Why You Need to Know Your Triggers (Awareness Training)

We’ve been discussing habits for a few posts. And we know they are composed of a cue, a routine, and a reward.

Now, can you determine which cues trigger your habits?


Knowing your triggers is eye-opening! It is what the book The Power of Habit calls awareness training.

You will have a much easier time changing your habits once you understand your triggers.

As we discussed in recent posts, a cue (or trigger) sets off a habit. This can be very sneaky. It could be anything from a smell to a specific group of friends.

Let’s get down to business.

First, think of a habit you would like to change.

Second, write down all of the things which trigger this habit. No really — write them all down!

Third, analyze your triggers. What trends do you see?

What time of day does your habit happen? Which day of the week? Does it happen when you travel? When you are lonely, tired, or sad? Is it linked to some other weakness or activity you do beforehand?

There’s something powerful which happens once you start noticing triggers. Merely thinking about them and writing them down makes it obvious when you are about to do your routine, even though you never thought about it before. (I’d love to know your experiences with this strategy, so please share any comments you have!)

And the earlier you realize you are slipping into a habit, the easier it is to avoid it. This has been huge for me, and you are lost if you don’t try it.

Remember, the point of knowing your triggers is to increase your awareness.

And once you are more aware of your habits, you can change them…

What trends do you see in your triggers?