Are you sure you are ready and have enough time right now for this step? If not, just click the button below to go back to the safety and comfort of the last step. If you are sure that you want to move on because you feel 100% confident that you have learned and mastered the last step, then welcome and read on!
In this step, you will begin to learn how to break unwanted habit loops and how to form new loops – especially the closed loops which have become cravings and addictions!
Once your brain starts craving the neurochemical reward it gets from performing a certain habit loop, it can feel uncontrollable and even hopeless at times. Now it’s time to regain that control and take charge of your loops! You are in charge of your actions – even the unconscious ones – especially now that you understand the loop and how it works.
The next step in taking this control back is to call it out. Literally, say it out loud. Any time you recognize a loop for what it is (thanks to what you learned and practiced in the previous lessons), whether uncontrolled or not, give it a name. Call it the “potato chip” loop, the “bread loop,” the “wine loop,” or whatever loop you want to break. Then talk to it and say something like, “OK bread loop, now I know you’re just a simple neural pathway, I will be canceling you and reprogramming you.” That puts it on notice and places you in the driver’s seat. A simple statement like this might sound corny, but it really does take the control back and the power away from the loop.
The subconscious brain works on the level of a three-year-old. Whatever works with a toddler, works with the subconscious. It doesn’t know that what you are saying feels corny. It just trusts what you say. This is why talking out loud works and why reciting affirmations can be so effective.
Your toddler brain is also more easily convinced when emotion is present, so when you talk to your loops, make sure to be as emphatic as possible. Even if you don’t really feel emphatic, just act like it. The toddler doesn’t know your acting and once the toddler is convinced (which is actually quite easy), the toddler helps you break loops and create new ones by getting on your side. The toddler is in control most of the time, so it’s vital to get him/her on your side! Guiding the toddler to get on your side is much easier than fighting the toddler because we all know how stubborn toddlers can be.
Remember that simply understanding the habit loop is half the battle and then taking it’s power away by giving it a name gets you another 20% along, so you’re already at least 70% of the way there! Does this seem easier than you thought it would be so far? If it does, then you are doing things right because it is easy! If it doesn’t, or something isn’t clear, then go back to previous lessons, use the chart again and do more observation. Moving forward, you will be doing more work on your triggers and rewards, so you will need to have a deep understanding of those parts of your own loops.
Now that you know about your toddler and how calling out your loops takes the power away from that toddler and gives it back to you, practice that. It’s a skill that gets better with practice, so do this for at least several days before moving on to the next step. Maybe you will use the habits on your previous sheet, or maybe it will be others, but there is no limit to the number of habits to work with this time, so the more the better!