Chicago’s Rollout–Change a Habit (8)


In the last post, I mentioned that there was a way to increase the chances of success in your project of changing a habit.    In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg discusses the importance of belief.

This is not talking about the importance of belief in God, but of the belief in yourself, that you CAN succeed.    One of the ways of doing this is to join a group of others who are also trying to change the same habit.

This is one of the secrets of success at Alcoholics Anonymous.   At a typical meeting, someone will get up and talk about how they were able to control their craving for drinking, one day at a time.   After hearing several of those stories, you might start to think “well if they can do it, I can do it!”

I remember a similar process going on with the meetings I went to at Toastmasters International.    The organization is devoted to learning public speaking and leadership skills through regular meetings at a local club.   Like most other people, I was scared of speaking in public, especially so since I am introverted and it takes a tremendous amount of energy for me to talk to one other person, let alone a whole roomful of them.  But time after time I would go, and listen to others overcome their fear of public speaking, and I told myself that I too could get up in front of others and speak.

Through regular meetings, I started to rack up the “small wins” I described in a separate post and became better at public speaking and learned leadership skills as well.

In terms of the project that you are working on of changing a habit, you should let people know that you are working on the project.    These people can be your family or your circle of friends, or both.    They become the stakeholders in your project.   A stakeholder is a person who is impacted by the results of your project.   If you are a smoker, then cutting down on smoking will have positive benefits for those around you.    If you starting the habit of exercise, this will give you more energy which will also be a good thing for those around you.    By telling them about your project, you can enlist their help in encouraging you to keep on going, or having you continue again if you stumble and fall.

All of these concepts, those of small wins and enlisting the help of stakeholders in your project, are examples of things that help increase the probability of success in what you are doing.    They are thus examples of what are called positive risk factors, that is, factors which increase the likelihood of your project succeeding.   This concept of risk analysis on a project is the subject of the next post.

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