Many of us are struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly and sticking to a healthy diet, yet this can be challenging sometimes so we find ourselves going back to our bad habits.
Charles Duhigg's best selling book ‘The power of habits’, explores how habits are formed and how we can adopt new good habits and get rid of bad ones.
Such habits are not limited to personal issues but can involve organisations as well. The author explains how habits are often linked to some form of motivation, we go to the gym to lose weight and have better body shape.
He explains it by the simple equation (Cue > Behaviour > Reward). So in the previous example the cue is that going to the gym keeps you fit, you go to the gym regularly (behaviour), you become fit (reward).
Most of us understand this link but certain outside forces discourage us from keeping up with regular visits to the gym.
The second point the author mentions is that one good habit can motivate the organisation to adopt other good habits as it creates positive energy.
Organisations that announce the employee of the month who gets recognised and rewarded not just financially but psychologically.
Such a small initiative can motivate others to work hard to get the same reward.
The third point explains the power of routines.
Think about the people who start their day by jogging then eating a healthy breakfast before heading to work. Such a routine makes it easier for them to keep up the good habit of jogging every morning.
The fourth point emphasises the importance of work-life balance, something we are struggling to keep with the advances of technology and how you can access your work desktop from your smartphone.
Therefore using psychological techniques such as mindfulness helps the person keep focusing on what’s in front of him or her, so when at work you are 100 per cent at work, not ruminating on personal issues and while at home, you are fully focused on your personal life.
The fifth point talks about the link between positive habits and self-discipline which is a key issue to success.
You study hard before your examinations, you stop yourself from partying or going out with friends so this eventually pays off and you pass with good grades. Getting rid of bad habits is also challenging, like smoking and eating junk food or spending longtime one social media.
In order to break such habits one needs to understand their origin and what purpose they serve and what enforces them.
For example if you eat a lot of junk food it is because your friends are doing the same, hence the peer pressure.
Or is it that you have no time to prepare healthy meals, hence it’s time management that you need to focus on or is the food itself provides you with comfort as you escape facing your problems, hence the need for reflection and using problem solving techniques.