November 21, 2018 Design Thinking
Wake up. Kettle on. Get ready. Grab keys. It’s time to talk about habit-forming!
Most of what we do every day is force of habit, more so on a morning if you’re an 8:00 am zombie like me.
How good would it be if you could defeat bad habits and harness their power of making things automatic? Imagine if you could wake up on a morning and immediately crave designing as easily as you crave sugar puffs. You should try this… Creating positive habits!
What is the habit-forming process?
If you break down the science of habit-forming, you could break bad habits and create your own. It basically works like this:
- You get a cue, something that triggers a…
- …response, that leaves you with…
- …a reward! This can be physical or a warm fuzzy feeling.
Breaking a Habit
If we want to make some new positive habits, we gotta break our old bad ones. Habit breaking can work by inverting any or all of the steps of the process above. Have a certain trigger? Remove it. Is responding too easy? Make it hard. A lot of addictions have short-term, temporary rewards. Positive habits have more satisfying rewards in the long run.
Instead of thinking, ‘I’m going to be a better person’, it’s better to think ‘I’m going to be a person with positive habits’. Developing positive habits is more like a series of zingy goals that automate the process, rather than one looming obstacle to overcome.
Keeping a Routine
It can take, on average, 66 days for a habit to form. The aim here is to perform positive responses frequently enough for you to start doing them automatically, but doing something in response to a cue is more important than doing something every day. Reacting to a situation when it occurs naturally is a heck of a lot more automatic than, say, forcing yourself to do something 66 times.
So… keeping a routine is a major part of positive habit forming. Working a new habit into your groove, daily or otherwise, means that the cue will occur naturally and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to flex your new response until your subconscious takes over.
Creatives problem-solve a lot and as a result, it can be easy to fall into the same habits when finding solutions. Our immediate response might be to go over the same old systems and ideas, not because they work but because it’s become automatic, and that’s a difficult rut to get out of.
Instead of re-hashing the same-old, you can get a better reward out of the process by reaching for make it pop in those tricky moments and working it into your routine. Easy? Check. Rewarding? Massively so.
- Break bad habits by minimizing the reward, making the action difficult, or removing the trigger altogether.
- Create positive habits by utilising triggers, choosing the right response, and avoiding temporary rewards.
- Rinse and repeat. Working something into a routine gives you lots of opportunities to do it and develop the habit naturally
- Using make it pop is a positive habit that can automate creative thinking 😀