Today’s focus: How many times have you promised to eat more healthily, to exercise more, to be more disciplined in doing those aspects of your work that are just not that enticing? And how many times have we fallen short? Well, here’s some food for thought.
Last week, Harvard Business Review published in one of their daily Management Tip of the Day articles the need to use personal rituals to make changes stick. Naturally, I couldn’t but take note since much of my work is about making behavioural change stick. So, what they say is that we should create rituals – highly specific behaviours that you do at the same time every day, preferably. As they say, willpower is a limited resource, so don’t rely on it – rather try to make things happen automatically and repetitively. That way, we don’t have to spend so much energy thinking about when to get it done.
In my experience, there is another aspect that might be helpful about this approach. Most often, it’s far better to spend little bits of time (say, fifteen to twenty minutes – you probably won’t be able to set aside longer periods in the beginning and will lose your way – again!) on these changes but very frequently, preferably daily, rather than in big batches of, say, a couple of hours weekly.
The reason for this appears to be that, neuroscientifically, the frequent repetition actually brings about physical changes in our brains each time we replace our old habit with the new behaviour – accordingly, each time we do it we are embedding the new behaviour. So, more frequent is better!
Pick something you want to change – and try doing it for a short period each day. Let me know how it goes.
Food for thought:
“We become what we repeatedly do.” (Sean Covey)
I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts.
Best wishes for the rest of April.