Life - The Result of your Habits Image
Life - The Result of your Habits

 

 

GUEST POST  by Beverley Kay

 

On a recent visit to my herbalist, I had an enlightening discussion about the difficulty of changing patterns of behaviour.  This delightful poem was shared.

 

 

I am your constant companion.

I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.

I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.

I am completely at your command.

Half of the things you do you might 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 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 the 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.

 

Shalene Lowe Medical Herbalist

 

Serendipity, I think because I came across Karen Hardy’s review of Gretchen Rubin’s new book Better than before: mastering the habits of our everyday lives, in the Newcastle Herald newspaper.  Rubin is quoted as saying you are not going to hit a target if you are not aiming for it and if you want something it not going to happen unless you make an effort.

 

I am intrigued, do I need to eliminate bad habits and do I need to start new habits?  My research begins.

 

 

The most consistent reference cited is The Golden Rule of Habit Change by Charles Duhigg who explains that there are three components to habits:

 

  1. Cue or trigger.
  2.  
  3. Routine or behaviour itself.
  4.  
  5. Reward – this is how our brain learns to remember this pattern for the future.

 

I like the reward part…. It’s the changing the behaviour that is so difficult

The Golden Rule of Habit Change says that the most effective way to shift a habit is to diagnose and retain the old cue and reward, and try to change only the routine. If you identify the cues and rewards, you can change the routine.

Sounds simple, right!

 

 

James Clear in his article the 3 R’s of habit change: how to start new habits that actually stick states a few generalisations that make sense.

 

  • Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits
  •  
  • How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits.
  •  
  • How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits.
  •  
  • How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.

 

Clear also cites Charles Duhigg’s best-selling book the Power of Habit. Every habit you have — good or bad — follows the same 3–step pattern.

 

  1. Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behaviour)
  2.  
  3. Routine (the behaviour itself; the action you take)
  4.  
  5. Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behaviour)

 

So it’s a process.

James Clear also writes in his article Transform Your Habits that you don’t eliminate a bad habit, you replace it.

 

So he suggests:

 

  • Choose a substitute for your bad habit.
  •  
  • Become aware- so track the triggers to initiate new habits.

 

 

Gregory Ciotti in his article How to Build Good Habits (and make them stick) suggests that the best way to do this is to set (what he calls) “macro goals” and “micro quotas.”

 

  • Goals should be the big picture item that you wish to accomplish.
  •  
  • Your quotas on the other hand are the minimum amounts of work that you must get done every single day to make it a reality.

 

Good advice? Definitely there would be a level of satisfaction in meeting an achievable minimum quota of work. Realistic expectations will set you up to win. Of course then there is the potential celebration when you blow it out of the park!

 

 

Deane Alban in her article How to trick your brain to create a new healthy habit has some practical suggestions:

 

  • Set small goals
  •  
  • Make it fun
  •  
  • Make it convenient
  •  
  • Be prepared
  •  
  • (Just do it)

 

 

J. D. Moyer in his Systems for Living Well lists 5 techniques for changing habits.

 

  1. Align your emotions with your intent by asking hard questions and then commit.
  2.  
  3. Associate pleasure with changing the behaviour
  4.  
  5. Make good habits easy and the bad habits difficult
  6.  
  7. Understand the cues and disrupt the habitual behaviour
  8.  
  9. Understand and reprogram the reward

 

 

Scott H Young listed 18 tricks to make new habits stick, however I have listed those that I consider helpful:

 

  • Commit to 30 days (because it fits in your calendar!)
  •  
  • Make it daily (consistency is critical)
  •  
  • Stay consistent (same time same place)
  •  
  • Start simple
  •  
  • Keep reminding yourself of your commitment
  •  
  • Make it a ritual
  •  
  • Replace lost needs (remember habits-good or bad are behaviours that meet a need)
  •  
  • Remove temptation

 

 

The key learning from my research today -

 

If we are to implement positive changes on our MeManagement Journey then we must manage The Habit so.

 

 

I plan to use the following MeManagement tools – I need all the help I can get.

 

  • Commitment Certificate
  •  
  • My Time Planner
  •  
  • Vent it Pad
  •  
  • Journal

 

So interested in sharing your journey? 

Leave a comment below and tell me about the habit you are going to work on. I will post my success (or lack of) in the coming weeks.

 

Beverley Kay

 

 


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