5 Findings on Habits That Can Change Your Life

The Power of Habits
At Brevedy, we’re big fans of the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People and we’ve created a 3 minute video on the 7 Habits to help people learn them. One thing that Covey does not discuss in his book is how the average person like you and me can turn the big 7 into daily habits.
Fortunately, due to advances in brain research in the past 15 years, we know how habits form neurologically. Additionally, research in organizational and individual behavior has given us new insights in how to create good new habits and eliminate bad old habits.

Charles Duhigg, a New York Times reporter and a Harvard Business School graduate wrote a best seller on the subject called “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” which was release in 2012. The Harvard Business Review did an interview with Duhigg. Here are 5 findings on habits that can change your life.

1. Creating Good Habits are Critical for Personal and Organizational Success
About 40% to 45% of what we do every day sort of feels like a decision, but it’s actually habit. But equally importantly, habits are a really big deal within companies. We’ve learned is that a huge amount of whether a company succeeds or fails is based not on sort of the big strategy decisions that people make, but on the habits that emerge within the organization.

2. Every habit has three components
There’s a cue, which is like a trigger for the behavior to start unfolding. A routine, which is the habit itself, the behavior, the automatic sort of doing what you do when you do a habit. And then at the end, there’s a reward. And the reward is how our neurology learns to encode this pattern for the future.

Most people, when they think about habits, focus on the behavior or the routine. But we’ve learned that it’s the cue and the reward that really determine why a habit unfolds. And you’re exactly right.

3. Cues Fall into One of Five Categories
To change a habit, you have to first diagnose the cue and the reward. Every cue falls into usually one of five categories. It’s usually a time of day, a certain place, the presence of certain other people, a particular emotion, or kind of a set of behaviors that’s become ritualized.

4. Understanding The Reward You Get from a Habit is Critical
Understanding the reward of a habit is critical, because the reward is actually the most important part. That’s the craving that creates the habit in the first place and causes you to repeat the habit. Rewards are multi-faceted and can contain physical, emotional or intellectual components.

5. Keystone Have Disproportionate Influence
Some habits seem to have a disproportionate influence and are called keystone habits. When a keystone habit starts changing, it seems to set off a chain reaction that changes other habits. In a lot of people’s lives a keystone habit is exercise. When they start exercising, they start using their credit cards less. They start procrastinating less. They do their dishes earlier. Something about exercise makes other habits more malleable.

Creating the right good habits and eliminating damaging bad habits is a life changer. Head over to Amazon a please pick up a copy of this extraordinary book. You won’t be sorry.