Essay on Smartphone Habits

Have you ever thought to yourself what would happen if phones and other technology went extinct? I have,and now realized I had developed a bad phone habit. In The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he explains “the Habit loop”. The Habit Loop is based on three key elements, a cue, a routine, and a reward. This phone habit corresponds to Duhigg’s “habit loop” because there is, in fact, a certain course of events that play out before actually using a smartphone. As claimed by Charles Duhigg’s “Habit Loop” one can change phone habits by applying the cue, routine and reward system.

The Habit loop cycle always starts off with a cue. Cues are actions that can be said or done, they trigger the brain to go into automatic mode and finds which habits are going to occur.

In the story, the author talks about an army major he served with in Kufa, a small town south of the Iraq capital. The army major realized that violence and riots would occur in plazas and other opens spaces due to a certain crowd of locals. Over time the crowds would grow so massive that food vendors would even show up and sell food to these large crowds. Then all of sudden someone throws a rock or bottle which triggers the violence and riots: The rock that is thrown is the cue in this situation. My constant phone usage habit revolves around a few cues. These cues can vary from boredom to nervous ticks if I am not talking to someone or completing a task where I can't and shouldn't use my phone. Instead, I am on it using social media and other unproductive things. To get rid of this habit, I have to react differently to these cues.

The second part of Charles Duhigg's habit loop system is the routine. Routines are the sequence of actions that are triggered by the cue. Duhigg describes his own routine of going to the cafeteria every afternoon and getting a chocolate chip cookie then sitting down with friends to chat. In my case, my routine would be me reaching for my Smartphone and using it to talk to friends or scrolling through endless timelines learning about the latest celebrity issues. In order to change this smartphone habit, the routine must be changed. Instead of reaching for a smartphone when bored, starting a conversation with someone or reading a book would help to resist the urge. Practicing these subtle changes will rewire my brain’s bad phone habit and create new ones.

Rewards is the last step in Duhigg’s habit loop system. Rewards are the reason the brain decides the previous steps are worth remembering for the future. The reward provides positive feelings to the brain, making it more likely that you will repeat this habit cycle again in the future. When Duhigg finished the study of his chocolate chip was ookie habit, he discovered the reward, was not the cookie itself, but the opportunity to socialize. Similar to Duhigg I use my phone and communicate with long-distance friends, search for whatever I desire, and entertain myself with my favorite mobile games. If the number of times I use my smartphone is shortened it'll significantly impact my habit greatly. Whenever the urge to grab my phone takes over, I'll read a book instead. After reading and summarizing what I read in my journal, I'll reward myself with 10 minutes of smartphone time.

On a final note, we all know smartphones play a huge role in society these days, from GPS to recipes, we all love and use them. However, My phone habit is something that I need to work on in order to better myself. This system could be very complex, but if one can thoroughly grasp its context and meaning, One can change any habit into a positive one. Using Charles Duhigg’s cue, routine, reward habit loop, I will change my smartphone habit for the better by applying this system and will carry it throughout my life.



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