Today I am going through a key strategy you can implement immediately to start taking control of your habits and start to achieve real success in your life. This is a great episode to follow along with a pen in hand and focus on the screen.
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Full Transcription Below:
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome. Yes, we’re doing a bit of hi-tech today and we’ve got the whiteboard and we have a microphone – we’re all ready to rock.
This is Episode 4 of Learn Share Grow with Hayden Wilson and yes, high budget here in my living room but this is what happens.
So thank you for joining me and basically today we’re going to go over (I’m not 100% sure if you can see this, we’re going to zoom in a little bit).
But basically, what we’re going to go over (as I switch the camera around) basically what we’re going to go over today is how to change those habits and this is a really practical guide for those who want to start identifying what they’re actually doing and instead of their brain being on auto commit and just going through the motions of habit.
And what we’ve found is with a habit there’s basically 4 different parts to it. Sorry, to change the habit there is 4 different parts.
Basically what we find is if you can identify the routine, experiment with the rewards, isolate the cue and then create a plan around that we can start to change all the habits that have already naturally been installed into our lives.
So if you recall from the first Episode, you’ve got the cue, the routine and the reward, that habit loop, what we need to do is figure out how we can change those habits from good to bad ones. I’m going to take you through a very easy guide that you can follow, along with examples. So, let’s take a look at the first step where you’re identifying the routine.
This is the first step, the easiest bit because this is the activity that you want to cut out. So that might be not exercising, or it might be the habit that you’re eating poor nutrition, or it might be that you’re doing something that you really don’t want to exhibit, so that’s the first step.
The second step is to experiment with the rewards and the third thing we’re going to do is look at the cue, you know, whether it’s time, is it hunger or boredom. So when we’re looking at experimenting with different rewards, you need to understand that rewards satisfy the craving. That’s exactly why we do things, because we want to satisfy the reasons why we’re feeling like that.
So we need to identify what are the different rewards. Can we go for a walk, can we see friends, is it a social craving? Are we hungry, is we have an apple, a shake and some nuts, something healthy in the Paleo style? There are 2 actions that we can do around this. So when the cue comes, when you start to get that feeling that you want to walk and go and grab a donut, or you want to eat something bad, you need to write down the 3 things you are feeling on a piece of paper and put them on your desk. Every single time you need to do this. This is going to help raise awareness while we’re doing it, and help us find the patterns.
The second thing you want to do, is you need to start some alternative solutions. So when the cue comes and you’re feeling hungry for that piece of crap, go for a walk, come back later on and ask did that satisfy your craving. If it didn’t, you need to understand that the process of going for a walk didn’t satisfy your craving, so you’re not craving exercise and environment. What you might be craving is social interaction. So you can try going and seeing friends or giving someone a call for 10 minutes. Then, when you come back to your office, are you still craving what you originally thought would satisfy that craving. Try this process out.
The third thing you want to do (I’ll bring you over here) basically scientists have discovered that any cue is going to fall or you can identify it through 5 different choices.
So what I need you to do is write down on a piece of paper these headings: Location, Time, Emotional State, Other People Around (yes or no), and Immediately Preceding the Action...what do you do.
If you write these down and every single time that you get this craving you need to be able to write these down and identify where was I when it was happening, what time was it, what was my emotional state - run through these 5 questions with yourself and you will start to identify what the actual problem was and how you can do it.
So basically, by this stage we know what the cue is through our 5 choices questionnaire, we know what the routine is because we knew that all along, and we know what the reward is because we’ve done that trial and error.
The last thing that we need to do, is to have a plan. So this is probably the most essential step because with the plan, you know, scientists as they do, have created a buzz word - the “implementation intention”, so when this comes about, what are you going to do. What are the actions you’re going to take when you start to get that craving.
And this is where you need to be strong.
And the thing about this is I don’t expect you to be perfect. Everyone stuffs up. I pressed the snooze button on my alarm this morning. It’s not you know, people have this unrealistic expectation that certain people have this superpower and they never screw up, but we’re all human and I want you to realise that.
What we’re going to do is rewire the habit, because these habits and these routines that we have developed are automatic you know. At the start, in Episode 1 we talked about it being automatic and actually the reason we have habits is because it’s more efficient for our brain and we don’t have to use our brain power on what we perceive as automatic decisions that should just happen.
The thing is, we’re going to start rewiring that, because right now, we’ve got a bad routine inside of our habit loop. This implementation intention, your plan, is going to help you to be a lot more aware, it’s going to help you decide what you’re actually going to do when the crisis occurs, and the last couple of things I want to mention is that you need to, like I said at the start, you need to be realistic – you’re not superman, everyone falls off the wagon.
There was a time last year when I was addicted to these cakes at the Green Refectory in Brunswick – unbelievable cheese cake, best you’ve ever had, and every single day at 3.30 I would eat a piece of this, you know, their full fat, sugar, delicious cakes, but I identified the cues and I found out that what I was actually doing was I wanted a break from work and I wanted to get out, and you know, just have a break from the office environment I was surrounded by for most of my day. And I decided that instead of going up there and eating the Mars Bar cheesecake or the Tim Tam cheesecake that I would just instead, go for a 15 minute walk and have a big glass of water. And what this found was that I was actually dehydrated and that being outside was what I was actually craving.
So once I identified that, I could mitigate it, and there were times when I fell off the wagon and a couple of times that week or over the next couple of weeks I did go for a piece of cake, but I made healthier choices and built it into my plan.
That’s what you need to do, so start thinking about the ways you are using routines in your life, and build plans and actions around how you are going to actually change the things that you want to change and start living the person you want to be and creating the actions that are congruent with the person you want to be.
If you have any questions, jump over to haydenwilson.com.au or you can see previous Episodes at haydenwilson.com.au/lsg.
Learn Share Grow.
If you’ve got any questions, chuck them over there in the comments section or I’ll chat to you all later.
Thanks for joining me. I’m enjoying the journey so far.
Tomorrow I’m going to go through with you, the most important resource you can pick up to learn more about habits, I’m going to share a few different links with you, you can watch a couple of TED talks on influences to follow on Twitter or Instagram, and I also want to provide a couple of worksheets that will help you with a lot of the stuff that we’ve talked about this week around habits, and it’s going to make these things a lot more concrete so, within your life, you can understand why you’re doing specific things and really identify the process and the underlying psychology behind why you’re doing it.
So thanks for joining me.
Any questions, again just ask me.
See you later.
(Best ending ever.)