Where do you need to change your habits?
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” Leo Tolstoy
I worked in the same building in Atlanta, Buckhead Plaza, for 17 years. I took great pride in switching up my route to work as much as possible. The Californian in me tries to find new routes, plus taking new streets helps me meet my One Resolution New Year goals.
Still, despite all of this exploring, I actually found THE best route three weeks before I left the company.
It happened because of a street closing and a jam in an unusual location. I had no idea how to adjust to the surprise and my phone was out of reach. So, I put on my car's navigation system (which I NEVER used going to the office), and presto! I was on a new, uncrowded, faster way home.
Just a small change to my traffic pattern lead to a dramatic change in my quality of life. Too bad there were only three weeks of enjoyment.
Still, what I realized is how influential habit is to our lives.
The things we do every day, exactly as we did the day before are going to yield the exact results we’re currently getting.
In fact, if you want to make a change, the easiest place to start is to alter your typical routines. From a practical perspective this means making sometimes awkward changes.
For instance, in a work environment, imagine that you want to meet more people, but you don’t know how to get started. Some of the easy changes could be…
Using a different break area at the officeEating lunch with people from different parts of the organizationTaking a different elevator (or using the stairs)Changing your preferred restroom location
Any decent dating coach will tell you if you aren’t meeting the people you want to date, changing your traffic patterns is critical. Proactively decide to
Go to parties you wouldn’t normally attendLose the pack and/or hang out with a different “wing man” Take up a new hobby so you’re exposed to a new crowdSay yes when someone offers to introduce you to a "great friend"
The goal is to change your environment at a regular clip, to mess with your habits.
This idea (and so many others) are covered in the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. If you haven’t read this book yet, even skimming the “keystone habit” chapter can change your perspective on how to identify habits and how to know when to break them.
As for me, I’m forever going to look to switch up my commuting routine!