Module 2.

How To Build Habits

In the previous step we found out that if we want to change our behaviour and create habits that are permanent, we should concentrate our energy on our identity, on becoming the person that we want to be.

In this section, we are going to take an overview of the four steps that make up any habit. We will start to look at the “nuts and bolts” of habit change. But remember all the steps in the subsequent sections will only pay dividends when we first see ourselves as becoming the person that we want to be.

We should always also remember that taking tiny steps and getting there eventually is far more important than making a giant effort at the beginning, only to be disappointed later when our motivation is no longer sufficient to sustain our momentum. Remember “In nature, nothing is hurried, yet everything is achieved”.

I’m learning Spanish at the moment. I want to become fluent. Every day I learn for just 10 minutes. It’s part of my morning routine. I finish doing yoga and then without fail I sit down with a coffee and learn for just 10 minutes.

It’s easy to keep this habit going. It’s only 10 minutes, I drink a coffee at the same time and I make just a little bit of progress each day. But it works. I’m learning and becoming more and more fluent. This principle applies to all habits so instead of going all in, you might want to consider taking a slow approach. We should follow nature’s lead.

Habits Comprise of Four Steps

All habits have these four steps in common:

  • Cue: this is the thing that prompts your brain into wanting to do something. It’s a cue that promises a reward.
  • Craving: this is the motivational force behind every habit. You don’t crave the habit itself, but the change in state it delivers (e.g. you do not crave a bacon sandwich, you crave the feeling of relief it provides)
  • Response: this is the actual habit you perform, as a thought or action. So in our bacon-sandwich example, this would be the part where you go to the kitchen and make it.
  • Reward: this is the objective of every habit. We chase rewards because they satisfy our cravings and teach us which actions are worth remembering in the future

How To Use These Four Steps To Build Healthy Food Habits

  1. We should make the cue obvious. When we are trying to form new habits this is really important. Our objective, however, is to replace our response to an existing habit. We are not trying to start an eating habit, but rather to replace the foods that we are already eating with more healthy options. Normally, our cue will be the feeling of hunger.
  2. We want to make our cravings attractive. We will want to make sure that our new plant-based foods are more tasty, delicious and desirable than our old meat-and-dairy-based foods.
  3. We want to make sure that our response is for the healthy option and we want to make it easy. This means making sure that our fridges and cupboards are full of easy-to-prepare or pre-prepared meals and snacks.
  4. We want to make our food satisfying. The more delicious, tasty and satisfying our food, the more we will enjoy our reward and want to repeat our actions.

How We Can Turn These Four Steps on Their Head To Kick Our Meat and Dairy Addiction

  1. We should make the cue invisible. We want to remove all meat and dairy products from our fridges and pantries.
  2. We want to want to make our cravings for meat and dairy unattractive. We want to remind ourselves that these products cause heart disease, diabetes and most other chronic diseases. They also are responsible for animal suffering, climate change and even deadly viruses.
  3. We want to make sure that our response is difficult. This means making sure that our fridges and cupboards contain no meat and dairy products. When we go out and we are unsure if healthy foods will be available, we prepare in advance and take food with us.
  4. We want to make meat and dairy unsatisfying. If we do slip up and eat meat and dairy, we need to remind ourselves of how it is full of saturated fat, cholesterol and death. We should remind ourselves that we have let down ourselves, the animals and the planet.

1. Introduction  |  2. Identity Change  |  3. Make it Rewarding  |  4. How to Build Habits  6. The Best Way to Start  |  7. Environment  |  8. More on Environment  |  9. Make it Attractive10. Make it Unattractive  |  11. Role of Friends and Family  |  12. Momentum | 13. Make it Easy  |  14. Procrastination  |  15. Commitment Devices

About Module 2:

Before we find out more about switching to a healthy diet, it will help us a lot to learn about how habits are formed and, perhaps most importantly, kept.

I’m really excited about this module because it provides us with a tool for making changes in all areas of our life, not just diet and health. I promise that you’ll discover a lot of new ways of implementing changes in your life. This module will also help you to kick bad habits and create new ones.

