Positive triggers for success

Using positive triggers for success

Positive triggers mean triggers which makes us react in a positive manner. A trigger can be a situation or an event which further results in to an action from us. Knowingly or unknowingly we ourselves set up many triggers in our daily routine. in fact many times we don’t even realize. For example, below are a few triggers in our daily life:

  1. If you see someone smiling, it triggers your smile too.
  2. While driving if you see any object coming on your way, it triggers your leg to go on break instantly
  3. Touching any hot surface triggers you to pull your hand back.

Above are examples of instant triggers which you don’t plan but it results in to specific action.

The concept of triggers in developing our habits

“The power of habit” a book by Charles Duhigg introduces the concept of the habit loop. As per this, habits have a cue, a routine and a reward.

  • A Cue: A cue is a trigger to seek for the reward. This can be a situation or event.
  • A Routine: A routine is our habit. This is an emotional or a physical action we take to achieve the reward, once the cue is triggered.
  • A Reward: A reward is the result or satisfaction we get after following our routine or habit. Once we achieve the reward, we again look for the next cue to repeat our action.

In his book, Charles Duhigg focuses on the “Routine” to help us change the habit by keeping a cue and a reward part same. Book Review: The Power of habit: Why we do what we do and how to change.

However, We are going to discuss about “A Cue” part of this habit loop. And also how to use it effectively to achieve success or to develop better habits. A Cue is also known as a trigger.

What are planned triggers?

We all have various types of planned triggers in our life. For example, we are planned to trigger brushing our teeth first thing we wake up in the morning. Or we are planned to stand up the moment we hear sound of our national anthem. Our planned triggers calls for an action which may be good or bad. Below are few types of planned triggers:


Time is one of the most common trigger in human life across the world. Try to wake up early in the morning. If you are already a morning person, this will trigger your mood to be happy and refreshing. On the other hand for people with habit of getting up late, this will trigger the filling of laziness and will trigger the need to go to bad again. Many people trigger the urge to have their dose of tea or coffee at specific time in the morning or early evening.


Location is another powerful trigger in our life. Have you ever observed remembering specific things at specific location repetitively? For example whenever I am at airport, it triggers me the urge of visiting the book store which otherwise I don’t since I use Kindle most of the times.

Preceding Events:

You got a message on your phone. When you unlocked your phone, you first visited the facebook or twitter before going to the message. So unlocking your phone triggered the urge to check your social media account.

Object based triggers:

Seeing a particular object will trigger you to do the action. For example seeing a scale will trigger you to weigh yourself. Or does seeing your favorite food makes you feel hungry?

What are Positive triggers?

Now since we know what are triggers and its role in getting us into action, we can manipulate to create and develop our own triggers which will result into action required to achieve our goal. This is what we call a “Positive Trigger”.

Positive triggers will help you to start your daily actions required to complete your goals. To set your positive triggers, first be clear about your goals. Role of positive triggers comes after you set the goals and break them further in to your daily actionable. Once this is done, ask yourself questions about what will trigger your urge to start your daily action required to achieve your goals. While answering this to set your positive triggers, remember below 4 points:

How to set positive triggers to achieve your goal?

1. Your trigger needs to be much easier to start:

Trigger should be such that it absolutely does not require any efforts from your side. You can think about ways to automate your trigger. For example, If your goal is to take small activation break between your work on laptop, simply do not plug the power socket while working. It will trigger the notification within a couple of hours about low battery. This notification can become your trigger to take a short activity break before you plus in and resume your work.

2. Trigger you set up should have very obvious link with the action you want to take:

Setting triggers which are directly linked with your desired action are more obvious for you to start the action. For example if your daily action is to do workout as a part of your weight loss goal, put a scale beside your bed every night. So the first thing you see it when you get us in the morning. This will trigger you to weigh yourself. This will further trigger your urge to start your workout.

3. You trigger must not be too frequent that you tend to ignore it:

For example, I once installed an app which displays notification on the phone at pre-decided time interval to remind you drink water. These notifications were playing role of trigger for me to drink a glass of water. I defined the time interval at every one hour during day time. However, these notifications started looking like a spam to me within a few days. So I started ignoring it. You can experiment initially to set the frequency of your triggers till the time you get it right.

4. Experiment with your triggers to get them right:

There are chances you might not get your triggers right in the first attempt. You might also see your triggers failing by not resulting to desired action. Do not worry about that. Since setting up positive triggers is an art and not science, there are no right or wrong answers. For a trigger which does not work, simply brainstorm further to think about another trigger and see if that works. You can continue doing this till you see your trigger working right for you.

Remember my app which I choose as trigger to remind me drinking water did not worked, I changed my trigger and now started putting a glass full of water on my desk while working. Seeing the glass next to laptop resulted my urge to drink water frequently. So keep experimenting with your triggers till the time you get them right and they start working to help you start the desired action to achieve your goal.

Finally, remember that just setting goal for you is not enough. You need to work on it consistently to achieve your goal to get your success. Positive triggers are one very important tool you can set to ensure your efforts are consistent towards your goal.

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