Habits are fascinating.
The truth is you wouldn’t be able to get through your day without them.
Brushing your teeth, getting dressed for work, getting to work – a lot of it is all based on habit.
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Recently I was reading an interesting book by Charles Duhigg ‘The Power of Habit‘ on how habits work and how you go about changing them.
Since reading this book, I’ve come across some other great books on habits. Make sure you read my post, 10 Best Books on Habits – Learn how to break old habits and create new ones.
The fact that I am writing more is a direct result of taking on board the advice in this book.
I am writing more because I changed a habit.
Let me elaborate. In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains that habits are made up of three factors.
- a cue (or trigger if you prefer)
The way to change a habit is to work on number 2 – you change the routine.
You need to make sure you still have a reward system in place. The reward keeps the habit alive.
With posting, I was having trouble writing after work. After a busy day at work, I was struggling to come home and sit down for another 2-3 hours to write. Instead, I would plonk myself in front of the television, do nothing and fluff around on Facebook. Definitely not productive behavior.
While reading the book, I realized I had already established a habit of getting up early and feeding my cat every morning. I would go downstairs, feed him, let him out and go back to bed.
As much as I wasn’t a morning person, my baby boy is important to me so I found getting up for him no effort at all.
I realized this was a golden opportunity for change.
Instead of feeding him and going back to bed (more sleep was my reward) I decided to turn the computer on and publish a post.
The routine is now writing.
The reward is the sense of accomplishment I get from posting more regularly.
Now I actually look forward to getting up early to write.
The interesting thing is it hasn’t taken all that long to change the habit.
It helps when you make things easier on yourself. I am constantly fine tuning my new habit to work to my advantage, particularly from a time perspective since I only have a limited time to write in the morning before heading off to work.
I turn on the computer and log in first before going downstairs, I make a cup of tea after feeding the cat and take it upstairs with me. I know these might seem insignificant but little tweaks do make a difference and save you time.
They also mean less chance of being distracted, which let’s face it is a bit productivity killer for a lot of us.
A fascinating benefit of writing early in the morning is that my brain is clear, well rested and raring to go! I wake up full of ideas and enthusiasm and ready to get to work.
Never underestimate how small changes can add up to big wins. I feel good about posting more regularly. One of my work colleagues commented that I come into work with a spring in my step.
What habit can you change that would improve your life?
Habits are powerful. Change a habit and turn your life around.
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