The art of tracking one's behaviors (habits) dates back hundreds of years ago and wasn't necessarily born with the iPhone or even The Habit Factor. In fact, one of the world's greatest minds, Benjamin Franklin famously wrote about the art of tracking his "virtues" in his own autobiography to refine his character.
In this episode, Martin and I review the roots and similarities of tracking behaviors to help achieve personal goals and refine one's character... all through habit tracking.
A renowned inventor, politician, scientist, author, and one of our nation’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin built quite the legacy. In spite of all of these remarkable achievements, can you guess the one thing he wanted to ensure he shared with the future generations?
"I hope, therefore, that my descendants will follow
this example and reap the benefits"
Benjamin Franklin was referring to the long standing practice (which itself became a habit) of tracking his thirteen virtues over the course of the year. He would rotate from week to week tracking each day one of his thirteen virtues (habits).
Because of this practice (behavior tracking) we believe he ought to be considered one of the great, great grandfathers of personal development!
By deciding WHO BF wanted to BEcome... and what he wanted to BEcome, Ben simply reverse engineered the character traits he wanted then identified the behaviors (habits) he believed that would help to get him there... then he just tracked them daily!
Fast forward a couple hundred years and we find a Hindu spiritualist, Dandapandi, (a former monk), who goes to great lengths at his speaking / teaching and workshop engagements to share the importance of building a "consistent practice" (in other words, a "habit"). And, in order to do this he urges that we follow the same process that his own monastery used, which was to track their behavior daily!
Paradoxically, of course this would suggest that the art of mindfulness requires the development of its corresponding habit. So, the goal is to be as mindful as possible without having to think about it. Then, in order to do this, the monks would track their behavior each day about how mindful they were and in the process they would develop the "consistent practice" of mindfulness. The mindfulness habit.
So, whether you are a spiritualist from India or Benjamin Franklin, YOU can rest assured that there is ONE way to get the results you are looking for and that is to TRACK your behavior or more specifically, use P.A.R.R. (see video ; )
Until next time.
Trying to create new, effective habits is often associated with first trying to kill-off any existing bad habits that are holding us back. In this quick, high-value episode, Martin and I identify the three most important “MENTS” when it comes to busting those bad habits!
“Birds of a feather flock together."
Why would our environment influence our habits? Well, as our energy wanes throughout the day (along with our willpower), it is essential that your environment is tailored to support your new habits and goals. For example, if you're trying to lose weight, throwing out all of the potato chips in the pantry is a great start. The environMENT applies to all things--not just a new diet. When you surround yourself with like-minded people it provides a great support system to help you craft new habits.
“A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is overcome by habit." ~Desiderius Erasmus
Quitting any habit cold turkey is often difficult and ineffective because it leaves a void. When it comes to removing a bad habit it's important to remember that nature abhors a vacuum. Instead, try replacing any bad habit with a new, positive one. When Martin wanted to cut back on his coffee habit, rather than stop drinking coffee, he replaced his morning cup of joe with green tea.
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you do, the better.”
This podcast, writing The Habit Factor, and even his new book, The Pressure Paradox as well as The Habit Factor app have all been, in some form or fashion, an experiments. It takes trial and error (action to create information) in order to find out what will work best for you. In many ways, this idea brings us back to #2 (replacement) since you will need to try things, make some mistakes before you find what will actually stick!
[Tweet "“Good habits happen when planned, bad habits on their own.” @TheHabitFactor"]
When trying to craft any new habit or BREAK ANY BAD HABIT, take a quick run through this checklist to ensure that you are setting yourself up for success. With these three "MENTS", you'll be certain to break bad habits and craft new powerful habits that will help you take charge of your life.
While many do not consider the importance of habit development when it comes to goal achievement, those that do unfortunately are subject to the many great myths which surround the topic. In this episode, Martin and I review and dispel four monster myths about positive habit formation.
1. It takes 21 days to develop a habit.
This originated decades ago with, Psycho Cybernetics a terrific book by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. While it does not take 21 days to develop a habit it is safe to say you can START to develop a habit in 21 days. According to a study from the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes, on average, 66 days. Research tells us though that it depends upon all sorts of criteria including; desire, skill and knowledge related to any particular habit.
2. Cue- Routine-Reward
Cue, routine, reward and the related, "habit-loop" were largely popularized by The Power of Habit. The habit loop helps to illustrate what triggers and environments have been supporting past behaviors (habits) but the habit loop fails to provide any guidance about how to actually form good habits intentionally. Cue, routine, reward may address half the battle but leaves out the significance of TRACKING and REASSESSING as well as using Target Days, Minimum Success Criteria and Tracking Periods, all which help greatly when developing good habits and constitute P.A.R.R.
3. Consecutive Days
Positive habit development is NOT an all or nothing proposition. In fact, the study referrenced above supports something that The Habit Factor introduced over five years ago, that you can and should use Target Days to develop habits and that habit development depends far more upon consistency over time than consecutive days.
4. All habits will last forever once established.
People often view habits as static and unchanging. Habits do need to be maintained, but it's important to constantly reevaluate your life and your goals to make sure that your habits remain aligned with your goals. As your life progresses your goals will change and its likely you'll want to reassess what habits you will need to help you achieve those goals. This is why habit tracking and the PARR methodology are so important!
This episode has us turning the tables... in the coming weeks we'll begin to weave-in interviews of domain industry experts so we figured we might as well start with Nick Palkowski, podcast guru, expert in online marketing strategy and all-around-great guy!
Things weren't always sunshine and rainbows for Nick. The first business he started in college, while a great learning experience, ultimately left him with $2 in his bank account and a jar of peanut butter. A jar of peanut butter. Those important lessons (from failure) taught Nick what not to do and what he needed to do differently. They proved invaluable and led him to launch his booming, full-time business Your Podcast Guru.
"The best way to grow your business is to consistently add value to your audience." @NickPalkowski
One of the most important factors for Nick was understanding that success is a habit, meaning he recognized the importance of becoming a consistent and disciplined professional. Nick even shared his top three character traits and supportive habits on the show... (23:45):
We discuss an important principle, "The Principle of Maximum Error" and how Nick's story is a great, real-life example. So, if you're interested in podcasting and self-improvement (with some inspiration) listen now and check out his custom page for THF listeners: www.yourpodcastguru.com/thf.
Are you pushing yourself hard enough? Most people would respond with a resounding yes. While the idea of a second wind is fairly common, Martin and I explore the possibilities of having a third, fourth, fifth (even an eighth!) wind in this episode of The Habit Factor.
“If you're going to doubt something, doubt your own limits.”
Ever notice during exercise that even when you're tired, you can always dig a little deeper and find energy reserves to get you through to the finish line? By changing your state of mind you can radically change and increase your energy levels and persevere to the end of any project!
Challenge your assumptions, your biases, and challenge the perceived limits that you have set for yourself. If you feel that you've been lulled in to a comfort zone of limitations, set increasingly extreme challenge for yourself and discover your eighth wind. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.
“Life doesn't get easier. We just get stronger.”