Join us today for an episode about the reason triggers are so important to habit formation...

Today's episode is focused on identifying and changing your triggers...

In today’s episode about impacting the world through stewarding your talent, I talk with you about how our brain establishes pattern and habits.  I also share that almost anything can be used as a trigger to performance.  I talk about some examples of triggers to help you.

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Episode 814 Everything Can Be a Trigger
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: [00:00:00] Thanks for joining me on episode 814 of the inspired stewardship podcast.
[00:00:06] Jeff Brown: [00:00:06] I'm Jeff Brown from the read to lead podcast, challenging you to reach true success in business and in life through consistent and intentional reading. And one way to be inspired to success is to listen to this, the inspired stewardship podcast with my friend Scott Mader.
[00:00:28] Scott Maderer: [00:00:28] think about it. That means there are a ton of things that can actually be used as cues for habits. You can use almost anything as a trigger to help you get good or bad behavior. The truth is just the smell of coffee could trigger positive action. Not just drinking a cup of coffee, which is a wonderful thing.
[00:00:52] If you enjoy coffee, welcome and thank you for joining us on the inspired stewardship podcasts. If [00:01:00] you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent and your treasures for your true calling and the inspired stewardship podcast. We'll learn to invest in yourself, invest in others and develop your influence.
[00:01:17] So that you can impact the work
[00:01:24] in today's episode about impacting the world through stewarding your talent. I talk with you about how our brain establishes patterns and habits. I'll also share that almost anything can be used as a trigger for performance. And I give you some examples of triggers that may help you. You've heard me talk about developing your talent.
[00:01:44] And what are the best ways to do that is through books. But if you're like most people today, it's hard to find the time to read. And that's why today's podcast is brought to you by audible. Go to inspired stewardship.com/audible [00:02:00] to sign up and you can get a 30 day free trial. There's over 180,000 titles to choose from.
[00:02:08] And you can pick one and listen your way to developing your talents via audible. That's inspired stewardship.com/audible to get your free trial and listen to great books the same way you're listening to this podcast. And yesterday's podcast. I talked a little bit about triggers and how they can sometimes cause you to waste time, these triggers or cues to behavior and habits and how they work is something that I wanted to unpack a little bit more today.
[00:02:41] See the truth is our brains work a lot around habits. You may not realize it, but I would guarantee you, that you have literally hundreds and hundreds of habits, behaviors that you just knee-jerk do in response to [00:03:00] certain cues. You may not even realize it, but you've got those habits ingrained in your life.
[00:03:06] And the truth is it's because your brain works to become more efficient. Your brain wants to save energy and effort and time. And one way of doing that is when your brain notices you doing certain things, it will try to learn and form a habit so that the execution of that becomes almost unconscious.
[00:03:29] The problem is that we can form habits, both around good behavior and around bad behavior that we don't want. See habits can be harmful or habits can be good. You could have the feeling of every time you do a certain thing, you reach for a negative behavior, whether it's smoking a cigarette or eating too much food, but you can also have a habit or a Q and a behavior that triggers you to exercise or go running at a certain time, or just put your seatbelt on without [00:04:00] thinking about it.
[00:04:00] You execute on habits each and every day. If you've got a route that you drive to work, that's the same route. Every single day. You've probably had the experience of pulling into the parking lot at work and realizing that you never even thought about the drive. You just executed it by habit. And in fact, you may even have had the experience of showing up at work on your day off because you left the house at roughly the same time and your brain just drove you to work.
[00:04:28] And then you got there and recognize that you weren't actually trying to go to work. You were trying to go to the store or somewhere else, but your brain just executed that habit without thinking, see habits are built through learning and rep. Repetition doing it over and over again, it takes time to form a habit and it takes time to break a habit.
[00:04:51] They begin because you associate a cue or a trigger. With a response that meets some sort of goal. If you [00:05:00] execute this pattern of turns, you arrive at work safely. And so your brain just learns that and says, okay, if I leave the house at roughly this time I'm going to work. So I just execute that pattern.
[00:05:12] Ultimately that behavior becomes triggered by that cue because you've gotten a consistent reward. Your brain has gotten the result that it wanted. That's what we call a habit loop. It's these elements that work together to form a habit. You have a cue or a trigger. Then you have the routine or the behavior that you execute and then you have the reward and the reward doesn't necessarily have to be anything major or big.
[00:05:44] It can be something even temporary. This is one of the reasons why, when we, for instance, get triggered to check Facebook, the little bitty, tiny dopamine hit with it, we get is enough to become a reward for checking Facebook. And you [00:06:00] keep checking that over and over again. A routine, by the way, is something slightly different.
