“This process within our brains is a 3 step loop. First a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into to automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally there is the reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future…..
When a habit emerges the brain stops fully participating in the decision making. It stops working so hard or diverts focus to other tasks. So unless you deliberately fight a habit – unless you find new routines – the pattern will unfold automatically.” From; The Power Of Habits, Charles Duhigg.
This is such an important concept in training our horses. They form habits very easily, just as we do. When we ask them to change something they have been doing for a long time it can be stressful, they probably wonder why they need to change as this old habit has worked so well for so long (they need motivation to change) and it will take time and repetition with the new habit before a change can happen.
It also highlights that we can’t just break habits. Instead we need to find something to replace the old habit with. We need to focus on the new habit….we need to focus on what we want instead.