Habits are an important component of reaching our goals. How strategic are you with your habits? Many of us default to more tactical approaches to creating habits, but perhaps taking more time to focus on the strategic perspective of habits can help set us up for truly effective behavior change that will help us perform our best work. Habit Frameworks are a way to start.
Episode 28 Show Notes
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- Hooked by Nir Eyal
- Indistractable by Nir Eyal
- Habit Stacking by S.J. Scott
- Hooked on Your Phone – 60 minutes – multiple episodes on this topic, but I choose to share the one I viewed
Episode 28 Transcript
This is Rebecca Clark. Episode 28 Habit Frameworks This’ll Podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your dust? There’s a wonderful quote that I wanted to start with from James Clear and he wrote atomic habits. And it is. Habits are the compound interest of self improvement. And I wanted to start with that quote because James Clear is a master at teaching about habits, and I’m going to be using his framework as a basis for this episode. And it’s really interesting because I bought James Book last year and did not read it, and I bought it because I had followed his blawg a few years ago as he talked about habits, and I recorded this episode in December anticipating the New Year. And then I read his book and realized I could not use that episode because I knew more. After reading his book, I had more insights into how I had successfully created habits in the past and realized I had used his framework for the most part without realizing it but he shares it beautifully, and I want to make sure that you know about this book, Atomic Habits by James Clear and have that as a reference. I felt so strongly about this that even though I have pneumonia, I still wanted to re record this episode with a slightly different twist. And so I apologize for my voice. It is what it is. But to start off, as James Clear said, You know, habits are the compound interest of self improvement, and most of us are looking to improve ourselves. And we noted the way to do that is to have goals and habits attached to those goals that help us move forward. And as we make different changes in our life, that necessitates the changing up of our habits. And I know when I went to the office four days a week, I had a certain habits structure for those four days, and I learned very quickly that for the weekends and the days I worked at home, I needed to have a different habits structure because otherwise I was completely off. I didn’t get the same things accomplished because I had a different order of things that needed to be done. The commute was normally my learning time, and suddenly, when there’s no commute, what do you d’oh! And I noticed I was doing other things, but I wasn’t doing my normal learning. And I had a question. Is that OK? Is that something I just want to keep with the commute? Or do I need to build in a different way of accomplishing that habit if I’m not in the office? So I wanted to introduce to you a general approach for having a habit framework toward becoming the person that you want to become and then share an example of someone who I think is an amazing an example of creating the right habit framework in their life to accomplish their life mission. So to start off with what I thought was very interesting is that many of us approach habits were very tactical approach. But really, it starts before the tactical approach right, And that’s what I love about how James Clear introduces habits when we talk about wanting to change behaviors, they’re different layers. We need to change so one layers to change our outcomes, and this is the layer concerned with changing your results, like if you want to publish a book, get a new job, lose weight, any of those things. Most of us have goals associated with this level of change. Then there’s this other layer where you change your process because this is concerned with changing your habits and the systems. That and the routines, you know that help you accomplished those outcomes. And then there’s a very deep layer that’s the most important. That sometimes is the hardest to focus on, and that is changing our identity. And this is concerned with changing our beliefs, our worldview, our self image, our judgments and any assumptions and biases that we have. And so, yes, we’re all seeking these outcomes, and the process is are how we get to those outcomes. But really underlying at all is being concerned about our identity, about what we believe, who we believe we are. And often we start, you know, trying to change the process that will help get us to the outcomes. But more powerful is to build identity based habits, and with this approach we start by focusing on who we wish to become, and so I’d offer that as the highest level of your habit framework of taking that time to figure out who do I want to become because that influences us as we implement these habit processes to change our lives. And that impacts the self talk we say to ourselves. If we want to become a certain person than as we act, we would say I am a person that would do this So it becomes something that when we start talking to ourselves as we go through life, it’s the difference between saying I’m the type of person who wants this and saying I’m the type of person who is this? And the more we can identify with this person who is this way that we want to become restart, acting in different ways. We create habits that that kind of person would have, and we start responding to different situations in the way that a person who is that way would respond. Does that make sense? So it’s saying, You know, if you were a smoker and you want to quit, you would say I am a smoker trying to quit or you would say I am not a smoker. That’s a different way of thinking of thinking like you’ve almost already arrived. And so James clears Point is spending time figuring out what your identity is, Who this person is you want to become, can help with true behavior. Change as you go about creating habits that help you become this person. And the biggest barrier to any of these changes is our identity conflict. And I know is I go through changing my career path. There is an identity conflict. I am no longer the title I waas. I no longer have the salary I had. I no longer have the influence with certain people and certain organizations that I used to have. So what’s my new identity? Who do I want to become? And how do I create habits