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"ATOMIC HABITS" (Chapter 3): 4 steps to a Healthy Habit | Keto Mom Book Club

Updated: Jul 6


Keto Mom here!

"Rewards are the end goal of every habit. The Cue is about noticing the reward. The Craving is about wanting the reward and the Response is about obtaining the reward. We chase towards rewards because they serve two purposes, they satisfy us, and they teach us" - James Clear


In any situation, especially today, as you are watching your habits and figuring out what things you want to break, or maybe continue, ask yourself "What would a healthy person do?" Eventually you are going to make better decisions, better choices, you're going to create and hopefully break those bad habits and create new good ones.


Points to Ponder


00:15 "Atomic Habits" by James Clear

00:39 30 day Miracle Morning Challenge

01:49 If you choose to stay out, you still have to get up

02:42 Overpower this in a good way

03:08 Power of reading and their mindset

03:46 Four simple steps to building better habits

04:32 "Feedback loop"

04:55 Habit forming

05:27 Habits give you more freedom

05:38 A cue, a craving, a response, and a reward

07:38 Never use food as a reward

09:15 An example of the Cue, Craving, Response and Reward

11:15 "The Four Laws of behavioral change"

11:39 Break the bad habit

13:03 Change the pattern

14:08 A brain break

15:24 "What would a healthy person do?"


Full Episode Transcript


Good morning! Welcome to the Keto Mom page, my name is Stephanie. For those of you who check in every morning, good morning, I hope you're having an incredible day. We are diving into chapter three of "Atomic Habits" by James Clear. If you're brand new, we are going through a book every single morning to help you create a healthy system, to help you change your habits, to help you get moving in your forward direction and not fall backwards. That's the key, getting your mindset right. So as you're tuning in, where are you tuning in from and for those of you who are doing the 30 day, Miracle Morning... So you're on day three, how are you feeling? I'm going to tell you something, I stayed up way too late last night, I went to bed and for two seconds I wanted to count how many hours of sleep I was going to get.


Welcome to day 3 of our book 3 session

And then naturally, my brain was telling me for a second, maybe you should sleep in, you've worked out the last two days, it's not a big deal if you give yourself some more sleep, you should probably count your hours of sleep. Isn't it crazy how your brain can take over and go let's just skip the Miracle Morning for the day. It was my choice to stay up late, so I had to choose to get up and do all of my things this morning. There's a funny saying my dad used to say when I would stay up late in high school. And it was something like

"If you choose to stay out, you still have to get up"...

You still have to have the discipline to do the things you want to do. Otherwise, if I didn't, I would be waking up and then feeling that regret of not doing my Miracle Morning, and I'd be behind all day.

We often talk about our why and our vision, and I don't ever want to feel that way. So even though I chose to stay up late, I got up this morning and did all the things that I wanted to do.

But I did that because I've repeatedly have gotten up, and I remember the "I don't want to feel behind" feeling. So even though I chose to stay up late, I still got up. I want you to understand, this isn't just about not eating the doughnut, eating the doughnut or working out, not working out. You have to be able to overpower this in a good way, and if you cannot combat the negativity and the little voices that say "It's not a big deal, sleep in, you can start over tomorrow".... If you slip up, you slip up, but if you have to make that choice, it's the one percent better or one percent worse. I wish I could get through people's heads, the power of reading and their mindset. If you can control these things, you can accomplish the goals that you want to go after, because it's super powerful.


So for those who are doing the thirty days, you're on day three, and for those who are following along in your book, or you're going to listen and read it later today, I'm reading through chapter three. I felt like this chapter was an awareness chapter, even more "sciency", so it kind of is a lot to take in. But basically he lays out "The four simple steps to building better habits". He walks you through a story about cats and how they train these cats, he says "A habit is a behavior that has been repeated enough times to become automatic"... So I'm sure you could think of things in your life where you're like "I don't even think about that, I just do it". It's as simple as you get in your car, you drive to the office and you don't even think about it. Have you ever gotten in your car, and it's the same place that you go every day or every so often. All of a sudden you get there and you're like, "How did I even get here? I don't remember driving through the stoplights"...

