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Stop Confusing Habits for Routines: What You Need To Know

What drives motivation

Motivation is not driven by pleasure and pain, but rather by the desire to escape discomfort.

Our brains get our bodies to do what they want through discomfort. And the same rule applies to psychological discomfort. 

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Stop Confusing Habits for Routines: What You Need To Know

Stop Confusing Habits for Routines: What You Need To Know

https://www.nirandfar.com/habits/

nirandfar.com

5

Key Ideas

Habits and behavior change

Building habits to change behavior the right way can be a wonderful tool to improve your life. But false notions about what habits are and what they can do can backfire.

Habits are a type of learning

They generate an impulse to do a behavior with little or no conscious thought.

By forming a habit, the brain frees the mind to do other things without deliberation. So behaviors that require concentration, deliberation, or extended effort, are not habits.

What drives motivation

Motivation is not driven by pleasure and pain, but rather by the desire to escape discomfort.

Our brains get our bodies to do what they want through discomfort. And the same rule applies to psychological discomfort. 

Habits, routines and effort

  • A habit is an impulse to do a behavior with little or no conscious thought. Not doing a habit feels uncomfortable, like not washing your hands after using the toilet or not flossing your teeth before bed.
  • A routine is a behavior frequently repeated. Unlike a habit, skipping a routine doesn’t feel bad and without proper forethought, can be easily skipped or forgotten.

Forming habits

  • Start with a routine and stick to it.
  • Make time in your schedule for your routine. Without this, chances are it’ll never get done.
  • Learn to manage discomfort. New routines won’t be effortless, so you can learn coping techniques to deal with discomfort in a healthier manner.
  • Find ways to pre-commit. You can find someone to hold you accountable, for example.
  • Remember not to try and turn hard-to-do behaviors into habits. Doing so risks frustration and failure. 

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The Confusion Of Habit and Routine
The Confusion Of Habit and Routine

Habits are programmed human behaviors with little or zero conscious thought. Habits free our minds to other things, but our behavior isn’t always on autopilot. There are many tasks that require con...

Understanding Motivation

Neurologically speaking, motivation is the desire to escape psychological discomfort or a life situation that is not giving us any kind of ‘pleasure’.

Most behaviors are prompted by discomfort. If we are hungry, we eat. If we are lonely, we call up a friend. If we are bored, we turn on the TV.

The Test

If we are procrastinating instead of doing a certain task, telling ourselves that we would it later, it is a sure sign that the task isn’t a habit which can be done on autopilot but is, in fact, a routine.

Anything that requires effort is easy to forget or postpone.

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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

“Few things are sadder than encountering a person who knows exactly what he should do, yet cannot muster enough en..."

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Intense focus

It happens only when:

  • You define your goals clearly 
  • You have the capacity to complete the tasks necessary to achieve them.
You can't blame technology

While endless scrolling on your phone is a symptom of the problem, it is not the root cause of why you find it hard to focus.

To learn how to focus, you must adopt new skills as well as understand the most common causes of distraction.

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Tsundoku
Tsundoku

Many of us have a desire to read. We buy books, but then the demands of work and family catch up with us, and we never get round to reading the books. The Japanese calls it tsundoku

Finding the time for books

To give books the attention and time it deserves in your life, you need to make it a higher priority. It means you have to change your habits and routines to allow more reading.

Sometimes, your reading needs only a little encouragement to displace something that should be lower down on your list. For example, to forgo watching television and reading a book instead.

The reading habit: Succeeding long-term
  • First consider why you want to read more books. Reading should be enjoyable for you because you find them entertaining, calming, stimulating, and fascinating. Once the habit is set, you can also read other things you "should" read.
  • Change your surroundings to make it easier for you to grab a book. Reading apps can be prominent on your phone. Physical books should be in places that you most often frequent.
  • Create modest reading goals. Permit yourself to start with reading one page a day. Once the habit is established, you can increase it.
  • Once you have laid the foundation for your new reading habit, create an action association, such as reading on the train to work or with your mid-morning coffee or dinner.

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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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The 'tiny habits' method

You can hack your motivation and make changes that last by using the Tiny Habits method.

It works by breaking down big changes into tiny actions, find where they fit naturally into your li...

Repetition and habits

Habits can form very quickly. For instance, give someone a new phone, and their emotional response to using the device will wire in a habit very quickly. There is no need for repetition.

New habits then form as long as people have a strong positive emotion connected to the new behavior.

Designing for habit formation

Emotions create habits, not repetition. If you are designing a new habit, you are really designing for emotions.

Intentionally create feelings of success to wire in the habits that you actually want in your life.

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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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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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Deliberate practice
Deliberate practice
It is a focused attempt to improve at a task that “also involves the provision of immediate feedback, time for problem‐solving and evaluation, and opportunities for repeated performance...
Seek practice over immediate gratification

"If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again” is a popular saying but, to count as truly helpful advice, it should say: "If at first you don’t succeed, practice, practice, practice, and then try, try, again”

Building habits is a long-term game, there's no immediate fix.

Practice produces greatness

Some of the greatest artists, innovators, and athletes of all time became great because of their commitment to practice, not their commitment to seeing immediate results.

Kobe Bryant, for example, was well-known for starting his practice routine as early as 4 AM and refusing to stop until he made 400 shots, no matter how long it took. He explained his reasoning by saying that “if I do this consistently over time then the gap is going to widen [between me and my competition]”.

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Keystone Habits

They tend to have ripple effects which change your behavior in unexpected ways.

The power of a keystone habit draws from its ability to set off a chain reaction that causes other...

Examples of Keystone Habits

Exercising regularly is for many people a keystone habit because when they do it, they also make healthier eating and life choices and procrastinate less.

Other keystone habits include: meditation, reading, writing and socialising. They provide a nice foundation for a healthy life in all domains

Identify Your Keystone Habits

Look for behaviors that have a ripple effect, and change your other behaviors without extra effort. 

Also, pay attention to how you see yourself when you do a particular habit: Does it change your self-image? Do you feel better when you think of yourself as a person?

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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.