Break or Build Your Habit Loop (Part 1 & 2)

Mike Coval
December 31, 2020

It's 2PM & you're at work on a Tuesday.  The mid-day fog is setting in.  You want to be performing at a high-level, but how are you supposed to do that when you don't have any energy?!  No fear! 5 Hour Energy is here!  You quickly down it as you have for the past 2 years when this feeling kicks in and then finish the day strong until the late-day fog sets in at around 6PM and then another 5HE to get you through the night.  

Of course, you can't fall asleep so you throw the TV on and before you know it 12:30AM reads on your phone and frantically get into bed so you can try and get 5.5 hours of sleep before your alarm goes off.

The cycle continues.

In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear explores the habit loop and breaks it down into 4 areas; cue, craving, routine, and response.  We're going to use the story above and break down each area.

Cue:  Fatigue has set in.   This is incredibly frustrating as I have deadlines to meet and the last thing that I need is fatigue.  I need to find something that is going to help with my energy!

Craving:  More energy!  I know what that my little friend 5HE can help me and give me exactly what I need!

Routine:  I grab the 5HE and down it quickly. 

Reaction:  I just went from Bruce Banner to the Incredible Hulk in about 2 minutes time! 

This is my habit loop that I have for myself in order to manufacture energy whenever I need it.   However, I realize that this is getting to be draining for the long-run and ultimately I'm just spinning my wheels.  In the next post, I will show you how I can attack this habit loop and literally rewire my brain to function in a more healthy manner simply by modifying some of my behaviors at other times of the day.

Break or Build Your Habit Loop (Part 2)

In the previous post, I made a habit of grabbing a 5 Hour Energy drink whenever my energy was lacking during the day; specifically we talked mid-day.

So do we make the habit not grabbing a 5HE?  Probably not.  If that is the focus, then we're for sure doomed for failure.  We're not acknowledging all of the factors that are contributing here.

Perhaps the first thing that we do is set ourselves a bedtime.  The act is simply turning off all electronics and lights out by 11PM.  Just by doing that we've added nearly 2 hours to our time in bed (whether we actually sleep an extra 2 hours is another discussion).  I do recognize that the 5HE can negatively impact my sleep, especially the one I consume at 6PM, so I remove them from my environment (my car) and put them into a different environment (my work).

Once we do that for a few weeks, then maybe the next step is having a routine to wind down for bed.  This routine helps enhance our sleep quality by putting us in a more rested state and decreasing sleep latency (aka time it takes us to fall asleep).

I've now had 6-8 weeks of improved sleep quality and decreased consumption of caffeine and my energy has drastically improved!

I broke the habit of consuming a late day 5HE, and built the habit of going to bed at the same time and then implementing a bedtime routine to help me wind down.

It's on me if I wish to go further down the rabbit hole with my sleep and habits that can impact my sleep, but for now, I've made tremendous progress and can put my energy into different projects that I want to dedicate my time to and not spending the little energy that I had focusing on how tired I am.

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Mike Coval

Coval Fitness is a Personal Training Studio and Gym in Ann Arbor, Michigan

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