Here is Northwest Arkansas, we love our trails, outdoor adventures and a good cup of Wings Coffee to wake us up in the morning. We love the community atmosphere, deep-rooted heritage and the healthy living mindset that many in Centerton, Bentonville, Rogers, Fayetteville and Bella Vista share. If this is truly the case, why do we find ourselves choosing the TV instead of a walk on the Crystal Bridges trail, or why do we choose Papa Johns over the gluten-free, organic food truck on the Bentonville Square?
Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit,” talks in his book about why we choose certain actions over another. The first major point he discusses is to never try and remove a habit from your life. He goes further to explain that our entire life is based on a simple 3-step process: trigger, action, reward.
The reason we choose Papa Johns over the food truck may never be out of lack of desire to eat healthier or spend time with our family - after all, who doesn’t enjoy a break from the normal routine? As human beings, we accustom and train ourselves to receive the highest possible reward with the least amount of effort - for example, eating food that tastes good with a simple phone call when our trigger, hunger, kicks in.
The key, however, is to never remove that habit from your life but to simply reprogram the trigger to respond with a different action instead of picking up the phone with speed dial to Papa Johns. For example when the trigger, hunger, kicks in, try a new response that may include calling a friend, instead of Papa Johns, and asking them to join you on a trip to the food truck. The reward you experience of friendship, change in routine and feeling better about your food choices will over time begin to decrease the desire for Papa Johns and produce a craving for Bentonville Square on a Thursday or Friday night.
Never forget: actions lead to habits and habits lead to lifestyles.