The CEO of the Ziglar Organization, Tom Ziglar, is quoted saying ... "the fastest way to success is to replace bad habits with good habits". As Ziglar Certified Trainers, we actually facilitate workshops based on this concept called Live to Win! This sounds like a simple concept, however it is a bit more difficult than it seems. It was however, until I read the book; "Thinking in Bets" by Annie Duke!
The book is not about habits per se, it is about decision making. In Chapter 4 or 5 Annie talks about habits. The theory she discusses is the three step process surrounding them. In order to change our habits, as Tom recommends, we don't need to focus on all three items! Therefore, if you want to be a success, you only need to identify these!
Trigger - Habit - Feeling
Habits are surrounded by these two concepts, triggers and feelings (or sensations). Directly before a habit is kicked off, there is some form of trigger. It can be anything from a smell to the time of day. The concept is that the trigger is not kicking off the habit itself, it is telling your body it's time for a certain feeling or sensation. The habit is just the method or part of the process to get to that feeling.
An example of a common trigger is a yawn in the middle of the afternoon. For many of us, this physical trigger kicks off the urge to have a cup of coffee. That is the habit, but what the coffee brings us, is what our body is craving. We don't want a cup of coffee, we want to be awake! It's the feeling, or sensation, that is brought about by caffeine that yawn is striving for.
Some theories attack the trigger. If you are yawning in the middle of the day, maybe you should change your sleep habits, your diet for breakfast and lunch, and many other things. What we should do though, is simply allow the natural trigger to occur without modifying the rest of our lifestyle.
We need to analyze and identify what that trigger is asking us to provide, and then simply provide that feeling or sensation with something else.
Successful habit change comes at this point. What things, other than coffee, will give us this new wide awake feeling? Maybe a quick walk up and down the hall, or a breath of fresh air? Can a walk outside with an 8 ounce bottle of water instead of a Starbucks Grande Americano work just as well?
This is how we move from bad habits to good habits. If we truly want to transform, we don't have to deprive ourselves the feelings, we just need to find new ways to get them. Research different ways you can get that jolt. Is it meditation, a walk, focusing on a new task, or even a 20-minute nap?
I have been testing this theory for a while now, and after a few short weeks, I found the following.
My main habit that I wanted to change recently, is removing beer from my daily routine. Each day at 5pm I would pop open a craft beer, watch The Five (my only daily news show), and just relax. I have been telling myself that for quite some time that I enjoy this beer and it gives me the time to catch up on the news.
What my body was telling me, similar to the yawn ... is that I needed to stop my day, and relax. When I looked at the clock and saw that it was 4:55, it wasn't time for a beer, it was time to stop and chill out. For the past several weeks, instead of a beer I have been grabbing a bottle or glass of water. I kick back the recliner, and enjoy the time. I don't miss the beer, because my body wasn't craving that, it was just craving the downtime.
In the end, I am not depriving myself of anything that I truly wanted or my body needed. I don't have to justify the beer time, because I really am getting what I want.
One of the keys to personal growth is self-awareness. What is your body telling you? What are you wanting or needing in your routine? How many ways can you get that safe feeling, excitement, stimulation, or sensation? Which one of them are better for you?
If you are searching for ways to grow, improve, or transform and are having troubles, this is where The Kole Performance Group can help!