Yet the truth I’ve experienced in building my own business is that sometimes my creative vision and drive to succeed can feel as if they’re getting in the way of building new, healthier habits.
Have you ever felt so pressed for time that all you can focus on is trying to get through the never ending backlog of tasks that keep your businesses running?
I’ve been there too! I know how precious our time is and how it can seem like there is no way we can add another healthy habit to our routine.
But take a moment to consider how important your habits and the habits of the people you work with are, not only to the quality of your life, but also to the longevity of your business.
Duke University research reports that at least 40% of our day is habitual.
Essentially we are the habits that we’ve had in the past and our future depends on how we shape our habits today.As Sean Covey very simply put it – “We become what we repeatedly do.”
Here’s the good news – The problem isn’t you, your ambition to build a successful business, or even the healthier habits you want to keep.
The problem is your strategy.
Anyone can learn to build better habits. No matter how many times you’ve tried and failed in the past, you are still capable of building good habits and breaking bad ones.
You simply have to know how habits work and how to manage the challenges that keep habits from sticking. Despite our enthusiasm as entrepreneurs, none of us are designed to be highly motivated all the time.
You may have noticed that getting positive results that actually last, whether in your business or with your health, usually doesn’t happen overnight. We all wish it would, but positive change and lifetime wellness aren’t isolated events, they are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. As such, we have to be in it for the long haul. But here’s the good part – the long haul doesn’t have to be a slog. It can actually be fun.
In this article, I’m going to share one of the most powerful behavioral science tools that I’ve learned from my training as part of the Worldwide Association of Yoga Health Coaches. When you practice this method, you’ll be able to change your habits with more ease and your habits will actually stick for the long term.
So how do you get yourself from point A: wanting a new habit, to point B: making that habit an unconscious part of your routine so that it doesn’t consume your energy, but rather, bolster it? Here’s how.
Use the Trigger/Habit/Reward method (Or 3 Rs of Habit Formation) Here’s how it works.
A habit has 3 parts:
- Reminder (trigger that initiates the habit)
- Routine (the habit itself)
- Reward (the benefit from the habit)
Identify a current trigger that initiates one of your bad habits. Next, rather than using it to repeat the old habit, replace it with a slightly better new habit that delivers the same type of reward. Here’s an example of linking your desired better habit to an existing negative habit:
Trigger: Driving home from work.
Old habit: Stop and eat a donut.
Reward: Something sweet.
Implementing the Trigger/Habit/Reward method:
Trigger: Driving home from work. (Stays the same.)
New Habit: Choose sugarless gum. (Replaces the old habit with a better habit.)
Reward: Something sweet. (Stays the same)
This is important to note – don’t aim for your 100% end goal. Start with a slightly better choice, and aim for a 1% improvement in your behavior. You’ve got to make it ridiculously achievable to guarantee your success. Your brain needs to build it’s positive reinforcement through wins, not losses.
The focus should be on having success with your small change at least 4-5 days per week. Avoid an all or nothing attitude when changing a habit. Recognize that reprogramming takes time and will accelerate if you create positive reinforcement. Even if you do have a few slip ups along the way, don’t let that derail you.
If you want to build on existing positive habits, you can also link a desired habit to an existing positive habit and step up your game. For example, if you already do a lot of cardio, but want to add in more strength, put a set of free weights next to your tennis shoes and do one set of bicep curls before you put your shoes on to do cardio. You can use this methodology and begin to practice building better habits right away.
Having healthier habits is important not just for you personally, but also professionally. When you create habits that stick, your clients and everyone you interact with can feel it. You provide an energetic transference of confidence that supports not only your growth, but the growth of others as well.