to get there? So there are a lot of very detailed layers that James goes into in his book and encourage you to read it. But once we’ve taken the time to really sit down and go, what do I want to become, Who do I want to be and create that identity for ourselves? We can then figure out what areas in our life we would need to change to get there and create habits. Tick. Help us get there because it’s the daily habits of what we do. That is what makes us who we are, right. We are the sum total of our daily habits, and that sounds difficult in some aspects. And it’s a beautiful thing in other aspects because tiny steps daily can help us get there now. I believe it was almost 10 years ago now where I went to a conference out in San Jose. In fact, one of my former co workers, Heather Porterfield, was with me, and we sat in a keynote address from P. J. Fogg, who was the director of the Persuasive Technology Lab. I believe at Stanford University at the time, and he was a big proponent of tiny habits. And that is where you kind of have an anchor habit, like brushing your teeth, and you attach a new habit to it, because that was the greatest chance of success if you already had a habit to touch a little habit to it. That was really simple and fast. So in this case, good at brushing your teeth, attached the flossing habits to it so that you remember okay, Now when I brush my teeth, I have this new habit. I’m attaching to it and that you had a higher chance of success. Well, it’s interesting, and I didn’t know this until I read James Clears book is that P. J. Fogg has now gotten into the habits Stack arena and habits. Stacks is something that I read about a few years ago, and I loved it because it’s taking a small set of habits five or six of them and lumping them together in a little stick. And it should just take a few minutes to accomplish. But you might have one in the morning afternoon evening, you might have one. When you turn on your computer, you might have one for going to bed at night. So, for example, some people have a morning habits stack where they get up early. They read something inspirational. They have a moment of prayer or meditation. They will do some kind of self care ritual than top it all off by reviewing their to do list. Something like that, I used to have a habit stack for when I turn on the computer because it took five or six minutes to get through all the network security settings and everything. And so I would write a thank you note, read a kn inspirational thought and also go over my to do list for the day and surprising how much you could get done in a very short time span, and especially as you framed it out as a specific habits stack. And what I really like is that if you’ve decided at the top level of your habit framework that you want to become a certain type of person, you think through all the things that would be involved in becoming that type of person, you can create habits for each of those areas that you want to work on, and all you have to do is execute daily. Now the point is to not to make this really complex, and I know I have done that in the past. In my own life, I’ve made so many habits, stacks and goals for myself that it’s overwhelming. And so even if you take the time to map out everything, you feel like you need to work on to become something, maybe just pull one or two things from that to turn into a specific habits stack so that you know that you’re going to get really good in one particular area over a period of time. And then maybe you can move on to another area and make that less of a focus, because that’s something that is important to remember is that overwhelm is not going to get you there. And James really has four laws for making these habits, and he has them for creating a good habit and for breaking a habit in the breaking. A habit is kind of the inversion of the laws where you would create a good habit. So the first laws make it obvious The second law make it attractive. The Third Law. Make it easy. The Fourth Law make it satisfying and I’m not going to go into all of those here. But the point is is to make the habit small enough so that you can easily take the step each day, but large enough that you are pushing yourself a little and taking this time to create Thies Small habits. Tax for ourselves daily can ultimately help us make 1% changes and 1% changes accumulated over a year or two years or three become substantial changes in our lives now. Recently I saw a wonderful movie, and maybe many of you did as well called a beautiful day in the neighborhood about Mr Rogers. And it was based upon Tom Gin nodes. Esquire Profile of Fred Rogers Can you say hero? And I really loved how the movie showed the Mister Rogers we knew, but also that he was really this way as a person as well, not just on a show. Now, in the context of talking about habit frameworks, it’s very clear that Mr Rogers had certain habits. Tax write. He comes through that door on the show, walks down steps, opens a closet. What does he do next? These takes off his jacket, grabs a sweater, closes the door, sits down and starts to change his shoes. That’s a habit stack. He followed it religiously every single episode, and at the end of the episode, you could expect him to do the reverse habits. Stack rights. You could always come to expect this from him on the show, so that was a very effective habits stack. And he was someone who felt like once he found something that worked. He didn’t change it, but he was always working on changing different habits in his life. But we need look at Fred Rogers from the more strategic habit. Framework. Perspective. It’s really very interesting because I looked this up on his Fred Rogers Centre website, where it says mission beliefs and core values. And the mission is staying true to the vision of Fred Rogers. We help Children grow, is confident, competent and carrying human beings. And the core values are respect because they recognize the dignity and potential of all Children and the powerful impact adults have in their lives. Another core value is deep and simple. Whether you are a child or an adult, substance and authenticity still have a place in this world. We developed meaningful programs that emphasized the importance of connecting with Children and families and empathy. We know that understanding and compassion are fundamental to the Children’s healthy social and emotional development. That was Fred Rogers mission beliefs and core values. Now I want to read an excerpt from Can you say hero