Monday, December 15, 2014

Triggers

In the addictions literature, which I think can be instructive as it pertains to forming even positive habits, there is a great deal of discussion of triggers. Triggers are biopsychosocial factors that trigger some aspect of the addictive process or cycle. Triggers do not "cause" the user to engage in the substance or behavior, but highly increase their likelihood.

At times, triggers can be components or small pieces of an addict's ritual. Being triggered can quickly lead to the engagement in addictive rituals that subsequently lead to acting out or using.

I am reminded of the notion of triggers while drinking coffee in a cafe. I did not come to write, but being in a cafe and drinking coffee triggers the desire to write. I am not compelled to write, but the desire is stronger than it would have been if I was instead having a bottle of water at the gym. The behavioral cues, biological inputs, and contexts are highly associated with writing.

What does this mean for you? If you are struggling with the motivation to write, not only can you engage consciously in rituals that you have created for yourself, but you can passively engage in "pro-writing" behavior and in pro-writing contexts. Try to trigger yourself without forcing it. 

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