Use Habits to go to New Heights
“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.” Benjamin Franklin
I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do you might just as well turn over to me and I will do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed – you must be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done and, after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great people; and, alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all precision of a machine, plus the intelligence of a person.
You may run me for profit or run me for ruin – it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.
Who am I?
I AM HABIT
The 3 R’s of Habit Change
1. Reminder (the activity that initiates the behavior)
How to choose your reminder. Create two lists: a) things you do each day without fail – get in the shower, put your shoes on, brush your teeth, flush the toilet, drink morning coffee, etc., and b) things that happen to you each day – you stop at a red light, you get a text message, a commercial comes on tv, a song ends, the sun sets.
These actions can serve as a reminder for new healthy habits. For example, “After I drink my morning coffee, I read something inspirational.”
2. Routine (the behavior itself; the action you take)
Make your new healthy habits incredibly easy to start. We watch incredible weight loss transformations and think that we need to lose 30 pounds in the next 4 weeks. We see elite athletes on TV and wish we could run faster and jump higher tomorrow. We want to earn more, do more, and be more…right now. It’s important to remember that lasting change is a product of daily habits, not once-in-a-lifetime transformations. “Make it so easy you can’t say no.” Leo Babauta.
To start a new habit and begin living and working healthier and happier, the key is to start small. How small? Stanford Professor BJ Fogg suggests that people who want to start flossing, e.g., begin by flossing only one tooth at a time. Just one. In the beginning, performance doesn’t matter. What does matter is becoming the type of person who always sticks to your new habit.
3. Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior)
We want to continue doing things that make us feel good. That is why it’s especially important that you reward yourself each time you practice your new habit. If you’re working towards a new fitness goal, then at the end of the workout, say to yourself, “Way to go, you made progress today!” Or, buy yourself a smoothie!
Lastly, make sure that the habits you are trying to build are actually important to you. It’s tough to find a reward in something when you’re only doing it because you think other people expect it or would appreciate it. It’s your life, so make sure you’re spending your time on things that are important to you.