One of my friend while talking he said that he missed paying his bill and ended up paying penalty for it.
I asked if he was using a reminder app on his phone. He said oh ya I have the reminder app but I just forgot to open and see all the tasks in it.
It got me thinking.
Everything in life revolves around some kind of discipline. Most of the time we are challenged with adapting to change.
Every time we want something good to happen there is a need for change.
- Change in behavior
- Change in habits
- Change in schedule
- Change in mindset and on and on
And it is easy to say but often it is hard to make that change for better.
Today many of us are stuck wherever we are because we are unable to embrace change.
If you look at successful people, one thing that is common with them has they figured out a good pattern and adopted good habits in their life.
When I got started in the business, I quickly realized that I need to make a ton of changes to my lifestyle. I needed to kill some bad habits and replace that with more productive ones.
I knew without those changes, it is super hard to sustain and grow the business.
In today’s post, I am going to talk about some of the ways to change a habit to make us more successful in business and life.
I need change a habit but don’t know where to start.
Many of us have some habit that we want to change but have no idea where to start or how to do it.
Changing Habits or Creating a new one
It is easy to create a habit or change an old one if we really want to. It just requires some intentional repetitive effort to form a new habit.
If you think about it, a habit is a task that we are much experienced. Like brushing the teeth, we do it unconsciously because we have done it many times and it is not hard anymore.
So, the rule of thumb is if we want to create a new habit just do it multiple times until it becomes a habit.
One easy way is replacing an existing habit.
Let’s say you want to start reading more. Pick a timeslot for reading, make sure it the slot that is available every day for you.
Not something which is hard to get, but the time you usually don’t do anything useful.
Maybe it is the time you watch tv in the night to kill time. Use this time to create this new reading habit.
First thing is to figure out what you watch during that time. If it is cable tv discontinue the subscription for a month (I recommend ever, anyhow watching tv is not going to get you anything good).
Then you create a void. To fill this void you buy or rent a book. Importantly a very interesting book.
That you were dying to read.
Fiction, nonfiction or magazine, whatever it is the goal is to create a habit of reading.
Time box it for certain period every day, like 30 mins at 8 pm.
Not like read the whole book on the first day. Even if the book is interesting, resist the temptation and close the book once the time is up.
Do this for 30 days and you would notice that you automatically pick a book and start reading at that time unconsciously.
Things to note in this exercise are, you broke a habit by making the task impossible to perform (no more TV subscription).
You created a void and filled it with an easy and interesting task to form a new habit (reading book).
Apply this principle in any of the case where you want to build a new habit. In business, there is a constant need to adapt to new habit more often. Like reading, writing, networking and so on. So practicing these skills is critical. You cannot expect change without changing something.
Another vital change is breaking patterns, especially the ones that are not efficient.
A pattern is a sequence of steps that is performed to take some action. For example, your morning routine. If you sit and try to recollect the steps it would probably be the same that you are following for a long period of time.
Exact same steps, same path and same habits you do every day.
Everything we do has such patterns. Eating, sleeping, leaving to work, weekend and so on.
So if you want to change something you need to break this pattern. Let’s say you want to add exercise to your morning routine.
It is hard until you intentionally change something that is been followed for years. Because most of the things that we do are embedded deep inside our mind and we do it unconsciously.
To break this pattern you introduce an obstacle to break the pattern. Like you leave the running shoes right where you land from the bed.
Or have the pull-up bar hanging in your bedroom door right in front of you.
These new obstacles not only reminds you of the task but it is an obstacle that you need to clear to find your way out.
This new intervention will break the pattern and help you form a new one.
Create such obstacles or reminders that alter your patterns. It will help you transition to the new pattern.
In business, it often demands to introduce new tasks in your existing patterns.
For example, you may need to include SEO into your writing effort. It is a change to your writing pattern and it would be hard to change if you were used to the pattern for a while. So introduce a new tool or plugin which can remind you or obstructs you from publishing without SEO keywords.
Expanding the memory capability
Remembering things is one of the important element to be a successful person. More the information we have the more we can relate and provide the better solution.
This memory is also powerful to perform tasks.
Many things we do in life are involuntary. Once you gain the skill you will remember forever.
Like learning how to drive.
The first time you do it intentionally and you need to remember to stop your car at a red light. But with more practice, you would stop the car at the red light even while you are not focused.’
Memory is all about making the brain connections. The stronger they are the more the memory power we have.
How to build a stronger connection?
The method I use is story telling. I try to remember everything as a story, a collection of events in a sequence.
So if someone asks a question related to the subject, I remember the whole story.
Studies say that the brain responds well to stories rather than just a topic.
And the second part is repetition.
The more something is repeated the easier that topic registers in our brain.
So anything we want to change, repeat it many times.
If you look at ad’s, that’s how it works. They try to make you remember their brand and slogan by repeating it often.
They follow you around in every media and pass the same message. By using the story format to convey their message over and over again.
In business do the same thing, if you want to learn something keep repeating it multiple times until it becomes subconscious for you.
The more connections we make the more information we have and the decisions become smarter.
And that’s the definition of smartness. It would depend on how fast can you relate to things and how quickly can you resolve any questions.
For example, if you know how football works and if you had repeatedly gone through the rules.
You can take a decision about a fault in a fraction of a second, and for someone new to the game it would sound really amazing how smart the decision was.
Smartness is about remembering things and relating the information to take decisions.
Learning new things by changing perspective
You know there is no right or wrong thing in this world (at least the common day to day stuff). It is all about perspective.
One thing that is right for one person is not correct for the other. That doesn’t mean the first person is right or wrong. It’s context and perspective that changes the meaning.
The more we expose ourselves to new things the better we understand other people perspective.
When we start putting us in others perspective we start changing our opinion about the right or wrong things.
It is important to embrace this character in business because we could deal with all kinds of people who could have a totally different background.
The only way we can understand their situation is by putting yourself in their shoes. If we don’t understand still don’t make an assumption.
Remember it is the perspective.
Commit to learning new things, from books and following experts from different fields. Get exposed to a variety of environment where you can meet different kinds of people.
All these changes build positive character in us. They are not only useful for our business development but also helps improve our personality and lead a better life.
If you have any ideas to be more productive or change a habit let me know in the comments.