Okay, so day two. I woke up at 6:30 in the morning! Now I do get up at 5:45 in the morning for work during the week, but waking up early on days off is unheard of for me…. So to do it two days in a row is like, a miracle. But to recap yesterday’s article on The Habit Loop, I’m going to walk through what happened and how I changed my habit two days in a row, from a habitual chronic snooze button pusher to an early riser. Of course a little pear pressure from you (knowing I’d have to be honest when I blog about what I did) and knowing my core values as discussed in this weeks blog on Clarity of Values and Brene Brown’s book Dare to Lead, definitely helped.
So here’s how this morning went. First, my alarm goes off, singing “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars. I love the line, “Don’t believe me just watch!” Now just so we’re clear. I have pushed snooze on Bruno for months now. Maybe even a year. “Don’t believe me just…” Snooze. “Don’t believe me just…” Snooze.
There is one thing that will get me up and that is having to go to the commode. Yes, I said it. We all do it when we first get up. However I have mastered the art of not turning a single light on and stumbling back to bed and shortly falling straight into REM sleep. It’s a gift. Anyways, this morning as the song went off, and I turned off Bruno, I was in bed for about 5 minutes trying to talk myself into why I could actually sleep in. For a chronic 30 to 45 minute snoozer 5 minutes is nothing. Just putting it into perspective here.
Then I remembered my reward. The green chair. The green chair is where I have read countless books, the Bible, and now written a few blogs from my laptop. My green chair has a lot of good memories and is seen as a place of rest and relaxation for me. I have one small confession to make. I did have the help of Mr. Rogers.
Part of my “new routine” to get me away and not sleep walking to the green chair is to first make myself a cup of coffee. I am a coffee fanatic. So another part of my reward and to get me moving is to go to my Kureg and make a cup of coffee, before sitting in my green chair with a book or a laptop. Today though, I had my brand new mug, my Mister Rogers mug where when you fill it with hot coffee his jacket turned into a his famous sweater. I know. Don’t be jealous.
So here were my rewards this morning… green chair, coffee, Mr. Rogers sweater mug, and holding myself accountable and being able to tell you about it. I have to be honest though the whole accountable thing was no where near as inviting as the Mr. Rogers sweater mug. I also could have just found a way to just write about the next part of the book, which I still intend to do. The point is two days in a row, I woke up early. Me. The poster girl for non-morning people.
Last year, I listened to Mel Robbins The 5 Second Rule. Great book. I even tried to imagine shooting out of bed like a rocket. There was no shooting out of the bed for this chronic snoozer. There are a lot of great other things I learned from the book though about decision making. I also recently finished last month Miracle Mornings for Millionaires. A million dollars was not enough motivation for me to keep from repeatedly hitting snooze. I am trying to do part of the morning SAVERS he talks about by writing and reading every morning.
Who new a green chair and coffee (immediate rewards) would motivate me more than a million dollars? Also the habit of actually walking to the kitchen to make that cup of coffee helps wake me up enough so that I am not tempted to crawl back in bed or worse, fall asleep in my green chair. As Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit talks about, for a habit to form it takes three things: a cue, routine, and reward.¹
- Cue – “Uptown Funk” alarm
- Routine – Walking to make coffee then going to green chair (getting up early in the morning)
- Reward – Sitting with a great coffee mug, my hot coffee, and a great book while sitting in my green chair.
Hopefully, I can turn this morning thing into a full blown habit. Two days in a row is a big deal for me. Especially with it being below freezing outside this morning.
Later on in the book, The Power of Habit, Charles goes on to explain why habits… become habits.
“This explains why habits are so powerful: They create neurological cravings. Most of the time, these cravings emerge so gradually that we’re not really aware that they exist, so we’re often blind to their influence. But as we create cues with certain rewards, a subconscious craving occurs in our brains that starts the habit loop spinning.”²
As Charles further explains, “This is how new habits are created: by putting together a cue, a routine, and a reward, and then cultivating a craving that drives the loop.” An example he uses is “When a smoker sees a cue – say, a pack of Marlboros – her brain starts anticipating a hit of nicotine. Just the sight of cigarettes is enough to crave a nicotine rush.”³
So for a habit to continue a craving must be developed. “Only when your brain starts expecting the reward – craving the endorphins or sense of accomplishment – will it become automatic… The cue, in addition to triggering a routine, must also trigger a craving for the reward to come.”4
I’m telling you this stuff is the secret to changing… no amount of less blue light, hypnosis, or soft playing earthy music can really outwit a full blown habit change.
Every week I read a different book that helps us ordinary earth folk develop our superpowers. Join me daily for blogs on the book of the week and for my journey into not just reading these books but actually putting them into action. I mean why the hell read a book a week if I’m not going to use the information?
Vigilant Poster Girl
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The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
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- Pg 47-48
- Pg 49-50
- Pg 51