Habits are tricky things. Many of the activities we do every day are because of ingrained habits. In many cases we don’t even realize we are doing them. Good or bad, we do them almost automatically. This is where the real power of habit change comes in. Knowing how they work will empower us to change them for the better.
The three parts of a habit are…
- Cue or Trigger: Something that fires the habit
- Routine: The course of action we take after the trigger to get the reward.
- Reward: The reason we do the action
Example: You get in the car in the morning (Trigger), You turn on the radio (Routine) to enjoy music on your drive to work (Reward).
Figuring out the triggers and rewards can be a challenge at times, but for our purposes here let’s look at some easy triggers
- Getting out of bed
- Getting in the car
- Coming home from work
Now that we have seen some triggers, let’s look at three important facts about habits and see how they work.
- Researchers have found that it is much easier to change an existing habit than create a new one.
- It’s easier to change the routine, than the trigger or reward
- The smaller a new habit is, the easier it is to create
With just these three simple pieces of data we can construct a system that let’s us maximize an existing habit or routine.
- Start with an existing trigger
- Optimize your existing routine
- Add another small action or habit to the trigger
- Write a blended routine including your optimized routine and added habit.
- Write it out in a positive statement. Test and maximise the blended routine
- Monitor your new routine for a while until it becomes a long term habit
So let’s blend-up a couple of examples.
Going to Work
- Trigger: Getting in the Car for the commute to work
- Existing Routine: Turn on the radio and listen to music.
- Modified Routine: Turn on the radio and listen to audio books
- Added Routine: Make one sales call when you get in the car.
- Blended Routine: Make one sales call then listen to audio books
- One Month Outcome: 20 sales calls, listened to 8 audio books
Positive action statement: When getting in the car in the morning, I will make one important bluetooth sales call and then listen to engaging business oriented audio books.
Going to Starbucks
- Trigger: Walking in to Starbucks
- Existing Routine: Ordering a high calorie vente latte (600 cal)
- Modified Routine: Order a black coffee (Save 600 calories)
- Added Routine: Talk to someone new while waiting in line
- Blended Routine: Talk to someone new and order a black coffee
- One Month Outcome: New friends or contacts, lost 4 pounds
Positive Action Statement: When going to Starbucks I will talk with people in line while waiting for a hot coffee.
Modifications: Found that I missed the whipped cream on top of my drink. Started ordering black coffee with whipped topping and added cinnamon to make a delicious drink with only 15 more calories. Found it was easier to build a conversation if I had a business card, book, or other item with me.
New Blended Statement: When going to Starbucks I will engage in interesting conversation with people in line while waiting for delicious hot coffee with whipped cream and cinnamon.
New Outcome: Basically the same but much more enjoyment along the way
Change Your Life: This new blended habit system is easy to follow with my TRIM Goals Plan.
- Trigger: Find an existing trigger
- Routine: Modify the existing routine
- Insert: Insert a new small action or routine
- Mix: Create a positive blended action statement
Outcomes: Maximize your existing triggers and add new ones. Easy to create routines that lead to success.
Goal Setting Can Help You Find Success
Episode 1: Goals Vs. Habits
Episode 2: Fight Training
Episode 3: SMARTER Goals
Episode 4: Testing & Fine Tuning Your Goals
Episode 5: SMARTER Goals for Life
Episode 6: This Simple Graph Made Goal Setting Stick
Episode 7: The Secret of Successful Goal Setting
Episode 8: TRIM Goals: The Easy Way to Set Goals
Set a Goal With Our Free Goal Setting Tools
Goal Setting Ebook
Goal Setting Quotes