In yesterday’s post I threw out the word habit in regards to writing this blog. It’s a super hot word right now and for good reason – The totality of our habits make us who we are.
I remember when the word habit was reserved for evil things like smoking, drinking and overeating, but nowadays it’s also entrenched in startup culture, self-improvement and positivity.
All this habit talk and research is due in large part to Charles Duhigg’s excellent book, The Power of Habit, so it’s only fitting to use his words to define a habit:
“First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.”
He also speaks of, the evolutionary reason for habits, quite simply, the brain is trying to conserve effort. The strongest example I have of this personally is from when I was on the first day of my juice fast and walked downstairs to watch TV and without thinking grabbed my favorite snack out of the pantry. For me the cue was walking down the stairs and watching TV. That was completely eye opening to a habit I was totally unaware.
This all ties back to the idea of being consistent in whatever you decide to do. The easiest way to create consistency is to make it something you do every day and if you’re like me, picking a time that you do it every day helps too. Another helpful tool comes from Jerry Seinfeld, suprisingly and it’s very simple. Get a calendar, mark the day if you’ve done your thing that day and “Don’t break the chain.” Since implementing it I’ve been way more consistent about exercise, writing and working towards my goals. Credit to seanwes for bringing this to my attention.
Little things every day, change your habits and improve your life, because, as I said, you are simply the totality of your habits.
“Your desires can easily lure you into biting off more than you can chew.” – James Clear
Good blog on self improvement with a ton of content.
“Our thoughts become our words, our words become our beliefs, our beliefs become our actions, our actions become our habits, and our habits become our realities.” – Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass.
Not specifically about building habits, but using habits to create other beneficial change in your life.
“My friends, my habits, my family. They mean so much to me.” – Modest Mouse, One Chance