Resolutions: Taking the 1st Leap!
To achieve your goals, you must clarify and simplify what you want to achieve. Analyse what steps need to be taken to reach this goal and what it is about your current behaviour that is holding you back. Applying Duhigg’s methodology to change your habits will make your resolutions more sustainable and consistent. This consistency is the key to increase the chances of you achieving your goal.
Make a change.
Whether at an individual or organisational level, habits compose and impact everything we do. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when we consider our goals. To achieve your goal, look more closely at something manageable. Dissect your goal. What behaviour or routine do you need? Implement this habit each day to help you achieve your goal.
Duhigg proposes the Habit Loop:
1. A Cue – a trigger
2. A Routine – your physical, mental, or emotional response
3. A Reward – why you remember this habit
Over time a behavioural pattern will form. The anticipation for the reward and your behavioural routine will become automatic. In many cases, you may no longer even recognise the cue for many of your daily habits. Why do you always reach for the biscuits at work? Why do you bite your nails?
And so why is this relevant to achieving your New Year’s Resolutions?
Your goal is your aspiration and to achieve this you need a plan. Taking the first step can seem daunting. Make this more manageable and consider what habits or behaviour you need to achieve this goal. It may be a new habit that you need to implement or perhaps you need to change a bad habit. Duhigg suggests that we cannot simply eradicate bad habits, they must be changed.
To create a new habit, you need to create the Habit Loop. Your goal, or a feeling of making progress towards your goal, is the reward. The cue and the routine will be dependent on your goal. What is key is that you need to CRAVE the reward. The goal must be meaningful to you. Become almost obsessive with your goal. Anticipate the reward and let it become a craving. The feeling of doing something productive towards your goal will become satisfying, and, if you repeat this behaviour, this will become a habit, automatically implemented into your life.
To change a bad habit, Duhigg suggests that the cue and reward must remain the same. It is only the routine that must change. For example, if your bad habit is biting your nails when you feel stressed, recognise that cue of feeling stressed and implement a different routine.
Keystone habits and the ripple effect.
Duhigg suggests that some habits are more influential in life than others. They can have a ripple effect on your other habits. Keystone habits transform us. They create a culture and instil certain values that you may otherwise forget in difficult situations. One habit can have the power to change your whole mindset and therefore other habits and aspects of your life.
For example, your goal is to run a marathon. The first habit you create is a morning jog each day. This morning jog and the values you have instilled that inspire you to do this every day to reach your goal also inspires you to stop drinking, and change your diet. You feel more energised and productive at work. Thiecommitment to this goal has also helped you build and strengthen perhaps your most important attribute: willpower.
As easy as it is to become overwhelmed by striving for goals, it is just as easy to be disheartened when you reach a setback or progress is slow. The process of implementing a new habit or changing a bad habit is also much easier said than done.
It takes time, consistency, and willpower.
Willpower can be considered one of the most powerful attributes to guide you in your personal and professional life. Duhigg discusses how willpower can be dwindled through excessive usage. But you can also train your willpower.
Changing a habit that you may think is completely unrelated to your business may train your willpower to increase your resilience in your business. Going to the gym every evening or putting your phone down at a certain time may not seem as though it is impacting your working life and decisions. However, the willpower you will strengthen by implementing this new habit will better equip you to automatically be more disciplined and focused at work when you’ve had particularly challenging day.
Willpower, in itself, is therefore a habit and may be your key to achieving your 2022 goals.
So why not try and change one habit in your personal or working life…who knows where the ripples may take you?