Are you picking your habits?


In the workplace lunchroom, the discussion of habits usually goes one of two ways – overwhelmingly negative, or somewhat positive.

Those in the positive corner will cite statistics such as ‘over 40% of what we do is habitual’ and the brain’s efficiency at turning new-found behaviours or tasks (especially sensory-based) into habits to free up more cognitive space. All great, positive outcomes.

Those in the negative corner often discuss purely negative or annoying habits which they find increasingly difficult to curb, change or stop altogether.

The neuroscience of changing habits teaches us we need to rewire, or adapt, our neural pathways. Those pathways in our brain which allow us to do things by rote run deep and are well-worn. To change it up we need to create new neural pathways. The problem is these pathways start as little more than chalk in the sand before repetitive behaviour and intent turns them into your new ‘super-highway’.

Dan Siegel stated we need to “Inspire to Rewire” meaning we need to spark our curiosity enough to want to change our neural pathways. Being curious creates the intent and attention required to create new habits.

How do we inspire curiosity – try looking at what you don’t want to happen any more and change it into what you do want to happen. When we look at a gain, rather than a loss, we create interest, excitement and curiosity as to how to make this happen. All great foundational emotions for building change.

So what do you want to happen?

Think about it, get excited, create curiosity, and enjoy the process!