I have a few bad habits I’m trying to break. One of them is that when I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is look at my phone. I check my email, facebook, news, and who knows what else. Then I get out of bed. I hate that I do this. It’s convenient, the phone is right next to me since it also serves as my alarm. It’s already in my hands.
What I’m learning is that habits are made up of 3 parts; cue, routine, and reward. The cue is the phone in my hand, the routine is checking on my social media, and the reward….thats where I get stuck. What do I get out of it? A calmness that I didn’t miss anything? That’s silly since the rest of the world was pretty much sleeping too. I’ve thought a lot about it and decided my reward is my connection. Emails, facebook, people.com somehow make me feel connected to friends, family, and frankly perfect strangers.
Habits have been studied forward and backward and it’s been found that you can change a habit by keeping the cue and the reward and finding a new routine. It’s what Alcoholics Anonymous is based on. Well, that and the belief in a higher power and creating community among other things. So, the phone will still be in my hand because I turned off my alarm. So, how do I still get the reward of a connection with people without gluing my eyes to yet another computer screen? My answer as of this moment is to go take a group exercise class or simply to go for a walk/run. So the alarm gets turned off, I get myself up and dressed, and go be with people. Ya know, how we used to do it… in person.
The thing about changing the routine is that you have to believe that you can. It’s no longer an immediate reaction that you don’t think about. I have to consciously say to myself “put the phone down, get out of bed”. Some studies say it takes 6 weeks to form a habit. So, for the next 42 days I have to do something I don’t normally do. That’s a lot of self talk. But, I actually believe I can do it. It’s 2 fold good for me. Facebook can wait.
What habit would you like to change? What’s the cue, routine, and reward? I’d love to hear about them!
In Health and With Grace,