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The Habits Scorecard: Use This Simple Exercise to Discover Which Habits You Should Change

Pointing and calling our habits

Pointing-and-calling is so effective because it raises the level of awareness from a nonconscious habit to a more conscious level. 

The more automatic a behavior becomes, the less likely we are to consciously think about it, so one of our greatest challenges in changing habits is maintaining awareness of what we are actually doing. 

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The Habits Scorecard: Use This Simple Exercise to Discover Which Habits You Should Change

The Habits Scorecard: Use This Simple Exercise to Discover Which Habits You Should Change

https://jamesclear.com/habits-scorecard

jamesclear.com

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Key Ideas

Pointing and calling our habits

Pointing-and-calling is so effective because it raises the level of awareness from a nonconscious habit to a more conscious level. 

The more automatic a behavior becomes, the less likely we are to consciously think about it, so one of our greatest challenges in changing habits is maintaining awareness of what we are actually doing. 

The Habits Scorecard

... for discovering which habits to change:

  • Make a list of your daily habits.
  • Decide which is a good habit, a bad habit, or a neutral habit, by how they will benefit you in the long run.
  • There is no need to change anything at first, simply acknowledge what is actually going on.

Change and awareness

Changing a behavior always starts with awareness. 

Focus on recognizing your habits and acknowledge the cues that trigger them, which makes it easier to discover which habits you should change and respond in a way that benefits you

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Habit tracking

Is a simple and effective thing to do if you want to stick with a habit for good. No matter the format (calendar, journal, app), it provides immediate evidence whether you are making progress or...

The power of habit tracking:
  1. It creates a visual cue that can remind you to act.
  2. It is motivating to see the progress you are making. You don't want to break your streak.
  3. It feels satisfying to record your success in the moment.
To make habit tracking easier:
  1. Manual tracking should be limited to your most important habits
  2. Record each measurement immediately after the habit occurs

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The Habit Loop
The Habit Loop

The cue triggers a craving, which motivates a response, which provides a reward, which satisfies the craving and, ultimately, becomes associated with the cue.

Together, these fo...

5 primary ways that a new habit can be triggered
  • Cue 1: Time - Most common way to trigger a new habit
  • Cue 2: Location - Most powerful driver of mindless habits and also the least recognized
  • Cue 3: Preceding Event - Many habits are a response to something else that happens in your life
  • Cue 4: Emotional State - emotional state is a common cue for bad habits
  • Cue 5: Other People - people you surround yourself with can play a role in your habits and behaviors.
Priming the Environment
Whenever you organize a space for its intended purpose, you are priming it to make the next action easy. This is one of the most practical and simple ways to improve your habits.
Ideas to prime your environment
  • To draw more: Put your pencils, pens, notebooks, and drawing tools on top of your desk, within easy reach.
  • To exercise more: Set out your workout clothes, shoes, gym bag, and water bottle ahead of time.
  • To improve your diet: Chop up a ton of fruits and vegetables on weekends and pack them in containers, so you have easy access to healthy, ready-to-eat options during the week.
Make bad behaviors difficult

If you watch too much television, unplug it after each use. Only plug it back in if you can say out loud the name of the show you want to watch. (Which prevents you from turning on Netflix and “just finding something” to watch.) This setup creates just enough friction to prevent mindless viewing.

Focus On Keystone Habits

Keystone habits lead to the development of multiple good habits. 

Exercise is a good example of this. Once you start to change your exercise habits, it sets off a chain reaction t...

Use “Minimum Viable Effort”

Focus on baby steps. The key to new good habits is to do the minimum and be consistent.

Do not be ambitious at the beginning. That leads to failure. Consistency is what you’re shooting for, so make the hurdle as low as possible.

Make A Plan

Thinking about the details makes you more likely to follow through. 

Just writing down your plan also makes a big difference in effectively committing to your goals.