Module 2.

How To Build Habits

In the previous step we found out that if we want to change our behaviour and create habits that are permanent, we should concentrate our energy on our identity, on becoming the person that we want to be.

In this section, we are going to take an overview of the four steps that make up any habit. We will start to look at the “nuts and bolts” of habit change. But remember all the steps in the subsequent sections will only pay dividends when we first see ourselves as becoming the person that we want to be.

We should always also remember that taking tiny steps and getting there eventually is far more important than making a giant effort at the beginning, only to be disappointed later when our motivation is no longer sufficient to sustain our momentum. Remember “In nature, nothing is hurried, yet everything is achieved”.

I’m learning Spanish at the moment. I want to become fluent. Every day I learn for just 10 minutes. It’s part of my morning routine. I finish doing yoga and then without fail I sit down with a coffee and learn for just 10 minutes.

It’s easy to keep this habit going. It’s only 10 minutes, I drink a coffee at the same time and I make just a little bit of progress each day. But it works. I’m learning and becoming more and more fluent. This principle applies to all habits so instead of going all in, you might want to consider taking a slow approach. We should follow nature’s lead.

Habits Comprise of Four Steps

All habits have these four steps in common:

  • Cue: this is the thing that prompts your brain into wanting to do something. It’s a cue that promises a reward.
  • Craving: this is the motivational force behind every habit. You don’t crave the habit itself, but the change in state it delivers (e.g. you do not crave a bacon sandwich, you crave the feeling of relief it provides)
  • Response: this is the actual habit you perform, as a thought or action. So in our bacon-sandwich example, this would be the part where you go to the kitchen and make it.
  • Reward: this is the objective of every habit. We chase rewards because they satisfy our cravings and teach us which actions are worth remembering in the future

How To Use These Four Steps To Build Healthy Food Habits

 

  1. We should make the cue obvious. So for the objective of this course, we want to fill our fridges and pantries with healthy plant-based foods and meals.
  2. We want to make our cravings attractive. We will want to make sure that our new plant-based foods are more tasty, delicious and desirable than our old meat-and-dairy-based foods.
  3. We want to make sure that our response is easy. This means making sure that our fridges and cupboards are full of easy-to-prepare or pre-prepared meals and snacks
  4. We want to make our food satisfying. The more delicious, tasty and satisfying our food, the more we will enjoy our reward and want to repeat our actions.

How We Can Turn These Four Steps on Their Head To Kick Our Meat and Dairy Addiction

  1. We should make the cue invisible. We want to remove all meat and dairy products from our fridges and pantries.
  2. We want to want to make our cravings for meat and dairy unattractive. We want to remind ourselves that these products cause heart disease, diabetes and most other chronic diseases. They also are responsible for animal suffering, climate change and even deadly viruses.
  3. We want to make sure that our response is difficult. This means making sure that our fridges and cupboards contain no meat and dairy products. When we go out and we are unsure if healthy foods will be available, we prepare in advance and take food with us.
  4. We want to make meat and dairy unsatisfying. If we do slip up and eat meat and dairy, we need to remind ourselves of how it is full of saturated fat, cholesterol and death. We should remind ourselves that we have let down ourselves, the animals and the planet.

1. Introduction  |  2. Identity Change  |  3. Make it Rewarding  |  4. How to Build Habits  6. The Best Way to Start  |  7. Environment  |  8. More on Environment  |  9. Make it Attractive10. Make it Unattractive  |  11. Role of Friends and Family  |  12. Momentum | 13. Make it Easy  |  14. Procrastination  |  15. Commitment Devices

About Module 2:

Before we find out more about switching to a healthy diet, it will help us a lot to learn about how habits are formed and, perhaps most importantly, kept.

I’m really excited about this module because it provides us with a tool for making changes in all areas of our life, not just diet and health. I promise that you’ll discover a lot of new ways of implementing changes in your life. This module will also help you to kick bad habits and create new ones.