I was recently listening to an episode of the Chasing Excellence Podcast with Ben Bergeron called “Recipe for Better Habits” and it sparked a need to write about habit building.
The way Ben Bergeron looks at habits is as if you are always on a path to your end destination. Your destination being your goals/core values and the path being the steps to get there. He states that EVERY action you take gets you closer or further from your goal. This is where identifying and acknowledging habits as productive or unproductive relative to your goal is important. Good habits take you a step closer to your goal, and bad habits lead you off the path. Going off the path now and then isn’t a bad thing, as long as the majority of our actions take us further down the path.
When you're completing a task or doing something that seams routine ask yourself “Why am I doing this?” and “What goal/need am I fulfilling?” It’s a piece of reflection that we should all do in our day to day lives.
According to James Clear (an entrepreneur who focuses on habits & human potential) there is a 3 Step Process to every habit.
- Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior)
- Routine (the behavior itself; the action you take)
- Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior)
An example of this would be
- It’s hot and I just worked out
- Thus I deserve an ice cream
- Dopamine release and satisfaction from ice cream
While this seems justifiable this is not a good habit if your goal is to limit sugar in your diet or lose 10 pounds. That being said, doing this every once in a while is okay, as long as it doesn’t become a habit.
So how do you build a habit?
First, you need to choose a reminder. For example, if a goal of yours is to work on your mobility maybe the first thing you do before you eat in the morning is stretch. Then you’re building the habit of waking up and stretching with the reward of breakfast. During the day at work you want a break, and instead of going to the lunch room and grabbing snacks that are out, you stretch. You can build actions like these into your daily routine and it is easy to consistently take small steps that will help you reach your goals.
Watch the full podcast with Ben Bergeron here.