I wonder if there’s a different potential takeaway here than “find what feels rewarding”. Duhig’s story makes me think of a perspective I’ve learned from TEAM-CBT: Bad habits (and behavioural patterns in general) are there for a reason, as a solution to some other problem. An important first step to changing your behaviour is to understand the reasons why not to change, and then really consider what is worth changing. It sounds to me that Duhig figured out what problem eating cookies was trying to solve.
At least, that’s the theory as I understand it. I haven’t put it into practice, so I’m just spitballing here. But my personal experience is that when I have tried to create habits by setting up an arbitrary reward (eg. eating a block of chocolate) it has not been effective at all for me.
Hmm, that framing doesn’t feel at odds with mine. Finding what’s rewarding can definitely include whatever it is that’s reinforcing the current behavior. I emphasized the gut-level experience because I expect those emotions contain the necessary information that’s missing from rational explanations for what they “should” do.