The Key to Success – is Success!
The big key to making improvements your life is breaking old bad habits and creating new ones that serve you well. There are several great books about habits – Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer. They are all great books and worth reading. I’ll share one idea from each book that resonated with me.
In the book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life, I learned that success breeds success. The way to create your success is to set the bar low enough that you can’t help but succeed. That success, no matter how small, will propel you to want more. The author tells a story of a doctor whose patient was a single mother with several children and she had little to no time left for her own self-care – like diet and exercise. The doctor asked her if she could march in place during one commercial every evening. She quickly agreed to the assignment and soon she was finding more time to exercise. So the key to success is success.
In the book Switch, the Heath brothers remind us of how important it is to create an environment where we can succeed. That environment may mean that you surround yourself with people who also care about your success or if you are trying to eat healthy food, to make sure it is readily available. The ability to create new habits is like building a muscle. The more you do it, the more muscle memory you have and the easier it gets.
In the book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg shares the habit loop, which includes the environmental cue, the behavioral routine and those lead to the reward. Duhigg encourages us to look at each of those separately and by perhaps changing the environment you can change the habit. Or, changing the routine that comes from the cue could change or create a new habit or change the reward. An example might be if you want to get up earlier in the morning to exercise, you might want to turn the television off and read at 9 p.m. Changing your environmental cue might lead to going to bed earlier and getting up earlier to exercise. If you want to change the routine, you might exercise first thing in the morning – your cue being getting up in the morning and the behavior routine is exercising as soon as you get up. Lastly, the reward. In the example of exercise, you might decide that every time you exercise in the morning your reward is going to your favorite movie over the weekend.
No doubt there is something to be said for 21 days to create a habit. That is reassuring to me, if I can just stick to the new habit for 21 days I’m home free. This year I decided to create a new habit each month. It’s pretty exciting to think that I could actually create 12 new habits in 2017! I have an accountability partner and a list of habits that I’d like to change – that could really take my life into a new direction. My challenge is to make sure that I am limiting what I want to change to one habit a month. That way I have a better chance of success.
What habit would you like to create or get rid of?