We are creatures of habit. Whether we realize it or not, many activities we engage in are simply routines that have been formed over time, and we often don’t even consciously notice. What we do first thing in the morning, whether we put on the left sock before the right and the route we take to work are just a few of hundreds of habits that take place every day. We may think they are decisions we actively make, but in reality they are simply habits that free the mind to work on other things.
Habits can be good or bad. Grabbing an apple instead of a doughnut? Positive. Skipping personal hygiene? Not so much.
So how do our habits impact us on our way to success? Can we ‘unlearn’ habits that hold us back, and learn new ones that make progress much more predictable? The answer is yes, and the successful learn to transform their habits to create success.
The Power of Habit is an excellent book that provides significant insights into how habits are formed and changed. The author, Charles Duhigg, is an investigative reporter for The New York Times. His research into this topic makes for not only interesting reading, but challenges the way we should think about habits.
Neuroscientists are learning more about where habits reside in the brain, and how they work. Duhigg describes this process as a three-step habit loop (Cue, Routine, and Reward). A cue is a trigger that tells our brain to go into auto-pilot and which habit to use, followed by a routine, then a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future. Over time, this loop becomes more and more automatic, and then your brain no longer has to work so hard and diverts to work on another task.
Understanding the components of the habit loop enable us to effectively ‘reprogram’ our habits, shifting their focus and altering them so that better outcomes are the result.
What habits are necessary for you to achieve your goals? If you are like most people, there are probably a few that really get in your way and need to be replaced!
Tapping into the power of good habits is one more tool in the battle to create the success we want. Want to learn more? Pick up The Power of Habit and add it to your library. Make your habits work for you.
Warren Williams is president and founder of TurningPoint Business Coaching. He provides coaching to growing businesses in Concord and the Greater Charlotte area. Have a question about this article, or a topic you’d like to see covered here? Contact Warren at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.TurningPointBizCoach.com.