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Step by Step Guide to Creating a New Habit

By February 26, 2020 April 27th, 2020 No Comments

Logia’s apprentice associate, Gabriel Olver, has had a decade to work on mastering the art of building new habits. In his owns words, here is just one story of his successful experiences applying the MERIT™ PLE (personal leadership effectiveness) system we introduced him to so long ago…

I went to the gym after work last week and noticed a common phenomenon that happens around this time each year. The place was near empty. You would have never guessed that this place was filled close to max capacity just a month ago. In just one month all the motivation from New Years’ wore off and 90% of these individuals were no longer showing up. The truth is that I was one of those individuals that quit and I know first hand that motivation is not enough to create real change.

Years ago I was introduced to Logia’s recommended system for creating new habits. This simple system brought me real results not only in the area of fitness but also in my professional development.

The method is summarized below in this simple acrostic:

H – Have a plan

A – Attach pain and pleasure

B – Build accountability

I – Internalize truth

T – Train consistently

Let us go deeper and unpack each letter one at a time.

Have a plan

In this step, you identify a specific habit that you know you need to develop in order to support your professional or personal goals. Write down when exactly you will practice your habit each day. Does the time change on weekends versus weekdays? How long will you practice your habit? Where or in what situations will you exercise this new habit? Iron out as many details as you can before you move onto the next step.

*Example. I want to create a habit of daily reading to grow as a business professional. I will read for fifteen minutes in the morning before I begin my day. Another fifteen minutes during lunch and once again before I go to sleep. To keep things fresh and interesting I will read a classic novel in the morning, a business novel at lunch and an inspiring autobiography before I go to bed. *

Attach Pain and Pleasure

At a basic level of our psychology we are motivated to act in ways that move us toward pleasure and away from pain. Use this to motivate yourself by setting up small rewards for yourself after you complete your habit each day. You can schedule larger rewards if you complete a longer streak without interruption. This could be something as small as treating yourself to your favorite Starbucks drink. Whatever it is make sure you also decide on something you are willing to endure if you slack off on your habit. Once again no need to go overboard here.

*Example. When I complete my morning reading I will treat myself to my favorite Tim Horton’s drink on my way to work as a reward. If I complete a full week of reading I will treat myself to a meal at my favourite restaurant. If I slack off I will not permit myself to watch my favourite T.V series when I return back from work in the evening.

Build Accountability

Creating a new habit is far easier when you have someone who supports your goal and keeps you accountable. This can be a friend, partner or business associate depending on the nature of your goal. Communicate your plan to them along with the associated rewards/pains you have attached to your habit. Create a time to go over your progress.

*Example. I will work with Logia Consulting to draft my habit plan and schedule a follow-up session to check in on my progress. At this meeting I will disclose my progress, road blocks and be open to constructive feedback. I will take book suggestions for my business readings and share insights during my next meeting. *

Internalize Truth

This is a short phrase or motto that communicates a truth that supports your new habit. It should be short enough to memorize but still meaningful to you and your goal. Repeat this motto every day and especially when you feel the urge to quit.

*Example. Warn Buffet the great self-made billionaire investor once said “The more you learn the more you earn” investing in my own education will allow me to offer more value at work. The more value I am able to give the more I will receive in return. *

Train Consistently

The key to creating a habit is not volume but consistency. It takes time for the brain to rewire and create new “neural pathways”. When a new pathway is created by an activity it becomes automatic. This process takes around 66 days. I recommend a minimum of 21 days to begin the process of creating a new habit. Make small adjustments while taking feedback from your accountability partner and continue on for the full 66 days.

Final Thoughts

The process of turning a behaviour into second nature takes a surprisingly high amount of mental capital so only work on one habit at a time. As the old saying goes, he who chases two rabbits catches none. Acquire new habits in the right order. We all have unique “soft spots” in our character that make sense to addressed first. Knowing yourselves well enough to objectively identify these areas can often be difficult to do alone. At Logia we have a system to analyze your unique attitudes, beliefs, and commitments to give you insight into your strengths and areas for improvement. From there we can create a roadmap together to help you realize your professional goals.