You've had the habit, it's a routine, same concept, same thing.
Habits are simply reliable solutions

So there's something called a "Feedback loop", it's a little "sciency" but I think it's super great just to have an awareness of how this all works. He says "Human behavior as you try something, you usually fail. You learn a lesson and then you try something different". So he says "With practice, the useless movements fade away and the useful actions get reinforced, it's called Habit forming. Whenever you face a problem repeatedly, your brain begins to automatically process on how to solve it. Habits are simply reliable solutions to reoccurring problems"....


Some of this, I was like alright let's dive into some of the science. Habits do not restrict, he said oftentimes people are like, I don't want to do that, I want to live freely, I don't want to be tied to habits. So he goes down this route of habits give you more freedom. If you create healthy habits, you've got more time in your day to do other things.


And so here's what he said, "The process of building a habit can be divided into four simple steps. There's a cue, a craving, a response, and a reward".

So he says, "Oftentimes, the first one is a cue. The cue triggers your brain to initiate a behavior. For example, your mind is continuously analyzing your internal and external environment for hints of where are the rewards"... So we're looking for things, we're going after things and what is the reward if I do this thing. "Because the cue is the first indicator that you're close to a reward, it naturally leads to a craving". Cravings are the second step, so you've got the cue the craving. "They are the motivational force behind the habit. Without some level of motivation or desire, without a craving of change, we have no reason to act". The third one is response, "The response is the actual habit you have to perform, which can take form of a thought or an action"...

Avoid using food as a reward

So Cue, Craving, Response is the action that we take, and then the fourth is the Reward. He said, "Rewards are the end goal of every habit". So today I got up, I worked out, and my reward was I felt great, I felt accomplished and that was my reward. If you reward yourself with food, you're going to find yourself in a downward spiral. Have any of you been like, "I'm going to do really great all week, so that I can have the dessert on the weekend"...


We've really gotten away, even with our kids years ago, we said we will never use food as a reward. I don't want to go if you do this, I'll take you out for ice cream, if you do this I will let you have a cookie. Because you're creating a habit in where there's a cue, and then there's a craving. They do the action, and then they reward themselves with food. You should reward yourself with other things that are not food so that you don't create this vicious cycle of having to lose fat or wanting to get back in shape.


Does that make sense of not rewarding yourself with food? We did that a long time ago and we just said, we're not going to do that anymore. Alright, so this is super great. "Rewards are the end goal of every habit. The Cue is about noticing the reward. The Craving is about wanting the reward and the Response is about obtaining the reward. We chase towards rewards because they serve two purposes, they satisfy us, and they teach us"... And here's the deal "If a behavior is insufficient in any of these four stages, it will not become a habit. Eliminating the Cue, and your habit will never start. Reduce the Craving and you won't experience enough motivation. Make the behavior difficult and you won't do it. And if the Reward fails to satisfy your desire, then you have no reason to do anything"... I was like alright, good awareness. I'll give you an example of what he means of the Cue, the Craving, Response and Reward.


So for example he says, "You smell a donut shop as you walk down the street. So your Cue is, you smell the donut, you're Craving is you begin to crave the donut. The Response is you go buy a donut and you eat it. And the reward is you satisfied your craving with buying the donut"... And that's that, this make sense.

For example, the Cue is you wake up in the morning, your Craving is you want to feel alert, you need to get energized, so your Response is you go drink a cup of coffee, and your satisfaction or Reward is you are awake and alert.
Try to break the bad habits

So all of those things create a habit, you wake up in the morning, you do those things, you drink your coffee, you do that every single day, mindlessly not thinking about it. So there are some habits that are fine, and there's some habits that are not fine. Women, the Cue once a month, you get your cycle. Sometimes women use the excuse of their monthly cycle as eating whatever they want. I'm emotional, I eat chocolate during this time.


