We are what our habit is. This is a personal trait which a person is most ignorant about, yet a defining quality for an individual’s life. There are multiple examples on how habit defines our life e.g what we think most of the time, how we react under different situation, how we talk to a person, what food we eat, how we use our electronic gadgets etc. Since we are not aware of your habits, many a time we wonder why thing are not happening the way we expected. It is so intrigued that one leads to another – meaning consequence of one habit affect another area of life and it goes on. Fortunately, existing habits can be reversed and new productive habits can be developed. Charles Duhigg in his book “The power of habit” charlesduhigg.com › the-power-of-habit has defined habit forming as below:
Cue ———-> Routine ———–> Habit
Cue means signal. The mind gives signal to the body for certain thing at certain point of time. When body or brain gets the signals it automatically directs you to do the thing that you “usually” do when you receive such signal. When continually keep doing the thing that we “usually” do under such signal it becomes a habit. The habit could be productive or unproductive, good for self or bad. For example, you are working in office and at around 3 pm you feel hungry. You go down to a store to buy a chocolate and eat it. Next day again you feel hungry & repeat the same process. If you keep doing it on few occasions it will become a routine and eventually a habit. Now, almost every day around 3 pm you will feel hungry and you will go down for a chocolate. Later, you would be even go for the chocolate without being hungry, because it has become a habit to go down at 3 pm and bite a chocolate. Here the cue is hunger and routine is to go down and buy a chocolate, which is a habit.
This habit can develop without being aware of it and you will feel happy about when fulfilled. But it has consequence. In above example, regular eating of chocolate will lead to weight gain. Your joy of fulfilling a habit and being happy (which is artificial) will be countered by unhappiness over weight gain. You get stuck between a habit and a consequence.
All habits are not bad. Some are good and beneficial. We need to deal with the bad habits. Charles Duhigg says to correct a habit we need to first be aware of it and then break the routine. In the above example, the disturbing part is going down and eating chocolate. Once we are aware of it, we can replace it by something else. Say we keep some nuts in drawer/bag/pocket and whenever feel hungry “consciously” reach out to those nuts and bite few. If we continue these for few days, the brain will record it and will direct you to go for the nuts instead of chocolate. The same principle is applicable for all kind of habits; just replace the bad routine with a good one.
Many a time we find ourselves that we are not able to get ahead just because of certain habits. Whatever your goal, whoever you are and wherever you are, if you can develop the following 5 habits, it will bring remarkable change and you will start achieving the things you always wanted to.
#1 Right habitual thinking.
A person becomes what he or she think most of the time. If you think self-limiting thoughts, it will reflect in your action. You will feel less power, low in confidence, doubtful, indecisive. Obviously, outcome of whatever you do will not be upto your expectation. This cyclical effect of thought, action and result will continue making you feel you are average. But if you replace your self-limiting thought with empowering thoughts you will discover a whole new world. At least three times a day say aloud that you are confident, successful, achiever and a go getter. Your sub-conscious mind will record it as true and make you act like one. You will slowly observe that you are improving in all spheres of life.
#2 scheduling ‘to do work’ for the day.
We generally keep a mental note of things to do. However, in present day scenario we constantly getting information or rather distraction due to which we forget and fail to do the things that we wished to do. By the time the day ends we realize that things we thought of doing remain unattended. As a result our productivity goes down and we feel bad about it. It is therefore very important to build up a habit of scheduling to do work in advance as a part of day planning. The best time to scheduling the day is the night before. During the day the schedule should be in front of us all the time and we should keep monitoring the progress. If for any genuine reason something could not be done, the same can be rescheduled. A day spent as per schedule, I promise, will be a fulfilling day for you.
#3 San procrastination.
Procrastination or postponing works in hand has been defined as a mental condition. It is a habit. There is a saying ‘you don’t improve by postponing’. Still people do procrastinate with a hope to do better tomorrow or later. But that tomorrow never come. It makes you lethargic, less productive and a bad example of your personality. This habit can be changed by reinforcing in your mind the idea of ‘NOW’ – the best time to do anything is now. You need to force yourself to stop procrastination. Once it become habit, you will start doing things as desired.
#4 Focus on important & urgent.
Stephen Covey in his book “7 habits of highly effective people” has given the concept of important and urgent work. Generally we remain so focused in resolving the urgent work that we almost ignore or neglect the important work. The matrix alongside describes how to handle which combination of work. We should develop a habit of attending the important and urgent work before it become urgent and important. For better understanding I can give an example of IT return filing, which is an important work. But many a time people wait for last moment – just before due date. Then he or she will find that papers are not place and it takes lots of stress and effort to file the return on or before due date, which could have been avoided by handling at important stage itself. It drains your energy and productivity.
#5 Learn to say no.
Human are social being and therefore we tend to go along with our fellow beings all the time. It is an instinct. But, following this instinct all the time without purpose may not be a good idea. We therefore should learn to say NO. We need not be harsh, but polite. When we have a purpose, an important work is priority; the person in front will also understand when we say no to his or her proposal or invitation. Saying no is not to the person but to that particular event. Also we need to develop the habit of saying no to internal self also. We should develop inner strength to say no to things that are not our priority say going to party, joining an activity which is not my focus area etc. At the same time we need not be rigid to make life dull. We may indulge at some time while keeping in mind the priorities.
I have seen many highly potential people unproductive because of bad habits. If you keenly observe, you will find all successful people have certain good habits such as rising early, sticking to the objective, pursuing the matter they are involved in, moving forward despite adversity etc. Many of these are in born or developed during the course of life. If anyone can develop the above 5 habits I am sure it will be a life changing event. Do let me know your experience.