For most folks, once we hear the phrase "bad habit," we instantly can consider a dozen things we do and that we wish we didn't. All behavior chains have one thing in common: they begin with a trigger.
Triggers are available in many shapes and sizes: environmental, biological, mental, emotional, or social. Imagine you walk into a wedding celebration. A server tempts you. Hello, environmental trigger! All your friends are happily munching. Greetings! social triggers. You've had a terrible day and are completely exhausted. Mental and emotional triggers! Triggers produce “this stuff” in your brain we call "thoughts."
Thoughts are often great, but thoughts are often evil! "All your friends are eating, why not you?" or "What a terrible day, you deserve a meal."
These thoughts cause actions. Not only do actions have consequences, but there are four distinct sorts of consequences: physical, physiological, psychological, or emotional.
The results would likely be…
That was delicious (physiological).
My stomach doesn't feel so good (physical).
Wondering "why did I do that?" or "what's wrong with me?" (psychological).
Feeling disappointed or guilty (emotional).
There’s a way to interrupt a nasty habit: you understand it. Take some notes about your behavior chain.