I have always been interested to see how we can adopt new habits and get rid of bad habits. This book has been one of the best I have read on the subject. Here’s a short summary.
What is a habit and why are habits so important?
A habit is something you do everyday with little or no required effort or thought.
It’s the engine that drives the people we most admire.
Don’t spend you willpower, Invest it
Building a habit means converting something that requires a lot of effort and willpower into something that becomes automatic.
You already have a million habits
We are creatures of habit by design. We already have a million habits we do every day (what we do after we wake up, brushing our teeth).
Good Habits aren’t more difficult to execute than bad habits, they’re just harder to build
Getting over procrastination, or other bad habits and replacing them with a good work ethic is very difficult to do at first. One has to weigh up the cost of building the habit and keeping the habit.
New Habits vs Old Habits
New habits are things you are doing now, but old habits are things you are. Contrast waking up early and being an early riser, or eating a healthy meal to a healthy eater. Moving from doing to being.
Creating new habits takes a lot of willpower, meaning we cannot build lots of new habits all at once.
Think very long term
When choosing which habit to take on and which one to drop, it’s important to see the impact of it in the long term. One individual action won’t make a difference, but a cumulative action built up over years, that makes a difference.
Consistency is everything
Skipping a habit is detrimental to progress. This doesn’t mean you have to beat yourself up about it, but it does mean you have to be aware of the consequences. Scaling down your habits is key to make sure you do it every day. For example, instead of saying meditate 30min every day, start with one minute every day.
Absolutely never skip twice
Whenever you skip doing a habit, consciously admit to yourself you are skipping the habit. This will happen on a few occasions, but do not ever skip doing a habit twice in a row. You will be starting from zero again.
You need to plan well in advance for what things you will change when travelling or on holiday. Then once you are back to normal routine, your normal habit can and will kick in. Important to plan deliberately and well.
You just go – Do a terrible Job
Creating habits requires loyalty. What should you do when you sick and tired and really don’t want to do the habit. Do it anyway, but do a terrible job at it. For example, when writing 500 words, write random words, or write about how sick you feel. It’s not the individual action that counts, but the consistency.
Don’t reward the lazy brain
Your brain will try and put a few barriers in your way so it can go back to resting (easy way). This in itself can become a habit. Solution is to just push through and continue working anyway.