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The Healthy Habit Revolution: Create Better Habits In 5 Minutes A Day by Derek Doepker (2015-01-03) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1854
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Habits are “tax free.” Once you have them they cost nothing in terms of emotional energy, and effort.
Much has been written about habits, among the best of which “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg was reviewed in this column in 2012. Habits, he explains, work through a cycle of cue, routine and reward. The cue may be the feeling of nervousness, the routine is eating junk food, the reward is feeling calmer. Changing the routine to, for example, a few minutes of mindful breathing with your eyes closed, might produce the same reward – feeling calmer. Ending a bad habit by substituting a good one produces the same emotional reward without the downside.
Doepker’s contribution to the subject of habits is the focus on creating good habits rather than addressing bad ones. The approach that Doepker takes is one that does not need much willpower or motivation to achieve success.
“When I wanted to develop the habit of meditation,” he explains, “I set a target of 30 seconds of meditation each day. I knew that I could follow through with this without fail, every day, no matter how crazy that day was. In fact, it was so easy it would almost hurt my pride not to do it.”
This is the basis of what Doekper calls a “micro-habit”. It entails performing an action that will propel you in the right direction, so you can improve as you progress.
Establishing a routine is the immediate, critical step. The routine is more important at first than the results. It may take days, weeks, or months for the routine to become a habit, but you will eventually have an almost effortless, good habit. At first, consistency trumps all else.
The beauty of the approach is that it relies only on the smallest amount of willpower to get started.
Any necessary work activity can become a habit: replying to work correspondence the same day, keeping abreast of industry issues, making notes immediately after all meetings, and so on.
Ensuring that you do the micro-habit is often aided by a signal that it is to be done now. An aural cue might be an alarm that it is 4:45, indicating that you need to start replying to the day’s correspondence. Besides sensory reminders such visual (sticky-notes to yourself) or aural cues, tying a new habit to something you do daily already, helps. Since you commute to and from work each day, you could save returning calls for this time so that the commute becomes the cue.
If you find yourself forgetting once a week or more, you need to question whether the issue is that important to you.
Doepker compares significant issues that are forgotten to breaking a diet plan. The usual response to the realization that you ate really badly over the past few days, is that you might as well indulge through the weekend and start afresh next week. “If you missed a shower one day, would you wait until next week to start taking showers again?” he asks. Habits need to be more like showers than diets. Get back on track fast!
The language that we use when thinking about habits, matters. Dieters who use restrictive phrases such as “I can’t,” make a healthier choice 39% of the time. Those who think “I don’t,” which is more empowering because it represents making a choice, made a healthier choice 64% of the time.
Thinking that reflects a conscious choice, rather than a compulsion, is what you are doing anyway - making a choice. “I do not go home without replying to at least one piece of correspondence,” is more effective than “I have to reply to correspondence before going home.”
Success is often impaired by setting too many mini-habits. You cannot do everything at once, but you can do one thing at a time.
There are three words to effortlessly overcome what otherwise overwhelm you. “Can I just do…?” Doepker give this example: “Let’s say I don’t feel like doing an hour-long workout. I can ask, ‘Can I just do the warmup?’”
Instead of trying to get motivation, try to get momentum. The motivation will follow naturally for any important issue.
Choosing something small and easy, the mini-habit, gives you a way of not having to be perfect, and still making progress toward a strong habit. Once you get going, you often want to keep on going. By reducing the habit, you get started so that you can later add and upgrade, and keep growing.
A effective and very simple method.
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*Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy and is the author of Strategy that Works.
I like the way Derek cuts to the chase, not letting his readers slough off and continue useless behaviors and mindsets, but instead offering a very simple way out o f the rut we have created. /"The Healthy Habit Revolution" takes cutting-edge research from behavioral, cognitive, and human needs psychology and puts it into a simple daily step-by-step blueprint for creating permanent change. Even if you only have five minutes a day, you can do these steps to almost effortlessly improve your habits. He very simply gives us three weeks to make changes in our habits and establish healthy habits that once initiated take minimal time to comply.
Deep in the book he offers a section most people will find most useful: `'5 Absurdly Simple Habits That Will Change Your Life It should come as no surprise that the habits that will have the biggest impact on your life are typically things you probably already know will benefit you. Throughout this book, I've kept my examples of healthy habits fairly limited. I mostly talk about exercising, meditating, reading, eating healthier foods, being productive, and expressing gratitude. The reason? I believe these are some of the most powerful keystone habits. Keystone habits, if you remember, are habits that will tend to lead to positive changes in many areas of life.' Those five habits are Meditation, Reading/Studying/ and Applying Personal Development, Physical Fitness Habits (sleep, nutrition, and exercise), Daily Gratitude, and Morning Productivity. And in discussing each of this thoroughly Derek is so genuinely warm and casual (while being a firm coach) that he makes reading his book a pleasure - for reading and for changing for the better. Grady Harp, December 14