How to Hack Habits

April 13th, 2022

David Peachment


How to Hack Habits

The mind has an immense capacity to constantly change and rewire itself. This is how habits get formed: from the brain rewiring itself to treat a specific task as automatic. Upon repeating a specific task after a specific trigger, the brain will develop new pathways whenever that trigger is activated. These new pathways make it easier for the brain to process the trigger easier and easier each time. Think of it like a dirt road. The more you drive on it, the more your tire tracks will create grooves in the dirt. This ultimately makes it much easier to stay on the road, but the negative is that it can make it harder to change where you are driving.

To make it simpler to understand, let me give you an example of a task and trigger. Whenever I sit down to watch a movie with my significant other on the weekend, I often have snacks such as popcorn or chips. It’s movie night, after all! After doing this enough times, the task of sitting down to watch a movie has created a trigger where my brain automatically thinks I need food to go along with it. This results in feelings of hunger in my stomach because my mind has associated watching TV with eating snacks. I’ve developed a habit. And while I’ve learned this habit, it can be unlearned.

For this blog post, I’m going to dive into habits and a few ways to hack them! This will allow you to improve your productivity and remove negative habits. Let me break the habit cycle down into further detail so you can learn about every step of the journey. The habit cycle consists of four separate steps: Cue, Craving, Response, and Reward.