to demonstrate that we might look at the little habit stacks that Fred Rogers had on his show, Mr Rogers, But underlying it all, he had a habit framework that was based upon what James Clear wrote about where it came from, an identity, that he decided who he wanted to be and look at the habits he had before the show started every day, and it started filming every day at 9:30 a.m. And I quote, Mr Rogers is a stubborn man, and so on the day I ask about the color of his sky, and as a side note, he was color blind. That’s why the writer made this comment. He has already gotten up at 5 30 already prayed for those who have asked for his prayers. Already read. Already written, already swam already weighed himself. Already sent out cards for the birthdays he never forgets. Already called any number of people who depend on him for comfort. Already cried when he read the letter of a mother whose child was buried with a picture of Mr Rogers in his casket. Already played for 20 minutes with an autistic boy who has come with his father all the way from Boise, Idaho, to meet him. The boy had never spoken until one day, he said x the owl, which is the name of one of Mr Rogers puppets. And he has never looked his father in the eye until one day his father had said, Let’s go to the neighborhood of make believe. And now the boys speaking and reading on the Father has come to thank Mr Rogers for saving his son’s life. And by this time, well, it’s 9 30 in the morning, Time for Mister Rogers to take off his jacket and his shoes and put on his sweater and his sneakers and start taping another visit to the neighborhood where I read that passage. And I also read about creating our identity that we want to become first and then creating the processes inhabits that help us get to the outcomes we want to achieve. I thought Mister Rogers was an amazing example of this. All of those habits he had each morning completely aligned with the overall vision he had of being on authentic person who had respect for everyone, empathy and substance that connected Children and families and adults and everyone. And you could feel that in the movie, when the writer Tom meets with Mr Rogers to write the article, he starts to feel and understand what this person is really about. And Mr Rogers became the person he had decided he wanted to become, and he had very defined habits to help him get there. This is something that all of us must do if we want to move our desk. If we want to improve ourselves and our work in any way, and that’s the beauty of it, we don’t have to have a lot of money. We don’t have to have a lot of prestige. We don’t even have to know the right people. We can just be willing to sit down with ourselves and figure out who do I want to become. And when I decide who I want to become, can I start talking to myself in such a way that I understand that I am someone that does this? I am someone that does not do this. I am someone who chooses this and speak in that way to ourselves as if we’re already that person, even though we’re not and then building the associate ID small, simple daily habits that can help us get there and maybe just starting with one if it’s too overwhelming and then gaining confidence from one habit and adding two or three little habits to it to make it a habit stack NSB accomplished that habit. Stack start to add more habits tax to get us to that goal. And pretty soon we are that person like Mister Rogers, that everything about his day demonstrated that he had become the person that he said he wanted to be. And it was all in very tiny small interactions. It’s a beautiful thing. There are many books about habits. I’ve been fascinated about habits the last few years. I’ve read many of them, and I do want to add a note to this because I think it’s very important in a in a hyper connected world. While we know habits are important, we need to understand that those that create our products and service is in the world, and our politics are all very aware of the power of habits. And they’re using all of these insights about habits to create marketing, to create addictive mobile APS to create experiences that make us want to repeat and have a habit related to a product or service. And there’s a lot of flack that comes out there from even the BJ fog that I’ve mentioned, because these air all in Silicon Valley, many organizations taking this behavior science very seriously and studying habit formation toward influencing all of your decisions that you make on a daily basis. And so this is one of the reasons I feel habit frameworks are extremely important. It’s happening all around you, and it’s happening to you. Other people around you are influencing you, and they are very much engaged in creating habit frameworks. They’re reading habits, stacks. They’re creating things to get you to come back to them or to have certain behaviors. And if that is happening to you, it’s really important to make sure you are taking the time to manage yourself and creating your own habit frameworks for yourself and for your life, so that you are managed by that and not by all the incoming. I’m gonna put some links in the show notes to some of the other very interesting books about this that talk about all of this habit and behavioral science that’s going on right now because it’s huge and all around us and influencing us in more ways than we know. I encourage you to take charge of yourself. And this is a perfect time of year to revisit old goals, old habits, resolutions. I know some people are disregarding those this year that seemed to be a trend. I sirens a ditch the New Year’s resolution, but seriously take that time to sit down and create your own habit. Framework. Spend time on deciding your identity from building the associated habits that will help you get there, and you’ll be way more informed when this bombardment of others trying to get you to engage in their habit practices come at you so that you can manage yourself and become the creator of your best work. I hope we can talk more about habit frameworks. I am going through this process myself right now, revisiting my whole habit framework that I’ve set up re visiting my identity. Revisiting those habits tax toward creating a different future, and we’ll see where this journey takes us. Good luck. Thank you again for listening to move your desk show, take a minute and go to move your desk dot com and sign up for the weekly email. And remember, it’s not spam, but it may show up in that part of your inbox. I talk to you next Monday.