Day 15: The multi-cue habit

I’ve spent today recording this week’s podcast episode about habits. In it, I talk about how habits form and discuss the three elements that make up a habit – a cue, a routine and a reward. I decided to use this little 100 day quest as an example to explain how the cue triggers you to run the routine which leads you to experience the reward.

Although I’ve given it a lot of thought over the last 15 days – and in the lead up to doing the 100 day challenge – it hadn’t occurred to me quite how many cues I have that trigger this habit.

Cues can be anything from location to time, emotional state, other people or certain activities, things you see or things you smell. As I was talking it through, I realised I experience cues in almost all of those categories.

I’ve blogged about “wine time” before but actually, that’s one of the easy cues to spot and deal with. But what about all the others…going on holiday, being at a barbecue or party, spending time with certain friends and all the other cues I haven’t listed here?

It occurs to me that one of the reasons I’ve found the last 15 days relatively easy is that I’ve avoided most of those cues so I haven’t really tested the boundaries yet. It’ll be interesting to see how things go when I’m faced with some of those social cues as the reward attached to those is one that really plays into my values – experiencing a sense of belonging.

Of course, logically, I know I can belong even if everyone else is drinking and I am not, but the little kid in me who stood outside the group while everyone else played simply can’t bear the thought. I’m not worried about caving in. I feel really strong right now. But I would like to work out how to feel like those events are just as much fun when I’m not involved in the same way as everyone else.



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