Freedom is in developing one good habit at a time.
“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, ‘Morning boys, how’s the water?’ The two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, ‘What is water?’”
This is “the joke” with which New York Times bestseller Charles Duhigg finishes his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (Random House, 2012).
Just like those young fish, our lives are largely determined by factors we never fully notice: our habits, those unthinking, automatic choices that surround us each day. They guide how we get dressed in the morning and fall asleep at night. They affect what we eat, how we do business, and whether we exercise or have a beer after work.
Aristotle says, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”
Habits actually save our lives
If we had to spend the brain energy learning and relearning everything we do, we would be exhausted
That is why so much of the activities we do in a single day are sheer habits
In the 1990s, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discovered a simple neurological loop at the core of every habit. All habits, it turns out, consist of three parts: a TRIGGER, RESPONSE AND REWARD. The researchers dubbed this the “habit loop.”
Trigger (Cue) - Create an object that will trigger, remind you, to do that which you want to develop into the habit.
Respond – When you see that trigger, force yourself to do the habit.
Reward – Predetermine the reward you will receive when habit reaches certain mile stones then completion.
For example, I am trying to make the habit of rolling my sore shoulders with a baseball. The cue I have established is placing a baseball in front of my TV to “CUE” me to lay on the floor and roll out my shoulders. Now, when I see the cue, I force myself to lay on floor. The reward is less sore shoulders that are not tight with knots.
Do you want to get into the habit of exercising? Put your sneakers next to your bed, put them on first thing and force yourself to go for a walk. Or pack a gym bag and put it in the front seat of your car to remind you to go to the gym after work.
Another key to creating new habits is called KEYSTONE habits. Keystone habits lead to the development of multiple good habits
They start a chain reactions in your life that produces a number of positive outcomes.
How to pick a Keystone Habit?
For example, say that your keystone habit is to sleep 8 hours every night.
Your initial goal is to get more sleep.
The Chain Reaction Is:
Becoming more productive each day
Consume less junk food
Having more time to exercise
Improved relationships with your spouse/family/friends because you’re not cranky
At first you wanted more sleep, but this keystone habit generated a number of additional good habits!
Making your bed every morning – pick up clothes on floor
Washing dishes every morning– cause you to pack your lunch and prep for dinner
Cleaning trash out of car – inspire you to keep house clean
Lacing up your sneakers when you get home from work, or first thing in the morning – cause you to go for a walk or run or head to the gym
Packing your gym bag – and putting it in the front seat cause you to go to gym after work
As a Behavioral Coach, I am here to help you create your BEST life!