Habits, especially work habits, can change the course of your career. The way you view your potential for growth and what you do to develop your skills and abilities have a much bigger effect than you may ever know. Don’t let bad habits stop you from becoming a successful professional!
What You Need To Know About Habits
There is not, or at least there should not be, a professional development path that does not discuss the importance of habits. The challenge is that there isn’t one clear formula for changing habits, there are many of them. We must first understand how habits work, how we can change them and that with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.
Here are a few insights from successful professionals and what they feel you should know about habits.
Habits According to Judson Brewer
Judson Brewer referred to a recent study that shows that when we are really trying to pay attention to something, it is very likely we will drift off to daydream or have an urge to check social media updates.
Reward-based learning process according to Judson together with positive and negative reinforcement drives our habits using the Trigger Behaviour Reward pattern. Our survival instinct initiates the process and when we see food, for example, we eat the food and then feel good about it. The brain creates the pattern based on the need, however, it creates a new one like feel bad, eat something good and feels better. The interesting point here is that the emotional signal of feeling sad triggers us to eat. We are shifted from learning to survive to bad habits.
Judson suggests that instead of forcing ourselves when we tapped into the natural reward-based learning process we should get really curious what happens in our momentary experience. Mindful training being curious where we move from knowledge to wisdom. Prefrontal Cortex on an intellectual level understands that we should not smoke for example however cognitive control goes offline when we are stress out and then we fall into our old habits.
Cravings made up of body sensations like tightness tension restlessness and we can manage them when we are curious.
Bob Proctor On Habits
Bob Proctor points out the book “Thinking Grow Reach” written by Napoleon Hill and a chapter dedicated to decisions. Decisions should be made quickly and firmly, and they give us direction on where we are going. The habit of definite decision is to make a decision and be able to shift the perception of yourself. People do not make decisions as they can’t see how they going to get to reach their goals.
Bob related to the individual as a mass of energy that functions and thinks on frequencies. Frequency is a level of vibration and if you have a goal on a different frequency the goals very often seem to be far and unreachable.
Bob suggests bringing yourself backwards from the desired state recreating all the steps and act like you are in that state already. Start thinking on a higher frequency to get to your goals. It is very important you won’t go back on the decision. The moment your belief matches with the desired state you fuse with it. This results in the activation of plans, conditions and circumstances. New conscious awareness is your new you. Connect the energy, do not compromise and get the things you want.
Brian Tracy’s View On Habits
According to Brian Tracy sometimes a single second is enough to form a habit but for some it takes years. All depends on the intensity of the emotion that accompanies the decision to act in a particular way. He gives an example that the thought of dying when directly communicated by the doctor to the patients from smoking produce a significant emotional experience and can be a quick trigger in starting a healthy lifestyle and formulating new habits. Experts say it takes around 21 days to shape habits with medium complexity.
Brian Tracy relates to seven steps when developing a new habit. First, he suggests to clearly decide on specific habits. Secondly, never allowed an exception. Thirdly, let others know about your goals. Next, visualise yourself performing in a particular way in a particular situation the action that you want to be a part of your routine as it is much easier to accept by the subconscious mind. The fifth step is to create an affirmation to increase the speed of forming the habit. The sixth element according to Brian is to persist until it is automatic and when you feel uncomfortable when you do not do it. The last step is to reward yourself. Forming a habit is crucial as 95 per cent you want to achieve depends on the habits.
Charles Duhigg’s Perspective on Habits
In his book Charles Duhigg “The Power of Habit” introduce a framework in forming habits which include: identifying the routine, experiment with rewards, isolate the cue and have a plan. You must decompose the core of the habit, a loop that consists of three parts: a cue, a routine, and a reward.
The routine is the most obvious aspect as it is the behaviour you want to change. Then ask yourself e question what’s the cue for this routine? Why you need a break before plunging into another task?
Define what’s the reward? In order to figure this out, you’ll need to do a little experimentation. Rewards are powerful because they satisfy cravings which power the habit loop. We’re often not conscious of the cravings that drive our behaviour as most cravings are obvious in retrospect, but incredibly hard to see when we are under their sway.
To figure out which cravings are driving particular habits, it’s useful to experiment with different rewards which might take a few days, or a week, or longer.
Charles underlined that It is crucial to force a momentary awareness to know what you are thinking or feeling. Also, put every fifteen-minute alarm to determine the reward you’re craving. Isolate what you are actually craving, which is essential in redesigning the habit.
Charles quotes research in which almost all habitual cues fit into one of five categories: location, time, emotional state, other people, immediately preceding action so you should write down five things the moment the urge hits. He gives an example: Where are you? (sitting at my desk); What time is it? (3:36 P.M.); What’s your emotional state? (bored); Who else is around? (no one); What action preceded the urge? (answered an email).
The last step are making plans known as “implementation intentions.” When I see CUE, I will do ROUTINE in order to get a REWARD. Habit is a choice that we deliberately make at some point.
When I have implemented my exercise habit or daily research habit I wanted to make sure that they are time efficient. My exercise is a power exercise lasts 16 minutes and are orientated on achieving great results. I put myself into the great satisfying state I’m in when I complete the exercise before I start doing them. I have a reward for the healthy shake afterwards and for the last few years, it became an important part of my routine. In my research habit of learning and noting new things for 30 min a day I used the same system. All congruent with my values and goals make them permanent working for my better wellbeing and growth as a professional.
The Final Word On Habits
I would summarise the habit process with Rob Dial suggestions to make it as simple as possible. Starting with a commitment to do small bits like one minute by chunking the things too small pieces. For example, we base our Train As You Go “TAYGo” System on this concept to get the best results in professional development. Do very simple and easy tasks with whatever you want to create and ask yourself how to make it as easy as possible in your routine.