THE POWER OF HABIT… a great new book, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg has just been published. A fascinating read, Duhigg offers that all overachievers operate on "autopilot" in moments of intensity. He says what sets these individuals apart from others is the "formation of habits that create mental toughness, repetitive performance, and ultimate success". He uses 14 Olympic Gold Medal winner Michael Phelps as a perfect example. Phelps's coach Bob Bowman helped him use the "power of habits" to accomplish the following: 1. Calm him before a race & 2. Create an unstoppable consistency. Duhigg shares an amazing vignette from the Beijing Olympics where Phelps's swimming goggles filled with water, blinding him in the middle of the 200 m individual butterfly event. Doesn't sound too distressing until you recognize the need to swim in a straight line and to know exactly where you are for making turns efficiently. His habits saved him!… So much so that in spite of not knowing where he was, Phelps won the gold medal and set a world record!
Here's your ACTION STEP… here are some of the discoveries that author Charles Duhigg shares in his book:
1. Everyone has habits… both good and bad; 95% of what we do are based on habits.
2. The longer a habit exists, the stronger the hold it has on the individual.
3. The growth of one habit facilitates the development of other habits.
4. Habits create incredible mental toughness… the ability to say NO when needed.
5. There is an amazing comfort in the use of habits… you don't have to think about what is coming next. It just happens. This builds confidence!
6. Core routines make the process easier… "Once Bowman established a few core routines in Phelps's life, the other habits – his diet and practice schedules, the stretching and sleep routines – seemed to fall into place on their own".
7. Critical Point: small wins have enormous power, they set forces in motion that favor other small wins. These become bigger wins as they accumulate. Conclusion… focus on small wins and build on these habits.
There are always Naysayers. Those who say that it is "my spontaneity and multi-tasking that work best for me". This sounds like more fun and it is certainly easier. There is one big credibility gap however… all overachievers do so as a result of repetitiveness and consistency in their performance. One final message if you are fighting "The Power of Habit"… this doesn't mean you have to have a rigid minute by minute daily schedule. It does mean you need to have a rigid and consistent level of performance on an ongoing basis. Not doing the things you need to do every day is a sure recipe for underachievement. Start by taking on one new habit today… create some small victories and build from there. Develop the" habit of greater success". NO Excuses.