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Tiny Habits
  • While trying to form a habit, starting in small increments and utilizing self-motivating feelings of positivity and celebration are strong catalysts and help reinforce the changes.
  • To ...
The Power of Celebration
  • Tiny habits are easy to do, and the thing that keeps us going is the celebration of small accomplishments, as feeling good is a vital part of the Tiny habits method.
  • We routinely self-criticize at the tiniest of mistakes but do not celebrate our small accomplishments by saying to ourselves that we did a good job.
  • A celebration is like a habit cementer, and feeling good at any moment is a superpower, which can be used to reinforce your habits and transform your life.
Be Nice To Yourself

Our emotions create our habits, and celebration is the best way to create a positive feeling that waters your new habits. It pays to be nice to ourselves.

Celebrating the tiniest detail of your busy lives, when you remember to hang your keys where they should be or when you tidy up your room, can shift your perspective, and makes your life better in a couple of minutes.

How To Choose Good Habits
  • Envision your ideal end result. What are you going to achieve?
  • Write it down. It will serve as a powerful motivation, especially if you include why you want it.
Good Habits For Health and Fitness
  • Regular Aerobic Exercise: Great for both your physical and mental health. Increases the production of dopamine and boosts creativity.
  • Preparing Your Own Meals. It’ll take some getting used to, but it’s a habit that’ll boost your health, wealth and productivity. 
Good Habits For Finance and Wealth
  • Create a Household Budget: the best habit to help you save money. A household budget helps to encourage frugality and discourage impulse spending. You’ll feel more motivated to engage in other good financial habits once you’ve got this in place.
  • Financial Audits. This involves frequent checks as to whether you’re spending your money as wisely as possible.

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Habits Are Not Blind Routines

Conventional wisdom states that strong habits improve our productivity. Daily habits done in an autopilot mode are not the only route to peak performance.

While our habits help us stick to g...

Revisit What You Do Daily
  • Some of our daily to-dos should not require a constant daily effort and could be optimized further. Look for such habits and if the daily effort is straining you, look for other innovative solutions.

  • Time and Energy are limited resources, and as we grow, our habits may become obsolete. We could use the same time and energy to explore new and better options.

  • It is a good idea to pay attention to where we spend our time and see if there is something we do daily but have outgrown long ago.

Consistency and Boredom

Being consistent can also lead to burnout and lack of growth, and to be creative and innovative, we sometimes need a break from our daily activity. When we stop and do something new, we start to be part of a creative process, instead of simply repeating the same thing every day.

The key is to not rely on a rigid consistency but to be resilient enough to withstand any breaks. Our resilient habits are usually the old ones and have some psychological rewards while involving some external accountability. 

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Willpower is like a muscle

Just like going to the gym and building up strength, the more you train your willpower by accomplishing tasks on a consistent basis

Self-Discipline - a series of healthy habits

Long term change is better served by building better habits, than by forcing your willpower. 

You will choose the apple over the cake for a number of times ... and then give up. Building a habit to start the day by going to the gym will work better.

Habits = “automatic” responses...

 ...to familiar environmental cues. 

They form when you engage in a behavior repeatedly in the presence of consistent stimuli.

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How to Develop Habits
  • Focus on just one habit, for 30 days.
  • Put it on paper, together with your motivations, obstacles, and strategies for overcoming them.
  • Commit fully, pr...
attributed to Aristotle
attributed to Aristotle
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Confucius
Confucius
“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.”

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Identity-based habits

The beliefs you have about yourself can drive your long-term behavior.

You could trick yourself into going to the gym or eating healthy once or twice, but if you don't shift your under...

3 layers of behavior change
  • A change in your outcomes
  • A change in your processes
  • A change in your identity.

Most people start by focusing on outcome-based goals like “I want to lose 20 pounds”. But these are surface-level changes.

The root of behavior change

... and building better habits is your identity.

Each action you perform is driven by the belief that it is possible. So if you change your identity (the type of person that you believe that you are), then it’s easier to change your actions.

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