Habits are an interesting aspect of human life.
It looks like there might be something of a Habit Loop.
- A Cue
- A Routine
- A Reward
And the frustrating part is that habits often form without us really realizing it. During the routine or action stage our brains kind of shut off consciously and start doing things just out of…habit.
So we have some choice over the matter if we’re aware of how it works.
Let’s take it a step further…
I’m sure you have some habits of others that you admire.
A parent. A friend. A person you admire from afar.
Is it possible to steal their habits?
What habits are some of the best to steal?
Here you go…
1. Following Through
This is a big one.
Lots of people say things. They say they will do things. They might have dreams. They might make promises.
But they never follow through. It could even be a habit for some people without them even realizing. They’re just in the habit of saying and never doing.
It’s a trait to admire in people that follow through on what they say. They take the time to consider the consequences of what they commit to. It trains them to think before they speak and commit.
They do commit to things. They don’t avoid it. They just take time to consider things and when they commit they follow through so people can rely on them.
2. Listening, Questioning
Listening a great habit to form. It’s not an easy one. People seem to have a gene in their makeup that makes them want to help others. They want to dish out advice.
I’m no different.
I catch myself getting into the habit of giving advice. Often I’ll get little looks back from people and I can tell they’re thinking, “Why don’t you just listen…”
And they’re right.
People that others like being around are usually good listeners. They ask questions. They don’t judge. They do it by habit.
Have we come to rely on others so much that we don’t question things? Do we lose track of our own common sense?
One habit I admire in people is skepticism. A health balance.
They don’t just believe what people tell them. They demand to do a little digging. They want to figure out what the reality is. They focus on results and not promises.
We’ll talk about diet later, but people with the habit of skepticism would definitely question taking health advice from someone that was overweight.
4. Problems, Not Failures
I’m reading the biography of J. Willard (Bill” Marriott. Lots of really good tidbits about his life.
One of the very interesting things was that he never really focused on failures. He never saw life that way. When asked about looking back on things he failed at he looked confused back at the person and said something like:
I didn’t really have failures. I just encountered problems that need solutions.
What a great habit to get into. Things will happen, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end of things. Just look for the solution.
Remember when we talked about the bad habit of giving advice?
Something that some interesting people do is tell stories instead of giving advice.
Now, this can be tricky. People can be pretty perceptive and still realize when they’re being told what to do or what is right.
But most people like a good storyteller especially when they’re looking for a good story.
Getting into the habit of telling stories, learning what people like is a very good habit for a lifetime of good conversation.
Arnold Palmer passed away recently. It was very sad.
But it was really neat to see how people were affected by his actions over the years.
One of the habits Arnold had that really made an impact on a lot of people was his note writing. He would write little notes to winners of events. He would write notes to people he had met.
It’s a simple way to let people know that you’re thinking about them.
I need to get into this habit.
Kind of building on the last one is just getting into the habit of complimenting people.
It’s so easy to get into the habit of assuming that people know that when they do something good that they will feel good about it.
I’m guilty of it.
Getting into the habit of complimenting someone or every person you see is wonderful.
Just saying, “Nice shirt.” or “I like your hair.” or “Great job on that presentation yesterday.”…
That can really have a positive impact on people.
I’ve read quite a few biographies over the years. For some reason I read about musicians, rock stars and people in that industry. But I also like entrepreneur bios.
One thing I see, especially with people in business, is that they love reading. They don’t really turn on the TV. That’s an easy habit to get into.
Instead, they turn that habit into reading where they can open their minds to all kinds of new information.
This one is huge for a health, well-lived life. The right or wrong diet can make or break you.
I don’t want to get too far into it or tell you what to do, but avoiding carbohydrates seems to be the trick. Not veggies, though. Eat as many as you can.
The trick is not thinking about what you can’t have, but instead focusing on what you can have. Look at people that seem healthy, happy and vibrant. Learn what they eat regularly. Learn what they enjoy eating.
10. Built-In Exercise
An easy habit to get into is parking in the space closest to the front door.
What if you parked in a far away space?
It’s really not that big of a deal. You walk a little further. You avoid the stress of crowded areas. That can really add up over time.
Or what about getting into the habit of taking the stairs vs. elevator? That also can add up.
Some people seem to build exercise into their lives this way. They don’t necessarily go to the gym all the time, but they get their exercise in habitual ways.
Habits are part of human nature it seems. The good news is that we can control them. The frustrating part is that bad habits can form without us even realizing it.
If you’re looking to change your habits a good place to start is with the good habits of others. Then assess your own daily life including triggers, actions and rewards. Then determine where you can make changes for the better.