Weird Science: Old Habits (Can) Die Hard

Old habits can die hard, but only if you want them to. Unfortunately, most of us are creatures of habit. In fact, in a recent study of 2,000 Americans done by Market Researchers OnePoll this year showed that 80% of us are stuck in a routine. What does this mean for 2018 and our New Years Resolutions? How do we turn our new year from predictable to unpredictable? 

The APA did a recent study on human behavior on motivation and found that changing your perspective on change itself can be a habit breaker. Gregory Ciotti from 99u calls it "abstract thinking" where you create "micro-quotas" and "macro-goals". The goals setting the precedent for the longterm, the quota setting the standard for your day to day to reach the goals. Writer Nathan Berry practiced this theory of quotas and forced himself to write 100 words a day, which proved significant results... three published books and thousands of dollars in sales. Here, the infamous theory of self-determination has shown again that if we can make ourselves intrinsically motivated instead of motivated by reward, we will stick with our new routines. 

However, that can sometimes be difficult, as we aren't typically conditioned as people to be overly enthusiastic about answering all of our emails in a day. Most of us are more interested in winning that bonus check at the end of the quarter. 

If we pay attention to science, it tells us if we can somehow find the patience and passion in the little success' and grade metric from day to day, we will not only form new habits that become positive behaviors, but we are most likely to reach our objective. That is where decision making and time management comes in.

Writer Seth Godin recently wrote a blog called "Choosing Without Deciding." He talks about eliminating obstacles in decision making to ease the achievement every day and longterm goals. That essentially we shouldn't be making decisions about things that don't necessarily matter, we should just think of them as choices (again changing your perspective here). Once we make these choices effortless, we have a lot more time and effort to spend on the things that really matter and require more energy. Remove the emotion, flip a coin, and move on to the bigger picture. 

Removing the complexity in the hundreds of choices we make throughout a day, changing our perspective, and developing the patience for these goals to be met isn't just a smart set of guidelines for 2018; its science.