You are ruled by your habits, here’s how to make sure that’s a good thing
Aristotle said that excellence is a habit, but he said that about 2,000 years before Wendy Wood followed 2,000 people around and observed their daily activities and neurology.
This study found that 40-45% of our daily decisions aren’t decisions at all, but habits. Routines. Anyone who’s ever forgotten how they got to (or from) work understands this feeling.
Much of the time, we are experiencing auto pilot. This could be good news or bad news depending on what our habits are.
Does our habit bring us to the gym each day before work, or for a donut at the drive through? Does our habit have us reading mindless social media comments, or books that enhance our knowledge?
It’s easy to see how, once a cycle has begun, it can drastically change the course of our life over time.
Here’s what else was found:
It’s not just the ‘routine’ that is important, it’s what’s on either side of it. The cue, and the reward.
In other words, what actually sparks the action we are talking about, and what is the reason behind it?
Once we understand this, we can start training ourselves to develop new habits.
Choose a time of the day, and set a positive action in motion. Perhaps you listen to 5 minutes of an audiobook every day at noon. Then, after, choose a small reward for yourself for completing the task.
Eventually, the task in itself will be the reward, and you can choose a new habit to begin developing.
Small, manageable actions eventually add up to much larger accomplishments.
Climbing Everest does not start with hiring a Sherpa, it starts with the decision to get off of the couch one night and go for a walk instead of ordering more pizza.
Do not become overwhelmed by large goals, when in reality, they are nothing more than many smaller ones strung together.