Eating the forbidden muffin, are you? – Part 3

By | change

Mar 08


“Changing a habit is not really true. We’re actually talking about replacing a habit.”


We’ve now gone through that you get a cue, “the trigger”, for one of your cravings. You do a routine to meet the craving and after that you get a reward that connects the cue and the routine mentally. We’ve also discussed how to find out what other reward will shut your craving up.

I know, let’s not work at the symptom let’s find the underlying problem instead.

The cue-routine-reward loop is still in place and now we just need to replace the routine with a different option.

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Let me explain what I did.

After some lurking around and testing, I found out that my 15:00 muffin came from low blood sugar and the need for more energy. I tested to take a walk which worked out great, I got some fresh air and felt energised. However, I still got very hungry around 16:00. That is not good for the training session I had planned before dinner. So I actually started to bring with me a homemade energy bar which I ate around 14:50 everyday. That meant that my energy level was re-established before I even got to the cue at 15:00. The first two weeks I basically set the alarm on my phone to remember it. Then I added the walk outside on top of it. It all took about 10 minutes.

I called it my energy bar walk.

When I got back to the office at 15:00 after my energy bar walk I was energised and ready for the last hours at work. I replaced the routine of going to the café and buying my muffin with a healthier and more energising routine which gave me the same, or even better satisfaction.

Basically I could focus a lot better while my co-workers were binge drinking coffee to stay alive.

Back to Charles Duhigg, he recommends that you put it down on paper and tape it to your desk, or keep it in your wallet. Wherever you have access to it when you need it. It looks something like this:

When I feel [insert cue here] , I will [insert new routine here] because it provides med with [insert reward here].

Try this for a week and see where this will take you. Studies show that the more you train on replacing habits the better you will become at doing it. They also point out, that eventually after training to do a new routine, the habit becomes automatic.

Now, automatic is the sweet spot we’re looking for.