There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs”
Now that I’ve started with a seemingly intellectual quote, let’s get down to business, shall we?
Taking that quote further and getting you to picture one small keystone habit written on each of those stairs and little by little – you’ll start to see a ‘NEW YOU’
Published in 2012 by Pulitzer-prize winning author Charles Duhigg, this gem has spent over 120 weeks on the various New York Times bestseller lists.
In this book, Duhigg explores what science has taught us about how habits are formed, how they function, how they can be modified and how they influence our lives and our business world.
“Duhigg is optimistic about how we can put the science to use. “Once you understand that habits can change,” he concludes, “you have the freedom — and the responsibility — to remake them. Once you understand that habits can be rebuilt, the power becomes easier to grasp, and the only option left is to get to work.”
Key Takeaways from the book for our millennials –
1. Identify your cue and subsequent reward, along with making a decision for conscious change.
Let’s take my example of formulating a habit to read daily.
The cue or even the trigger in my case was seemingly unhelpful anxiety about not being productive with my time.
The conscious change I needed to make to understand how or why books can be rewarding.
The reward was that rush after I finished reading one whole book, and then another and then another while gaining the knowledge I’d hoped I would.
2. Willpower isn’t just a skill. It’s a muscle and it gets tired as it works harder, so there’s little power left for other things
If you want to do something that requires willpower – like going for a run after a seemingly mentally exhausting and challenging day at work, you’re going to have to conserve your willpower muscle during the day.
We all have only a limited amount of mental capacity and energy to expend into forming new habits and so it is very essential that you are able to prioritise which habit you want to focus on and not overwhelm yourself with too much on your plate.
Every small habit you change consciously and incrementally leads to a change in your mindset.
Here’s an Instagram post by @mad_dieat to get you started on building habits that add to your health –
3. Small wins do not combine in neat, linear, serial form with each step being a demonstrable step closer to some predetermined goal
Most common are the circumstances where one’s small wins are scattered.
Like miniature experiments that test implicit theories about resistance as well as opportunity and uncover both resources and barriers that were invisible before the situation was stirred up.
4. Visualisation plus focusing on a few keystone habits causing a widespread shift and a happy spill over to all aspects of your life
Michael Phelps example about how visualising his best swimming strokes every night before sleeping and on waking up, literally helped him create a world record in fogged glasses.
The book teaches us to focus on building only a handful keystone habits in our daily routine that shall contribute your overall life in the long run.
So, what are your keystone daily habits?
Few interesting observations from the book –
- It was also particularly interesting to understand how companies are benefitting from the strange yet habit driven psychology of our complex brain.
- Did you know most of us turn to the right after entering a store? Apparently, there’s thousands of hours of video tapes suggesting that – and guess what? retailers obviously have since placed their most profitable products there.
- Why do grocery stores have fruits and vegetables as soon as you enter, even though they may get bruised and battered in your shopping cart? It’s because you’re more likely to tell your brain that it’s okay to buy the Doritos, ice-cream and any other junk food later – it’s the story that its ingrained in your subconscious brain!
This article has been written by Dimple Bhagchandani for a collaboration with The Millennial Daily. Dimple is a certified nutritionist by passion but a corporate employee by the day. Her love for food, coffee and fitness will add some more inspiration to your life.
Dimple runs a platform in partnership with her buddy Mithisha on Instagram by the handle @mad_dieat and you can learn about them here –