As per Wikipedia, a habit is a routine behavior that is repeated on a regular basis. It also tends to happen subconsciously.
Habits are actions we do on a daily basis. In a nutshell our entire life is the total addition of all the habits we have.
Our success, happiness, being in shape it all dives down to our habits. So what we repeatedly do actually becomes the person we are, the personality we portray and the things we believe in.
Atomic habits is one book that made me introspect my habits or what I do on a daily basis. A deeper analysis of what I do on a daily basis made me think if it has to be continued or this can be stopped.
Here are my takeaways from this wonderful book.
A deeper introspection of the habits that we do on a daily basis will reveal what we are. Almost our entire day is a complete timetable of our habits. We don’t think of this because we do this autonomously. Revisiting the habits and classifying them into good, bad and something in between will help you decide if you should continue doing it. When you don’t do this you continue doing things on a routine which you actually shouldn’t.
Did you know that habits have a cycle? Yes something like a life cycle we say for a material or a living thing. What we do on a routine basis in terms of behavior is a habit. But when you break it down you get to know the elements.
This is the habit loop. A simple exercise would be to sit down and break your habit and put them in the above loop. Understand what is the cue that made you start this habit, what is the craving that the cue gives you, what is the response you give to the craving and what reward you get after the response from you.
Good and bad habits
Managing your habits by identifying them as good or bad is one of the most important steps. There is a process to create a good habit and the inversion of which helps to break a bad habit. The book gives a working framework of how this can be done in a simplified way.
Laws of behavior change by James Clear hells you foster good habits and transform bad habits to good.
- Make it obvious.
- Make it attractive.
- Make it easy
- Make it satisfying
Following this law makes your introspection very easy. For a good habit make sure your response is in a rewarding way. In the same way to break a bad habit do the inverse.
- Make it invisible.
- Make it unattractive.
- Make it difficult.
- Make it unsatisfying.
Doesn’t all this make so much sense? Making your bad habit unattractive and difficult should make sure you stop doing it.
You need not make a dramatic shift to make a change. As the book suggests, taking a small step as much as 1%, makes an effective progress. Starting on small and Incrementing the effort on a day to day basis can help in achieving the goal. So if you do 1% better each day for over a year, you’d be 37 times better when the period completes. Don’t you agree that’s quite a remarkable improvement. Since we are the result of our habits, if we keep them small, we get what we repeat and in the long run ne much better at it. .
Not missing twice
If we miss it once in a while that should count to be fine but never to miss twice. Realising that you missed goal or didn’t do something that was set up as a good habit, do it better when you do it at next time. .
I want it and it means now
We all love rewards and especially when we get it in no time. Most people don’t like to wait for long term rewards. So choose habits that help you feel instantly happy. We need to go on a diet for a longer period to reap the reward but a tiny chocolate instantly uplifts you. So get a cookbook that helps making tasty healthy choices. Save money you kept for alcohol in case you want to quit into the vacation funding.
The brain is lazy and absolutely loves to do what makes it more comfortable. So it is upto us to make it use the strategy for the good habits.
Say we want to learn a language or an instrument keep the book or the instrument at a place where it’s easily reachable, than putting it away from your view. Best place would be to put besides the remote or phone.
Carrot stick approach
As already mentioned we love getting rewarded. The brain reacts favourably when we await a reward. The brain releases dopamine when we do something that gives a pleasant feeling. So in expecting this the brain triggers the action. So think of the reward next time you include a new good habit.
This post is part of Blogchatter’s half marathon.