Have you ever thought about why you do – what you do – when you do it? William James, an American Philosopher and Psychologist, believes that most of the decisions we make are because of the habits we create. Habits control how we act and react in most situations. Researchers at Duke University believe that 40% of the actions people perform each day aren’t made by conscious decisions – but by habits. Habits, good or bad,have become ingrained in us and we routinely do them without thinking about them. What’s the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up? I’ll bet you do the same thing – in the same order – every morning. And if you break from routine it can throw off your whole day. When do you put on your seat belt? Do you put your seat belt on before or after you start your vehicle? If we are anything at all we are creatures of habit.
Worth Remembering … “Our habits may control our destiny, but we control our habits. Before we change our habits we must change our thinking.” – Author Unknown
When you change the habit – you change the result. If you could exchange one habit for another, which habit would give you the best return on your time investment? Psychologists refer to that as a keystone habit. Think of it as cause and effect. If you change your eating habits chances are you’ll have more energy, sleep better, and you’ll start to look better and feel better about yourself. New Year Resolutions fail because we failed to replace one habit with another. A good habit gets you a good result – just as a bad habit gets you a bad result – it’s just that simple. We are adults and we can develop new habits. Behaviorists believe that if you do something 21 times in a row you’ll develop a new habit. All you have to do is stop doing one thing and start doing another and if you do it often enough, it will become you. However, we all know change is easier said then done – but it can be done. You just need to want it bad enough. You just need to develop a new routine.
Worth Remembering … “We are what we repeatedly do – therefore excellence is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle.
If you want to improve how you manage your time what one new habit will you have to develop? If you want to communicate more effectively with others, cope with stress or deal with difficult people and challenging situations better what one new habit will you need to develop? Think routine – think reward. The easiest way I found to develop a new habit was to change my routine. And once you start a new routine stick with it. Remember you need to do something 21 times in a row before you start doing it without thinking about it. Tiger Woods has a pre-shot routine that he does every time he prepares to hit a golf ball. If you aren’t getting the reward you want then you need to change your routine. As Les Brown says “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result”.
Worth Remembering … “Failure is only postponed as long as courage coaches ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory” – Herbert Kaufman
I need to start exercising but I just don’t seem to have enough time in the day to do it. By the end of the day I’m too tired to bother. All I want to do when I get home is pour a glass of wine and then sit on my couch and do absolutely nothing. I enjoy that time so for me – the best time to exercise will be in the morning. I need to change my morning routine to include 15 minutes of stretching, squats, planks and push ups. I’m an early riser so getting up 15 minutes earlier won’t be a problem for me. The benefits of having a daily exercise routine far out weigh me having to change my morning schedule. That’s the key – the reward has to be greater than the effort it will take to accomplish it. I know that the more I do it – the more it will become me. I will have accomplished what I set out to do. What new routine will you have to create to accomplish what’s most important to you? Anytime is a good time to start a new beginning so you might as well start right now.
Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Brian is available for keynote speeches and facilitating workshops of a variety of soft-skills topics including: communication, time management, coping with stress, problem solving, dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better and developing the leader in you. To find out more visit http://briansmithpld.com