Great Teams

Changing Your Habits

08.12.20 02:47 PM By Mark Pym

We are run daily by our habits; good or bad

Mostly these are automatic.

We carry out our habits without even thinking about it.

From when we get up to get ready for work, to when we arrive in the workplace and then return home, we are running habits.

Even if we are working from home, we are running habits and established routines.

Our Top Tip: if you really want to change and get better results in life or  business, look to your habits.

 Identify those habits that are working for you or against you!

This applies equally to teams and organisations -what habits do you need to change to achieve better results?

Within any habit loop, there is always a cue, followed by a routine and then the reward and frequently central to all this, the craving that drives the habit.  You can think of the craving, as the reason why the habit is there in the first place.

Change any part of this loop and you can leave a bad habit behind or create a new one!   

It is amazingly simple, you just need to understand the science and become aware of the process. 

The research in this field has developed massively in the last decade and if you would like to read more about this subject, we would recommend the book by Charles Duhigg, called the Power of Habit.

Today habit reversal training is used to change all types of situations, such as customer purchasing patterns, poor company results, failing businesses, declining sales, weight loss/gain, smoking, anxiety, procrastination, gambling problems, un-happiness, negative thinking and a whole load of other behaviours, emotions and feelings.

By Changing The Routine, You Change the Habit

Habits can be changed and whilst genuine change requires work and in particular an understating of the cravings that are driving any habit, they really can be changed.

By learning how to recognise and then understanding what is going on, you can begin to surface possible solutions.

The trick is to be able to examine the cues, routines, cravings and rewards that drive the emotions and behaviours behind a habit and then find ways to replace any self-destructive routines, replacing them with healthy and better alternatives, even if you aren’t aware that you are doing this at the time.

Once you understand the cues and cravings, they will not simply disappear, however you will be able to develop a plan to overcome them.

This can be done in conjunction with our Six Pals model that we will introduce you to in a future blog.

This model helps you overcome all the significant influences that are out there, preventing you from changing and creating new habits. 

Often, we don’t understand the cravings that are driven our habits and behaviours until we look for them.

However just knowing isn’t enough, we need to stop these bad habits from repeating themselves even when we are under extreme stress, which is why we need an effective plan, to overcome some of the major influences that are out there, preventing us from successful changing.

Our habits are something we can improve.

Like any habit we ca condition the opposite of negative behaviours, emotion or feeling. Repeated often enough, we can create newer and better routines that improve and replace our bad habits.

Of course, that is not to say that at times we will have relapses which is very natural, however taking overall, when we learn new routines and integrate these into our daily habits, we can improve the results we get. 

Each of us even have our own essential habits. These are those critical habits that matter more the others.

Do You Know Your Own Essential Positive Habits, Which Get You Results?

These essential habits can influence hugely how people, teams and organisations work, perform, achieve results, eat, play, live, spend and communicate.

These are referred to as KEYSTONE HABITS and they can start a new process or way of doing things, that over time, transforms everything.

They are closely linked to focusing on the priorities and what matters most.

For instance, one of the KEYSTONE HABITS of most successful entrepreneurs, is what is referred to as the habit of being a fast implementer. Once they recognise an idea or an opportunity, they trial it/test it and implement it quickly.

Changing Bad Habits Through New Routines

Take, for instance a bad habit I had of eating a packet of crisps and chocolate bar every afternoon. By learning how to analyse my bad habit and recognise the habit loop, I was able to figure out the reason I walked to the vending machine, every day at lunch time.

It wasn’t because I was craving chocolate bars and crisps, in fact I was craving socialisation in the canteen and spending time with my work colleagues, whilst of course eating.

That was my habits real reward. And the cue for my behaviour; the trigger that caused me to automatically stand up and wander to the vending machine located in the canteen, was that at a certain time of the day, I had allowed my sugar levels to crash, creating a second craving, for a sugar fix.

So, I redesigned the habit and daily at 12.30, I absentmindedly now stand up from my desk, look around for someone to talk with and then chat for about 10 minutes. At 12.00 each day I also have a simple healthy snack, such as an apple of banana, to ensure my natural sugar levels do not crash.

Today, some ten months after I changed this bad habit, by simply re-designing in two new routines, I don’t even think about it. My new habits are routine and I still get the rewards of socialisation and a sugar fix, although the type of sugar fix is now associated with slow releasing carbs, which are far healthier for me.

My new habit is now automatic. It is a new positive habit. I haven’t had a bag of crisps or a bar of chocolate at work for months. Once I understood the power of habit loops and how they can influence success or failure in life, I realised that habit formulation involves a relatively simple three step loop;  a  cue, then the routine, followed by some reward, which is normally nothing more than the feeling of satisfaction or approbation.

Coupled with this there is also the importance of overcoming the main influences that prevent so many of us changing our habits. 

Why not start your own change, identifying just one bad habit, that you really have a strong reason why you wish and desire to change this. See if you can identify the cue that starts this habit, the routine you follow and the reward you gain by maintaining this habit.

How different would this be, if you simply changed the routine by adopting a new behaviour, emotion or feeling regularly until a new habit emerged?