As I was asked by one my teachers to listen to a podcast by NPR entitled Creatures Of Habit: How Habits Shape Who We Are — And Who We Become, (click on the name of the podcast to listen to it) I got hit by a fact: I never discussed the power of habits with you. We live in a day and age in which habits are said to be efficient from morning to night as the numerous books discussing the topic published in the last few years tend to prove it. We also all watched at least one video about the habits of CEOs or “successful people”. Well, today I am not really going to dive into those topics as we all know by now that waking-up early, working out and reading books lead to success, right? Thus, I will share with you neither what habits you could implement into your life nor in what ways you can implement them. No, I will explain how much easier than you think that whole “habit thing” is. The more we discuss a topic, the most overwhelming it feels, but let me show you why you can do it as well.
The role of friction in the implementation of habits
Implementing habits, as you might know by now, is all about reducing friction. For instance, let’s say you want to go for a run in the morning. You will probably agree with me on the fact that you will be more likely to do it after a good night of sleep and if your sneakers are already right next to your bed. You will be more likely to do it because you reduced friction, that is to say the little tiny things that, accumulated, would have made you think twice before going for your run (“Where are my shoes?” “Well, I am too tired” &c.)
The creation of “mental blinders”
The interesting thing with friction is that you can easily reduce it and the even more interesting one is that the more you reduce it, the more it reduces on its own. In the podcast I referred to earlier, it is another example that was given: if you want to lose weight but that your husband has put cake into the fridge, you may be tempted to take a slice of it. However, if you decide not to eat the cake, it will be as if invisible mental blinders had manifested around you. The next time you will see the cake, it will be far easier to resist the temptation and every time you will resist it, those mental blinders will get stronger and eventually, you will end up not being even tempted by the cake.
The previously “most complicated” ends up becoming the “easiest”
Eventually, after a while and thus, after refusing the cake became a “habit”, that is to say something you do without even having to think about it, you will see that eating it will be the hardest part. What do I mean by that? Well, the interviewee (Wendy Wood, a psychology professor at the University of Southern California) tells the story of one of her friends who is a professional cyclist. She cycles with her regularly for “leisure” but each time, her friend ends up accelerating after an hour. Once, Wendy Wood asked her why she did accelerate even though it was supposed to be a “rest day”. Surprisingly, her friend answered that she did it because to her, it was cycling slowly that was the hardest. Having a habit of cycling fast eventually made cycling slowly even harder than the thing that used to be the hardest in the beginning of her cycling journey.
I hope that post contributed to show you that habits are made for everyone and that you can implement good ones into your life as well.
I highly recommend the podcast I linked in the beginning of the post (while doing the dishes for instance, no excuse!)
Lots of Love,