How much water do you drink each day? 2 liters is the answer. Do you drink that much water every day? I don't know about you. But I don't the prescribed amount of water. As this was the topic of the conversation among a group comprising of friends, we discussed on how to make this a habit. The first response came immediately. I am thinking of buying a beautiful bottle and keep it on my work desk. I couldn't help smiling as I equated to beautiful to expensive. Is there a need for a costly reminder to build an essential habit?
Charles Duhigg has written an entire book named The Power of Habit. In this book, he explains a three-step process. Cue, Routine, and Reward. Based on a cue, we perform a routine which brings in a reward. When we repeat these steps continuously over a period, there forms a habit. Duhigg gives a scientific explanation behind habits. Now if you want to create a new habit, create the three-step processes and do it repeatedly. If you wish to run daily in the morning, keep you running shoes near your bed to serve as a cue. The routine is the run itself. The reward might be feeling good about yourself or that drink in the evening which you can gulp down without feeling guilty. It also becomes easier to break a bad habit. If you want to quit smoking, identify the cue and the reward. If it is stress that drives you to smoke, then find an alternative for relaxation. It could be reading an article, a walk in the office or even a call to a dear one. If it is another person smoking which is driving you to light a cigarette, you need to stay from bad influence.
Back to drinking the required amount of water, my friend is right. His beautiful bottle will be the cue. Many of us buy expensive objects like shoes, wearable, cameras, apps, etc. to serve as the cue. Before you invest money on expensive items, it 's nice to revisit Duhigg's three-step process and think intelligently about choosing the right cues.
Photo Courtesy: Patrik Nygren