Get a Clue About Your Cues

What’s your tell? What is the thing you do that gives you away to others around you? Whenever I’m going to insert a little joke into a conversation, I give a little wink. My husband made me aware of that – he spots it right away because he knows me so well. Knowing yourself well has a lot to do with one’s success on a weight loss journey. So the focus for today’s post is recognizing the cues that trigger habit loops.

The Habit Loop

A habit loop is the brain’s way to conserve energy when problem-solving. Ever end up at work, and you don’t know how you got there? That happened because you’ve developed a habit loop. I started writing about habit loops very early into my weight loss journey (precisely on September 18, 2017, Day 15).

But today, I want to talk about a specific part of the habit loop – the “cue”. If you recognize what cues your helpful or unhelpful habits you can leverage them to your advantage. Spotting your cues can be tricky though because they may be triggered by the conscious or unconscious mind:

I’m still reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits, and it sparked a lot of thinking for me today. One thing he wrote about that was interesting to me was to frame the habit loop as a problem/solution dichotomy. Simple but pretty complex, cues can be extremely subtle (like a little unconscious wink). So I tried out a little tool I made, and I reflected on a habit I am more conscious of:

The origin story for this habit loop most likely extends from my going back to school as a working mother. In order to complete assignments I would stay up late so as not to take time away from my kids. I would snack to stay alert and the habit stuck. Doing this reflection work felt productive. I am grateful for becoming more self-aware.

Feel free to download this document if you think it would be helpful to you:

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