How to change habits and supercharge your performance Posted on 07 Oct 12:55 , 0 comments

Habit Loop

I love chocolate.

And I’m not picky about it.  I love white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate. 

Chocolate used to be my favourite reward for hard work.

When I moved to Melbourne to open our office two and a half years ago I used chocolate to reward myself for completing challenging tasks.  I’d set myself a target and once completed would walk to Haigh's.  (For non-Australian readers Haigh's is a local chocolate shop you have to try when you visit)

I put on 15 kg.  (I’m a productivity expert after all). 

I’ve since learned to reward myself in healthier ways.  I've also learned about portion control!

My chocolate addiction taught me about habit change. 

My habit starts with a trigger.  I eat savoury food and I crave something sweet.

I eat chocolate and am rewarded with the satisfaction of having fulfilled my craving but…

...after I eat chocolate I then start craving savory food!  (You can see how I gained 15 kg)

How did I get over this?  I identified my trigger (eating savoury food) and replaced the bad habit (chocolate) with a good habit (fruit).

Around 45% of the decisions we make each day are due to habit.  

That's why changing a few key habits supercharges your performance.

We can dramatically improve our performance simply by changing one habit at a time.  Here’s how:

1. Identify your triggers

Do you check email constantly?  Email notifications are a likely trigger- turn them off. 

Do you accept too many meetings?  Invitations are probably a trigger for you- start asking yourself, “is this meeting really necessary?”

How about positive triggers?  What are the good habits you have each day that you don’t want to change? 

For me it’s exercise, and I also make my bed every day, get on a tram every week day, and walk to the gym at lunchtime.  Use good habits and things that happen to you every day as triggers for new habits.

Replace your bad habits with good habits, or use good habits to start more good habits.

2. Start small

If you try and go from “zero to hero” you’re more likely to fail than if you start slowly and work your way up to a regular habit. 

For instance, if you want to exercise six days per week, don’t start by exercising six days this week as you’ll likely injure yourself or burn yourself out and never go back to the gym again. 

Just go to the gym once this week, and then twice next week…

Make habit change sustainable. 

3. Find someone to hold you accountable

Every time I meet with the clients I coach they tell me what they’ve done since we last met.  

We set goals together for the next period of time before we meet again.

Sometimes that means people complete the goals we’ve set the day before we meet and that doesn’t matter. 

If no one was holding them accountable they may not have done them at all!

Not everyone can afford a coach and that’s okay.  We all have people around us who would be happy to hold us accountable.  

Ask your manager, your teammates, your friends or your partner. 

Proclaim your new habit to your Facebook friends and let them know how you’re going each week. 

Every time you talk about your goals with others you are strengthening your chances of success. 

If you would like to hire a coach call me or email me.  

For more great tips read the articles on our LinkedIn page