Building Habits

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“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” – Artistotle

Consider the well-worn hiking trail. It was not always this worn. In fact, it used to not exist. The first trailblazer through faced much hardship and friction as they trudged along. After this initial path was carved out each subsequent hiker had an easier journey. The path became more and more defined, slowly but surely with each trip.

Habits are the choices that all of us deliberately make at some point, and then stop thinking about but continue doing. Think about the well worn path; after a habit is formed a similar neurological path is carved out to conserve energy the next time the habit is triggered – making it an easier trip.

The Power Of Habit  focuses on both building habits and changing them.

Habit Loop

When it comes to changing habits, we will want to leverage existing cues and rewards while changing the habit or routine. The beautiful thing about the well-worn path of good habits (exercise, meditating, journaling, in-sourcing, etc.) is that eventually the reward simply becomes the sense of accomplishment gained from completion.

This habit loop can be applied to business and leadership as well. In the One Minute Manager Ken Blanchard introduces the one minute appraisal and the one minute reprimand. This leverages immediate feedback versus waiting for the performance appraisal. Pair this with the concept of the habit loop and you have something profound. Think about it, how can you build good habits months after the cues have happened? If we want to get better results, we need to build better habits. Now.

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Loop by useiconic.com from the Noun Project

2 Comments

  1. […] B.F. Skinner learned how to train animals to do amazing tasks. He could train mice to climb ladders, and train pigeons to fly to predetermined locations. How did he do this? Through reward systems. When a mouse would be remotely close to the ladder he would get a treat. When his paw touched the ladder he would get another treat. So on and so forth. What Skinner learned was that he needed to watch behavior intently and when the animal was close to the behavior Skinner desired he would give them a reward. This reinforced the Habit Loop. […]

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