“People do not decide their future; they decide their habits and their habits decide their future,” says leadership guru John Maxwell.

To experience better results and a better life, we are wise to focus on our habits, philosopher Brian Johnson tells us.  Creating better habits involves answering five questions: who, what, why, how, and when.  

Today we focus on… HOW.

One of the secrets to living a good life?

Get really good at installing and deleting habits.

Creating a new habit is a skill.  It starts with believing we can change our behavior.  With a little focus and effort, this is something we can do.  It is something we can get better at.  

To create a new habit or eliminate an old one, we map it.  

Bad habits are design flaws.  Not character flaws.

To learn a new habit or delete an old one, we must learn the A-B-C’s of habit change.

A is for Anchor.  We look for or create a trigger to remind us.  We want the prompt to be obvious.  Something we are already doing.  Example: every time I brush my teeth (anchor), I will do a set of push-ups (new habit).  

To delete a habit, we remove the trigger or make it harder to do.  Example: If we want to stop watching so much TV, we remove the trigger by hiding the remote on the top shelf in the closet.  

If our goal is to stop snacking and we have a habit of going to the vending machine around 3 pm every day (anchor), we set an alarm on our phone to go for a walk at 2:55 pm.  

B is for Behavior.  This is the new habit we are looking to install.  Start small, the experts tell us.  Make the new behavior ridiculously easy.  If we want to start doing push-ups, we start with one or two or five.  Not 25.  

C is for Celebration.  Immediately and intensely.  Brian tells us one simple thing we can do is say, “That’s like me!”

What do we do when we fall short?

What we don’t do is beat ourselves up.  No guilt.  No shame.  

We ask: “What needs work?”  We re-commit and start again.  

Ask: What’s my #1 goal right now?  Go all in.

ABC it: After I do it (anchor), I will do this tiny action (behavior), then I will reward myself (celebrate).  

Who, then what, then why, then what.

More tomorrow.


Reflection:  What is the trigger for a habit I would like to stop doing?  What is a trigger for a habit I would like to begin? 

Action:  Experiment today with one of the triggers outlined above.

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