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The Habit Loop

The definition of a habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice. A habit is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.

Our habits play a massive role in shaping our health and fitness, in both a positive or negative way. This is why when we look to improve our health and fitness, changing our habits is key to our success. We need to be able to create good habits, doing them regularly and subconsciously. We also need to be able to stop bad habits. The best way to do this is first to understand how habits are formed and then replace bad habits with good ones.

So to start with I first want to bring your attention to the habit loop. What it is, how it impacts you and how you can use it to start changing your habits for the better.

“Any habit can be broken down into a feedback loop that involves four steps: cue, craving, response, and reward” – James Clear

The 4 Stages:

Cue – A cue is a trigger, something that triggers your craving for something. This is what starts the loop of a habit. A cue can come from many different things such as visuals, time, people, events, smells, audio etc.

Craving – The craving is what creates the motivation or desire to act. Without this craving, the loop ends.

Response – This is the action of the habit itself

Reward – The reward is the perceived benefit, feeling, or state provided by the cue and is what positively reinforces the behaviour. Once your craving has been satisfied your brain starts to link the cue to the reward so it can repeat the behaviour again.

Now you know the 4 stages of how your habits are formed, it’s time to do some critical thinking and identify the different components of your own habits. With this awareness, you can start changing your habits for the better.

For a deeper dive into your habits do yourself a favour and check out James Clear book Atomic Habits. I highly recommend it!


James Clear – Atomic Habits /

James Clear is one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation. He reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviours that lead to remarkable results.

Nathan Spring