Cravings and Habits

In going through Charles Duhigg's book The Power of Habit, I've learned that a habit starts with having a cue, executing a routine, then getting a reward. However, there is more to it. Plenty of times habits have been created, run through several times, but then dropped. It isn't necessarily because the cue wasn't good or the reward wasn't appropriate. There was no craving for the reward. Ice cream could be a good reward if you really like ice cream. Else, while it would be a nice treat, if there is no desire to have more, there is no push to go through the routine.

Once you start craving the reward, it will be another cue for you to go through the routine and get the reward. I don't yet have a craving attached to the habit of playing piano. A year ago, I was running 3 or 4 times a week, and when I had two days off, I felt antsy, and wanted to run. I wasn't sure what I craved - perhaps I craved being outside, or stretching my legs, or having more total miles for the week. When I took a few weeks off in the winter, the antsy-ness never returned, and I didn't crave running. Next spring, I'll go back to 3 and 4 times a week, and figure out what the craving is, so I can allow for it, and keep the habit going.

Now that I've set up a better environment for playing piano, I need to figure out a craving so the fledgling habit doesn't go by the wayside.

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