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The Power of Upgrading Existing Habits

Have you noticed that you are a creature of habit? Perhaps not, because habit happens without much thought. Think about this. If you learned how to program your habits, how could that transform your life?


Most of your day consists of the execution of thousands of learned routines. Think about the hundreds of processes that it takes to get you out of bed and ready for the day! For example, you always put on your left sock before your right sock. Your tooth brushing ritual has defined steps that you follow like clockwork every day. Tying shoes is a complicated routine process faithfully followed as well.


Human beings, unlike any other creature, can choose and change their habits. The process takes focus and effort but is possible. Every habit has three main parts, a trigger (something that begins the routine), a process (the routine itself) and a conclusion (typically some type of satisfaction/reward). And it is easier to upgrade or replace a current habit than just stop one and start a new one from scratch. Simple and powerful truth.

Here’s three steps to upgrade a habit. First, recognize the trigger associated with a habit you want to change. Second, modify the current program of actions you take after the trigger. Third, increase the reward that will occur every time the upgraded routine is completed.


Here’s an example of how to add exercise to a morning routine. Perhaps you currently drink coffee in the morning to help you greet the day and wake up. The trigger is your feet hitting the floor when you get out of bed. Your current routine is to walk to the kitchen, prepare the coffee, drink the coffee, and then enjoy the reward of tasting the coffee and the caffeine stimulation. This is the current established habit.


To add physical exercise to the habit, you could insert the exercise routine into the existing coffee habit. Your feet hit the floor, you put on your exercise outfit, walk twenty minutes on the treadmill while listening to your favorite audio program, and then make your coffee, enjoy it, and receive the bigger rewards of accomplishment, circulation, muscle tone, and euphoria. Although the change to the program will be initially take thought and focus, within several days you will have an improved established habit.


It is simple to do, and it requires commitment and action. What habit would you like to upgrade?

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