Welcome to Episode 144 of the Sheep Dressed Like Wolves Podcast. The show is finally back after a short impromptu break. I explain why this happened.
In this episode we explore habits. This year I have read Charles Duhigg’s ‘The Power of Habit’ and Gary Keller’s ‘The One Thing’, both of which have some very simple and important things to say about how to make big changes to our lives by doing small things. In this show I unpack some of the key takeaways that I gained from both books.
The Power of Habit
Habits are neutral. We think of them as good or bad but in reality they are neither. They are inevitable. Simply processes by which we live our lives and do what we do.
But with awareness and understanding of their mechanics we can grab hold of them. We can change them.
In this episode I explore these classic pitfalls that we have all experienced when it comes time to transform a bad habit into a better one:
Stretching Too Thin
We get excited about making big changes to our lives. We think about everything we want to transform and go for it but by trying to change everything we end up changing nothing.
Believing that Will Power is Everything
A habit is a routine of behaviour that is repeated regularly and happens with minimal thought. It is an automatic behavioural reflex; what a person does when set at their default position with no conscious or obvious decision making.
Will power is a vital ingredient when starting out with a new habit. It gets the ball rolling. It’s the fight against temptation. But it’s not needed forever.
Not Understanding the Energy Required for Will Power
“There’s been more than two hundred studies on this idea since then, and they’ve all found the same thing. Willpower isn’t just a skill. It’s a muscle, like the muscles in your arms or legs, and it gets tired as it works harder, so there’s less power left over for other things.” – The Power of Habit
Focussing on the Wrong Part of the Process
First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.
We often neglect the cues and rewards; focussing merely on the routine, separating it from its context. We make it harder for ourselves than it needs to be.
The Golden Rule of Habit Change
You Can’t Extinguish a Bad Habit, You Can Only Change It.
Duhigg says: ”There is, unfortunately, no specific set of steps guaranteed to work for every person. We know that a habit cannot be eradicated—it must, instead, be replaced. And we know that habits are most malleable when the Golden Rule of habit change is applied: If we keep the same cue and the same reward, a new routine can be inserted.”
Over to You
Question: What habit feels impossible to change for you because you feel like you don’t have enough will power? What would changing this habit make possible for you? Please leave your response in the comments below.
There is now a Patreon page for the podcast. This allows you to communicate your support for the show and encourage me to remain consistent in the creation of this content and in constantly seeking to take it to the next level. I am so incredibly thankful to those of you who continue to listen every week and for those of you decide to show your support by becoming a Patreon supporter.