In my recent newsletter, which you can read HERE.
I talked about the book, The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg.
There are many things that we DO in our daily lives that are habitual, and I believe that it is possible that there are many things that we THINK in our daily lives that are by routine as well.
In the book he outlines the cycle of a habit:
- Cue or trigger that makes the behavior unfold automatically. Perhaps its a location, time of day, emotional state, or culmination of a pattern of behaviors.
- Followed by the routine – the actual behavior itself.
- Reward – that will be different for every person and every habit.
He then invites you to diagnose what the habit is and when we can observe it in action then we are better equipped to make a change.
Based on the book I decided to set my awareness and observe my habit of checking my iPhone.
What I observed for myself was how much time, energy and focus I was investing in being and or feeling like I was omnipresent with each notification I received.
Admittedly, it was some time ago that I disabled the bells and whistles on my phone that told me that a new email came in, I can empathize with Pavlov’s dog who salivated at the sound of the bell, and I responded by reaching for my phone.
However, rather than being cued by the bells, I noticed that since I didn’t have that auditory signal that someone had sent me an email or posted, liked or shared something on Facebook, my iPhone still listed all the notifications I had missed every time I opened it up.
So I disabled its ability to show me those in my lock screen.
Then 14 days ago I disabled the ability for the little number to show on the icon, again cue-ing me to see who had shared, liked or posted whatever. And I disabled it on my computer so that when I’m doing something else I wasn’t triggered to click on the floating notification and check out what someone was up to.
What a great thing that with a mere click of a button I was able to interrupt these ingrained routines that I had in place that had become such time stealers.
In reflection, my perceived reward for checking and clicking was thinking, believing & feeling that I was being present and social, truth is when you are involved with multiple groups with frequent postings these notifications were keeping me present in their world, and not mine.
And not to mention the time I have reclaimed since, (perhaps you can relate to how time just flies when you are scrolling through all the updates).
Now without that little notification number, beep or pop up on my screen I consciously choose to go onto social media, see the list and I choose which ones to click, and no longer feel as if I “should” be liking, sharing or clicking in the red hot moment its posted. Just like making any type of change it has been a struggle at times NOT to succumb to the habit. Overall, it has been very liberating! And I’ve become more present and conscious of what I’m reading or supporting in the social media ecosystem.
Thoughts can trigger feelings, or feelings can trigger thoughts which when habitual may lead us to an actual behavior.
Habits of action and thought serve us.
What do you do habitually that serves you well?
What would you like to do routinely that would add value to your life?
What thoughts are on auto-pilot?
What are the rewards?
Observing our habits is the first step to changing existing ones, or creating new ones, if you so choose.