Last updated on April 2, 2017
I'm trying something new out. I read about a book a week, I write a book report from every book I read (that I selfishly save to my hard drive).
I figured it may be helpful to share them with others.
This year I've formed a fair amount of new habits: morning situp / pushups, new diet, workout routine and other ocd things. 🙂 Neville and I made a video about how to form, change, and find the right habits on YouTube.
So the topic of habit formation, will-power, positive triggers, self-awareness and other personal improvement things are interesting to me. When I look at what a great day is for me, I can build new habits so I can have more great days.
Here are the key takeaways from The Power of Habit including my thoughts regarding improving your life through habits:
You want to fall asleep fast and wake up feeling good? Pay attention to your nighttime patterns and what you automatically do when you get up. You want to make running easy? Create triggers to make it a routine. Shoes by the bed, wear your running clothes to sleep, etc..
As the route to a reward for mice became more and more automatic, each started thinking less and less. Relies upon the basal ganglia, stores habits while rest of brain goes to sleep. Opens brain up to focus on other things and automatically make things happen. Habits emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. #LAZY (Click to Tweet!)
Once we develop a routine of being lazy, those patterns always remain inside our head. Once someone creates a new pattern, studies have demonstrated, going for a jog becomes automatic.
To start a new habit, find a simple and obvious cue, clearly define the rewards and in between the routine that you want to happen before the reward.
Once people form a habit they expect / crave the results aka the reward.
Once our brain learns that a doughnut box contains yummy sugar, it will start anticipating the sugar high. If we don’t eat the doughnut, we’ll feel disappointed.
Eventually a person will have a bad day, and no new routine is going to make everything seem okay. What can make a difference is BELIEVING that they can cope with that stress without alcohol.
By attacking one habit and then watching the changes ripple through the organization, called “keystone habits.” Focus on 1 thing that will have underlying ripple affects through the rest of your business or life. Think worker safety or doing a marathon and the other pieces that will get fixed by focusing on them.
When people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other, unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly. Start eating better, more productive at work. Another study showed families who eat dinner together raise children with better skills, causation vs correlation?
Focus on the root problem then attacking that is what is key. Must create structures that help other habits to flourish. Teaching educators was key to infant mortality rates, not just trying to solve symptom of the issue.
Willpower can be depleted. If you avoid the radishes you use up willpower you don’t have to prevent other things. So important to be aware of while you are working, spending time with others, etc...
People who self-regulated and had better discipline / habits, building self-regulatory strength. Helps you focus on a goal and will help you get past being a one hit wonder.
People who pre-commit are more likely to follow through on their habits. Build around inflection points when they know temptation would be the strongest. Follow the plan / behavior agree ahead of time. That’s how willpower becomes a habit.
If people are asked to do something that takes self-control, if they think they are doing it for personal reasons - if they feel like it’s a choice or something they enjoy because it helps someone else - it’s much less taxing.
A moment of crisis -- something must change -- easier to start new habits then.
If you can sandwich things in similar fashions it makes it easier to become a habit. Think of eating liver or the song ‘hey ya’ wasn’t similar to what people are used to but sandwich between what people ARE used to.
The power of weak ties (Rosa Parks) made it difficult to avoid joining in.
For an idea to grow beyond a community, it must become self-propelling. And the surest way to achieve that is to give people new habits that help them figure out where to go on their own.
Interesting: Pathological gamblers saw near misses as like wins. Others saw them as a loss.
James spent 12 months believing that he had control over himself and his destiny, that he could become better, that he had the free will to change. The will to believe is the MOST important ingredient in creating belief in change.
If you believe you can change - if you can make it a habit - the change becomes real.
What is 1 habit you want to start?