For two weeks, she didn’t eat more than necessary and was happy that she had finally gotten hold of her habit. However, after two weeks on a bright Monday morning when she was alone at her home, she found herself running to the kitchen again to get a good dose of sugary carbs.
“What was that?” she thought. “I was feeling fine and my mood wasn’t down in any way. Why did I return to my habit? Maybe all this eating-to-lift-moods theory is hogwash!”
An incident of a similar nature happened to Jeremy. Jeremy was a smoker who had now quit for about a month after he realized that he only smoked to get a relief from stress. Also, he had read somewhere that smoking only increases stress in the long-term and does nothing to alleviate it. So he decided that he’d quit.
One day he was waiting for a friend who didn’t show up and after five minutes or so he felt an urge to smoke. He went to a nearby store, opened the door and had almost bought a cigarette when he realized that he had given the habit up. So he came out, without a cigarette, and wondered, “Gosh! What was I doing?! I wasn’t really stressed or anxious. Why then did I feel the urge to smoke?”
To achieve that end, your mind tries to connect a reward-generating habit with as many triggers as possible and not just one. This increases the odds of you encountering one of the triggers and consequently carrying out the habit.
The more triggers your mind attaches to a habit, the harder it will be for you to quit your habit but once you identify all the triggers, no matter how subtle, then you’ll be able to conquer your habits.
|Every time you decide not to repeat a habit when you encounter a trigger you break the association that your mind has made between the habit, reward, and the trigger.|
Note that bad moods were already the strong triggers behind Sheena’s habit (as she already knew) but her mind kept searching for additional triggers so that the probability of her repeating the habit could be increased. So when Sheena’s mind noticed that she was alone at home, it urged her to return to the habit. Weird as it may seem, it was the situation of ‘being alone at home’ itself that became a trigger!
Otherwise, his mind could never have associated ‘waiting’ with ‘smoking’ like it did. So when his subconscious mind found him ‘waiting for someone’, it urged him to smoke!