Habits and Programs Part 1

December 12, 2011 by David Hanscom

How many things in your life are habits?

Habits are like programs in your computer, they are installed and work without thinking.  They, in theory, do the same thing every time.  Statistically, 86 – 90$% of what you do in a day is habitual and not a conscious decision.  It only takes 21 – 28 consistant day sto make anything a habit or change one.

While preparing a ham for dinner one evening a woman cut off both ends of the ham before putting it into the oven.  Her curious daughter watching this awkward action said, “Mommy, the oven is huge, why do you always cut off the ends of the ham?”  Her mother replied, “Because that is what your grandmother, your great-grandmother and her mother did.”  When looking into this future the story goes on to explain that the great-great grandmother who started this “habit” did so actually out of necessity because at that time the ovens were much smaller and it was the only way the ham would fit.  Each generation following repeated the behavior out of “habit”, watching her mother do it.

Many people find themselves devaluing their time (see Planning and Prioritizing for more on this topic) by doing unimportant activities out of habit yet expect to improve at the same time.  How many programs or habits were installed in you by your parents, role models, etc.?

There are 4 distinct ways to consciously formulate habits:

1. Family & Friends
2. Emotional Events
3. Authority Figures
4. Repitition

Every habit you have are created and can be affected (changed) by one or more of the above four ways.

Think of the last time you changed something, maybe your sleeping pattern or your ability to multi-task better or be a better leader. Now think of how it may or can be affected by these four ways.

– Is there a family member or friend whom you can associate with the change?
– What strong emotion can you associate with the change? Did something happen or does the new action evoke a specific feeling?
– Is there an authority figure on the subject that “taught” you to change or that you feel can help you change something?
– Is there a pattern that has been interrupted that has caused the change?

Analyzing and understanding the answers to these questions can help you think more on your own instead of falling into the trap of a habit being installed into you.  Create a situation for yourself that promotes healthy habits and daily activities.

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David Hanscom David Hanscom (16 Posts)

David Hanscom is the Director of Entertainment for Y? Entertainment and co-founder of Spirit Strong, a non-profit organization committed to inspiring and empowering challenged athletes and individuals with disabling injuries. He is acknowledged as an industry expert both locally and nationally. He began his career working for A.F.R.T.S. (Armed Forces Radio and Television Services) during High School, while living in Bermuda. David has also worked in a variety of entertainment fields including radio, television (music video show production), record company street teams and concert/event promotion & management firms.


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