So when you repeatedly have your cycle, then you might have a craving, and then you go after that chocolate. And then you've had the chocolate during that week, so you've naturally created a habit of every time I have my period, I get chocolate. He just talks about how easy we create these habits, good or bad. We justify it or we feel a certain way, we respond a certain way, and then we get a reward, and that creates a habit over time. So here's how you change it...

"The Four Laws of behavioral change". "How to create a good habit. You make an observation, you make it attractive, you make it easy, and you satisfy yourself with a reward"...

Here's what has to happen, if you don't want to do what you're doing. If you don't want to hit the snooze button, if you don't want to eat the chocolate, if you don't want to eat the donut, you have to break the bad habit. So you have to make the Cue invisible, like the donut shop. Don't walk past the donut shop, you don't go put yourself in that environment. If you know that you walk into that coffee shop or the donut shop and you're going to buy a doughnut, then for the next thirty days, you don't walk into that doughnut shop. You've got to break the state, you can't keep doing those things that are going to cause you to react, and have that reward.. So like in the "Miracle Morning", if you don't want to hit the snooze button, you have to remove your phone from the side of your bed and put it across the room. You've got to break the state, you've got to change the habit.


Follow through the simple 4 steps

So if you see this habit of always eating chocolate for an entire week, then you have to get the chocolate out of the house. You've got to remove it, you got to make it invisible. You have to make the craving unattractive, you have to make it difficult. Like at 10 o'clock at night when you're craving chocolate, since it's not in your house, are you going to drive through to the gas station? Some of you might, but I hope you don't, you got to make it more difficult. And so he was giving us an outline of here's how you create a habit. Be aware that you reward yourself good or bad.

There's an entire four step process, and if you find yourself constantly doing these bad habits, you've got to break the state and not put yourself in that environment.

You've got to change the pattern, make it more difficult so that you don't grab the cookie, the donut or the chocolate. You can't hit the snooze button because you have to get out of bed to walk across the room to hit it, and you're already up. And so that was chapter three, I thought it was great. It was a good awareness, and we are going to dive into the first law which is making it obvious.


Now what he's going to do over the course of these next few chapters is break it down. Here's what a Cue is, and here's how you break it. Here's what the Responses are, here's how you break it or change it. That's why I want to make sure we go through the book, not slowly but chapter by chapter so that you can retain it. I'm reading a book right now called "Limitless", it's just for me. Actually, I'm reading it to help one of my daughters learn, just to be able to help train the brain. It's all about the brain and it's incredible. In the book, he talks about how you should never be doing, learning, reading or filling your mind with something longer than twenty five minutes without taking a brain break. So I want to make sure we go through this, not try to rush through it so you can internalize it.

Maybe today, you'll watch your patterns. You'll watch the things you do out of habit and have the awareness to go I did this.
It's time for a quick awareness

This is how I felt, I wanted to go grab the donuts. We have donuts every single day, or every Wednesday at the office. So I go to the office, I didn't pack my lunch, because we have donuts day. I want to change that habit but I didn't pack my lunch, so now I need to go home to grab a lunch so that I can break the state to not eat the donut.

Today should be an awareness of what do you find yourself doing out of habit or the habits that you want to get rid of.

Remember in chapter two, he had a friend who lost a hundred pounds and every day she said "I am a healthy person". She identified with what she wanted to be, and every day before she ate something, or she decided to not walk and take the cab, every action or every meal, she asked herself "What would a healthy person do?"...


In any situation, especially today, as you are watching your habits and figuring out what things you want to break, or maybe continue, ask yourself "What would a healthy person do?"... If you've got to make a decision for lunch, what would a healthy person do? If you have to decide if you're going to skip your workout later today or not, what would a healthy person do? Ask yourself that question, and you will find that if you identify as a healthy person, not "I am trying to be healthy", but "I am healthy". Then you're going to make better decisions, better choices, you're going to create and hopefully break those bad habits and create new good ones. So super great book. I hope you're loving it, I love it. Message me with all the questions that you have, I'm here to help. Continue to tune into the page, whatever questions you have, send me a message and I will help you.


So I hope you guys have an incredible day. We'll talk to you soon.


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