The accessibility of habits and grit…

It strikes me that two major determinants of success, habits and grit, are accessible to most people. Certainly, talent and intelligence will play a role in success, but I suspect they play more of a role in where we succeed, not whether we succeed. Those who succeed the most, I think, pursue their areas of special ability with good habits and grit. They recognize their strengths and follow them, but continuing to work on their weaknesses.

Much like the tortoise and the hare, those who continue to move forward may succeed despite an apparent lack of native ability. Fortunately, habits and grit can change, even if we can’t change your native ability. This is how we develop skills.

I injured myself today doing a deadlift where I didn’t realize how much of a jump in weight I was doing. I have worked hard to avoid injury in CrossFit, but I learned today that I will need to be more careful. I see the potential for learning a lot from this injury and how I might’ve avoided it. Injury can slow progress. We need to learn from these experiences and then carry on.

Two books to review:

The power of habit.

Grit.

Which Decisions are Strongest?

Are my decisions strongest when I am making them in the moment? … or when I have carefully considered and planned them?

Often, I get distracted from goals and plans because I make a different decision in the moment than I did when I carefully considered it. This doesn’t seem like the strongest strategy. I think that I need to have more confidence in my planning and then follow through.

Break Bad Habits with a Checklist

The idea of changing habits with a checklist is a powerful one for both individuals and organizations.

For individuals …

https://hbr.org/2017/02/break-bad-habits-with-a-simple-checklist

For organizations …

https://www.amazon.ca/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right-ebook/dp/B0030V0PEW

I need to have enough confidence in the checklist to trust it enough to discount my feelings in the moment in order to stick to my plan (that I have carefully thought through).

How To Start New Habits That Actually Stick

This blog post  is quite a nice summary of the most useful part of Charles Duhigg’s best–selling book, The Power of Habit.

When we are trying to be better, we usually focus on the decisions that we make. We hope that if we can just make better decisions, then we could be better people.

Habits, however, define much more of our day than our decisions do. The power of habit is part of the reason that changing our lives can be so hard. However, if we can understand how to change our habits, the power of habit can make change much more powerful and permanent.

Every habit you have has a

  1. Reminder,
  2. Routine, and
  3. Reward

You can take advantage of this to learn how to change the habits that shape your life. Start by looking at the habits that you have — analyze it. What is the reminder, the routine, and the reward? Once we identify the habit, we can start to think about how to change it.

You can take advantage of this to learn how to change the habits that shape your life.

If you want a short summary of this powerful book, I think that James Clear summarizes it well.

Changing habits

Changing a habit is complex. The appendix of “The Power of Habits” contains a framework for doing this that involves:

  1. Identify the routine.
  2. Experiment with rewards to isolate what you are actually craving.
  3. Isolate the cue.
  4. Have a plan

This recognizes the cue-routine-reward loop that is involved in each habit and suggests a way to approach change.

To identify cravings, afterward jot down three things that you are thinking or feeling and then wait 15 minutes to see if you still have the craving.

To identify cues, look for: Location, Time, Emotional state, Other people, or an Immediately preceding action.

Finally,

Once you’ve figured out your habit loop—you’ve identified the reward driving your behavior, the cue triggering it, and the routine itself—you can begin to shift the behavior. You can change to a better routine by planning for the cue and choosing a behavior that delivers the reward you are craving. What you need is a plan. 

This plan is to replace  the habit.