Reading is awesome, isn’t it? (Head nodding is appropriate). This week I read a superb and useful book that I believe has helped give me immediate tips: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. It is not only very well researched, it is also SUPER interesting, once you get over feeling weird about all of the habits you have in your life. Here are a few keys I pulled out of it:
You can change your habits by noticing them and understanding how you have set them in place. Then, by simply replacing one piece of the cycle of a habit, you can begin to change it. According to author Duhigg, the habit cycle starts with a cue of some kind. Let’s pretend it’s 2:00PM and you are feeling the mid afternoon slump. (CUE) To reward yourself and give yourself a “pick me up”, you have developed a (ROUTINE) of eating a piece of candy. That delicious morsel results in you experiencing a nice little sugar high. (REWARD) You go on with the rest of your day,feeling super perky, that is unless you are prone to sugar crashing!
What started as a simple thing in the weeks leading up to Halloween, now has grown into a habit. Since Halloween is over and the candy has disappeared, you have brought your own little candies that you keep in a bowl in the break room. While you love having that little reward in the middle of the day, you know you want to lose some weight, so this habit needs to GO! You wonder, how can I change this? You could imagine yourself super svelte, but that’s not quite enough. According to Duhigg, you’ll have sustainable success if you replace that habit with something else. Maybe when you find you are in need of a “pick me up”, try having a cup of coffee instead of a sweet treat, or drink a big bottle of water, or go outside for a brisk 5 minute walk. You are replacing the routine of eating candy with another kind of routine – hopefully a healthier one. As you begin to lose weight you might post the number of lbs you’ve dropped on a post it at your desk (GREATER REWARDS) or even drop a note in the candy bowl. ;-0
The second recommendation that Duhigg makes is that you find someone to partner with you on replacing that habit. Talking about it with someone else has been shown to give you an even greater edge on achieving success.
The New Year is coming. What a perfect time for you to take a look at your current habits and identify those that you want to change. I’ll be writing in the coming weeks about how to apply these techniques to your 3 BOLD STEPS on your Snapshot of the Big Picture map.