Most of how we live is driven by habits. What do we do right when we wake up? When we get home from work? When we feel bored? All habits. We can change our habits for the better if we understand their three parts, as we talked about in last week in our power of habit blog. We’re going to dig into those habits in our Fly Feet Challenge.
Habits mean that that we do things without thinking about them. We can reprogram our habits over time by knowing their three parts:
The cue - i.e. You get home from work.
The routine - i.e. You sit on the coach and watch tv and eat chips.
The reward - i.e. You feel relaxed and can reflect on your day.
Shifting the routine is the key to habit change. Instead of sitting on the coach and eating chips, you go on a 15 minute walk, or meditate for 5 minutes, or wrte in our journal. When you’re finished, do you feel relaxed? Are you eliciting the same reward? Those are the mechanics of how you change your habits.
But that isn’t enough. Typically three more things have to be present in order for your habit change to take hold:
You have to BELIEVE that change is possible.
Sounds simple, but if you’re just going through the motions, you’ll stick to your working on your new habit in January and then it will fade just like most New Year’s resolutions. You have to believe you can do it. Tony Dungee famously turned around the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by tweaking players’ old habits just as outlined above. But they didn’t actually start winning until the players believed in their potential to win.
Most often that belief emerges from a group.
Odds of success go up dramatically when you pledge to change as part of a group. (That’s why so many people find success with our challenges.) You use that group when you feel like you might stumble. AA has been doing this for over 70 years. When you have a support system that is all working towards the same thing, and you see others finding success, you will believe you can too.
Your “why” has to be meaningful.
Clearly articulate why you are working on shifting your old habits. Research has found that the more meaningful your “why” is, the more likely you are to stick with it. Losing weight for a high school reunion is far less meaningful than losing weight to be the best version of yourself for your kids. As you think through your habit change, also focus on why you’re doing it, and make it meaningful.
We are focused on building new habits because keystone habits produce small wins that drive transformative change. If you can successfully shift one routine (not sitting on the couch eating chips), you are likely to make additional habit changes without really thinking about it.
The Fly Feet Challenge kicks off next week. Start to take inventory of your habits. What are the good ones? Which ones do you want to change? Break them down into their three parts. Start to think about what new routines you want to implement. Motivation will get you going, but your HABITS will get you there!