? Perhaps it was the recognition you got from your family when you got back? Or it could be that when going for a walk you get alone time that you don’t have at home.
Understanding these three parts is crucial to creating effective long-term habits.
HOW WE DO HABITS AT SLOPE
At Slope, we work individually with each of our users to understand their routine, motivation & goals. Once we have a good perspective of what their current situation is, together we create what the future situation looks like. After, is when habit creation comes in.
We help the user create habits that have specific & actionable cues. We design a routine that works with their lifestyle and work & family constraints. And finally, we help them identify what rewards actually trigger them so we can set an effective habit loop.
If you are looking to either create or change your habits, check out our app as soon as read this sentence and let's get started immediately! (did you see my very specific cue there?)
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit - https://charlesduhigg.com/how-habits-work/
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits - https://jamesclear.com/habit-triggers