[00:06:08] It does involve repeated behavior, just like a habit does, but it doesn't usually happen in response to a particular trigger or cue. It's more just something that you execute when you want to. Now, eventually that could become a habit, but initially, usually a routine is something that you actually have to force yourself to do, rather than something that happens automatically.
[00:06:35] And habits are hard to break because often we're unaware of those and we don't work well with them. So the Q I've mentioned yesterday, when we were talking about time is very important because when you want to break a habit, when you want to reform and recast a habit and make it go down a new channel, the behavior is obvious.
[00:06:58] We usually [00:07:00] feel the behavior. We know what we're doing in response, but what is less obvious is what's the actual cue that caused us to execute that behavior. What's started the loop. That trigger or that reminder, or that cue can generally fall into a handful of categories. You're usually either triggered by the location where you are sitting down at your desk at work may trigger certain habits to execute.
[00:07:30] You're triggered by the time getting up in the morning might trigger certain habits, going to bed at night. Some being lunchtime, whatever it is. You're triggered by your current emotional state. I feel stress. So I go check Facebook. You may be triggered by the people around you when I'm with these people.
[00:07:51] That's when I execute this habit, that's when I drank excessively or behave in a way that perhaps I normally don't want to, or do [00:08:00] other activities, both positive and negative. Remember you also can be triggered by the people around you to exercise more or do other good things. And you're triggered by your previous behavior or action.
[00:08:12] This is where you have what is called a habit stack, where one habit triggers the next habit, which then triggers the next. These are the general categories of cues that you can have. But if you think about it, that means there are a ton of things that can actually be used as cues for habits. You can use almost anything as a trigger to help you get good or bad behavior.
[00:08:43] The truth is. Just the smell of coffee could trigger positive action, not just drinking a cup of coffee, which is a wonderful thing. If you enjoy coffee, but actually using that to trigger, for instance, executing your morning routine and reading [00:09:00] and doing spiritual time or other things where you've built it into a habit.
[00:09:04] Because every time you sit down with a cup of coffee in this particular chair, at this particular time, you execute certain behavior. You'll notice that almost anything can be set up as that queue a particular time of the day. A particular location, but what you want to do is you want to make it easier to execute.
[00:09:27] So if, for instance, if you want to read the Bible each and every morning, when you sit in a particular chair, make it easy to get ahold of the Bible there, put the Bible close by lower the barriers to not. Executing on the habit, make it as easy and smooth as humanly possible to actually begin the habit, especially when you're first trying to form it.
[00:09:53] And then over time it will get easier and more automatic. Think about the kinds of [00:10:00] behavior that you want. And is it best going to be triggered by a location by a time? Your current emotional state is one where you often need to replace a bad habit with a good one. If right now every time you're stressed out, you perhaps go and get ice cream, then you need to change that where every time you're stressed out, you do a different behavior and that's going to take time and effort.
[00:10:26] And it usually also requires making it difficult to execute on the old habit in this case, that would mean. Get all the ice cream out of the house for a while, until you've been able to form the new habit of perhaps exercising and going for a walk whenever you're stressed out. Think about, is it the people around you?
[00:10:46] Do you need to either hang out with different people or do you need to educate those people to help support you in the new habit formation? And are they the kind of people that will, and if they are, then you can actually use [00:11:00] them to help trigger the formation of a new habit in place of the old one.
[00:11:06] See the truth is we're often forming habits by breaking old bad ones and replacing them with new good ones. And to do that, you have to really examine what is triggering the behavior before you can replace and change it with a new behavior. Thanks for listening.
[00:11:30] Thanks so much for listening to the inspired stewardship podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively, listen. Okay. Act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you liked this episode on the stewardship of talent, you can go over to inspired stewardship.com/talent and sign up.
[00:11:56] For our five week series on the stewardship [00:12:00] of talent, or if you're in the U S you can text four, four, two, two, two talent tips. That's talent tips to four four, two, two, two, and get those tips until next time, invest your time, your talent and your treasures. Develop your influence and impact the world.


In today's episode, I talk with you about:

  • How our brain establishes pattern and habits...  
  • Almost anything can be used as a trigger to performance...
  • Some examples of triggers to help you...
  • and more.....

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.  - Aristotle

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About the Author Scott

Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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