Power of Habit

Our Brain on Habits

I am taking a college course called Intro to Psychology and we're on Chapter 8 Memory. In this chapter it talked about MIT experiment on mice in mazes and talked about the basal ganglia and hippocampus. I thought it was all really interesting. My psych book also talked about rewards and if the mice were placed in the maze to first just explore they made it through the maze a lot faster when there was a reward at the end. While the mice that got treats for just exploring went much more slowly to get to the end and have a treat. I think that also ties in with making habits it says a person is then more apt to want to do something if they aren't given a reward right away for doing it.

The Habit Loop

  1. A habit I would like to correct would probably be getting home and watching TV right away instead of getting my work done and then I'm cramming at the end of the night to get everything done.
  2. This habits cue, I think, would be the time but not necessarily the time on the clock. It's not at 3:30 that I have the urge to sit and watch TV but rather right when I get home, which varies on a day to day basis.
  3. The routine would be getting home, letting the dog out, kick off shoes, fall onto the couch with the remote and finding something I missed on my DirecTV.
  4. The reward would be the pleasure of watching TV and relaxing after a stressful day at school. Plus the not doing my homework which I think is another reward entirely.

Plan to Correct Habit

I plan on first doing homework right after school and see how that 1.) makes me feel and 2.) impacts the rest of my night. Then I'll try eating a snack instead to see if I maybe just need a break between school and doing homework. Next I could try reading a little bit out of a personal book to see if I need an actual break from reality instead of just a break. I will look at my one and two for each new activity.

The New Habit

I'd like to get my homework done as soon as possible so that I don't panic in the morning when I find that I haven't done something that's due that day. I've created a system of doing all homework on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays so that I can have a few days off in the middle of the week to relax, clean, or work on my college class.

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