Breaking Habits

‘For good and bad, habits are the invisible architecture of daily life.  Research suggest that about 40% of our behaviour is repeated almost daily, and mostly in the same context.’

This quote is from ‘Better Than Before’, Gretchen Rubin’s remarkable book about making and breaking habits.  Reading it has shed brilliant light on my own habits (such as distraction, mentioned here last time) and I’m still processing the insights that resulted from reading it recently.

It seems that I am (like many people) an Obliger.  I am highly motivated to do, change, finish, act – whatever – by knowing that someone else expects it of me, and I am less motivated when the only person anticipating the result is me.  So to change my habits I need to take this into account and find someone to be accountable to in a realistic way. No nonsense. Others need other motivations. You might be a Rebel, an Upholder, a Questioner…  Fascinating stuff, an imperative read for all of us!

Then I started thinking about thinking.  Thinking is a habit too. If we repeat 40% of our behaviour daily, are we repeating our thinking too?   How much of our thinking is repeated, how hard or easy is it for us to notice that, and is it important to change that?  Our assumptions are definitely habitual, sometimes life-long. The true and liberating assumptions support us, the untrue limiting ones hold us back – consistently.

This is really useful to know.  It partly explains why it’s so hard to see our assumptions, and it supports the suggestion that we think better when we are ‘accountable’ (that’s one way to look at it) to another person, a Thinking Partner.  I don’t mean accountable in terms of responsibility for outcomes, I mean it in terms of keeping on thinking as and for ourselves.

It explains why sometimes we are surprised by how obvious the assumption is (‘of course, I knew that!’) and it also explains why sometimes it’s such a shock – the untrue limiting assumption (that we are living as true) is so smooth and familiar to us, so well-honed  we’ve been living with it for years – but underneath it is something much more complex and demanding to think about.

So that’s been this month’s reading, and discovery.  Still work in progress. What about you – what have you discovered this month that you’d like to share with me, I’d love to know.

Finally: 2020 is now within sight, and I have (finally!) posted all my 2020 courses online here:  Is this your year for further TE development as a Coach, Facilitator or even as a teacher?  Who do you know who might love this way of being as much as you do? Please do think about this, and if you are keen to continue with your TE development in any way I’d love to know.