Everyday Systems Podcast #9: Habit Management

An everyday system, TM, is a simple, commonsense solution to an everyday problem, grounded by a pun or metaphor. Propose/discuss new systems here.
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reinhard
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Everyday Systems Podcast #9: Habit Management

Post by reinhard » Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:37 pm

My latest health hacks podcast segment is on habit management.

http://everydaysystems.com/podcast/

Anything I can do to make these podcasts better? Any particular topics you'd like me to cover? The feedback I've gotten so far has been positive, but vague. I may run out of gas soon or go off on nutty tangents if I don't get some more precise feedback to guide me....

And feel free to lay it on. If you don't like something/everything I'm doing, I'd much rather know now on episode 10 than on episode 100.

Reinhard

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Jaymiz
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Post by Jaymiz » Fri Apr 18, 2008 3:28 pm

I, personally, LOVED the podcast on Habit Management! I thought that your theory of how looking at the "end goal" doesn't help, but looking at the "actions and behaviors" that LEAD the the "end goal" is better! Fantastic way to go about things!

It makes sense, too, where you said something about how you won't have to really *change* things when you reach your goal, if you've been focusing --in the first place-- on the actions that got you there. Very wise.

Here are the bits I'm referring to (copied from the transcript -- just the relevant parts):
Think in terms of actions and behaviors rather than results. Frame your problem in terms of what you have to do in order to solve it instead of what you hope will happen to you as a result of your actions.

...you can't turn a result like "lose 50 pounds" into habit. Right? It's an end state. What do you do? It tells you where you want to be, but not how to get there. A habit is a special kind of behavior, an unconscious behavior, and a behavior is way of describing a repeated action, and an action is something you do. A results goal like this isn't even an action. Of course you can't make it into a habit.

So instead of thinking about desired results, think about the actions that you hope will get you those results -- or something like it, because we're so bad at actually figuring out what the results should be. For example, "no snacking on weekdays" or "exercise 14 minutes every weekday morning." These are behaviors. Long term, results come from behaviors. In fact, it's the only thing (short of surgery, I guess) that results will come from. Focusing on behaviors means you are forsaking results. It means you are focusing on the part of reality that you can actually change. Results goals are essentially just wishful thinking.

And the great thing is, behaviors continue to be useful after you've hit your desired results. You don't have to radically and riskily change anything once you get there.
Thank you!

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Post by reinhard » Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:34 pm

Jaymiz,

I'm very happy you liked it! Thank you for letting me know.

One of my favorite things about thinking it terms of habit instead of results is that while on one level it's very long term (a lifetime, ideally) on another level it's instantaneous. The moment you change your behavior you are a success. You've hit the highest level -- all you have to do is stay there.

Sorry I've fallen so behind on recording new podcasts... I hope to remedy that soon. I've got a ton of ideas, but unfortunately only a very few waking minutes that are not absorbed by work or family (or this increasingly -- thrillingly -- active bulletin board!).

Reinhard

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