How to trigger a new habit
Learn more about setting up triggers in your everyday life to boost the chances of implementing the habit you want to form.
by Emilie Glen Colsted
Can we trigger a new habit?
One way to help build a new habit is to intentionally cue it.
We can cue or prompt a behavior that we want to implement in our everyday life by setting up triggers.
Maybe we want to form the habit of flossing, eating more fruit, drinking more water, exercising more or meditating...
We can then use a cue in our everyday environment to signal our brains to initiate that behavior.
We can do this by making the new habit visible.
E.g. by putting out dental floss next to our toothbrush. In this way we get a daily visual reminder to floss our teeth.
We can also strengthen the new habit of meditating by setting a daily reminder on our phone to meditate just before bedtime.
In that way, we remind ourselves to daily practice meditation.
What kind of cues is best?
Intentionally triggering habits like this is a way to create an environment where performing the new behavior is as easy as possible.
To increase the chances of triggering our new behavior it is therefore important to have cues that we can act on at the moment.
E.g. cueing a habit of eating more fruits by having a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter enables you to grab a piece of fruit and eat it right away.
Whereas cueing the same habit by setting a daily reminder on your phone to eat more fruit while you're driving home from work will not necessarily enable you to eat fruit right then and now.
If you want to learn another method to help build new habits, then check out the method of habit stacking.