Habits, Cues & Rewards
Monday, March 05, 2012
I was in the car today at lunch and caught about 10 minutes of Fresh Air on NPR. Today the guest was a man who wrote a book about habits and how they form. I didn't hear much of the interview, but what I did hear was really interesting. The author was talking about how he had a habit of going to the cafeteria at work every afternoon and buying a chocolate chip cookie. He said that he wrote himself notes reminding himself NOT to go buy the cookie but he never could give it up. During the course of his research, he asked the psychologists who he interviewed if they had any advice on how he could break his cookie habit. They all told him that he needed to figure out what the cue was that triggered the action and what the reward was that was associated with it. Through trial and error, he figured out was that the reward wasn't the cookie itself, but the visiting with co-workers that he saw in the cafeteria; he got the same "reward" whether he bought a cookie or some water.
Anyway, I thought this was really interesting and totally relevant to my weight loss journey. I can easily have a glass of wine every evening after work. I work from home and I think the cue is "work day's over - woohoo!" I'm still working on the reward part. I've been trying to substitute almond milk with some nutmeg which is working ok, but I still don't think I've totally figured out this habit yet. Adding the nutmeg definitely makes the almond milk work better, but I'm not sure why (and yes, it's just almond milk and nutmeg)