Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Using Habits for Success

Late night last night. Out at an Il Divo concert in a box courtesy of one of my YPO friends. Interesting cultural experience that I would not have done had I not been asked. This is part of my continued charmed life.

Did I say I love my Prius? It handles great in this snow. I ran out of windshield washer antifreeze and the revervoir holds a full 4 L. Makes total sense. Most other cars I get only hold 80% of a bottle so I end up carrying around part bottles.

Good drive into Toronto this morning even with the weather.

I will have habits - good or bad. Why not make them a choice?

Success comes from the result of habits. I continually try to refine my habits to make sure they are supporting me in what I want to do or be.

I have found that once something becomes a habit, it no longer requires discipline. For example, it takes no discipline for me to brush my teeth or fasten my seatbelt, I am so habituated that I feel wrong not doing it.

Right now I am so habituated to exercise that I have a hard time resting for a few days knowing that would likely be best for my sciatica. It is a good habit but I need to discipline and logic myself into knowing that a few days off will not turn me into a blob. And I can substitute softer workouts like yoga and swimming.

I have found that habits are easier to stop for me that to start. This is likely due to time constraints. Adding new habits often takes time (and at first, it takes discipline). One trick I try to do is if I add a habit that takes 5 minutes, I try to figure out what habit I am going to stop that takes 5 minutes. Without that trick, I tended to cut into my wind down time or sleep.

There are some habits that I seem to always backtrack on that I need to push again. One example of this is speed reading. My reading speed tends to drop back if I do not continually push but I can re-habituate myself fairly easily.

I also find there are many co-dependencies in habits (and since I view most habits as good, co-dependency is not a problem). As I refine my habits, I need to make sure I work with my co-dependants to support any changes I want to make. Co-dependants for me could mean a spouse, family, friends or coworkers. I probably drive my assistant crazy with all the new habits I implement.

So the tip for today - think about and plan your habits.


At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I will have habits, good or bad. Why not make them a choice? "

Jim, I love this quote. Thanks for the insight!


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