Creating Habits that Go the Distance
This is the second part of our 2-part Series on Goal Setting & Habit Tracking
“You need to put what you learn into practice and do it over and over again until it’s a habit. I always say, ‘Seeing is not believing. Doing is believing.’ There is a lot to learn about fitness, nutrition and emotions, but once you do, you can master them instead of them mastering you.” –Brett Hoebel
You tell ‘em Brett.
Habits are essential to your practice routine as they assist you to do something regularly, and regular practice means achieving your goals.
But how do habits work, you ask?
For example, turning off the hair straightener (action) after you’ve finished using it (contextual cue).
Let’s be honest here – how many times have we rechecked that straightener before leaving the house, knowing full well you would have turned it off without even thinking?
I have… A lot.
This annoying, yet very useful occurrence happens because once the action is ‘locked in’ with external cues we no longer need to be motivated to complete the task (Gardiner, Lally, Wardle, 2012).
Real Life Habits
Let’s put it into a practical example to better understand the concept.
You decide you want to start running in the morning before work (you have an amazing SMART goal to back this statement up).
You set your alarm for 5.30am the night before and lay your Lulu Lemon leggings and singlet out ready to go.
Your alarm goes off the next morning, it’s cold, dark, and you feel like you’ve made a deal with the devil.
…One you largely regret.
You push yourself to get out of the warm comfort of your pillows and doona and get running.
Endorphins are going, motivational upbeat music playing, and you down right feel like you could run the world.
You get home and your day continues as normal. This little scenario plays out for a couple of weeks until one day you realise it has become slightly easier to get out of bed.
Getting changed out of your pyjamas is a little less draining, and running out your front door is somewhat easy.
…Because you have successfully paired waking up with going for a run. You don’t have to think about it, you just do it. Half asleep or not. You just made a habit.
This highlights that to make a habit we need two things – repetition of the action, and repetition of the context.
But how do we take these two factors and turn them into a habit that sticks? This is where Gardiner, Lally and Wardle’s (2012) 3 phases of habit formation are implemented.
The first step is the “initiation phase” where you link an action (your future habit) to a regular reoccurring event.
The second step is the “learning phase”, here you repeat the action with the event over and over again. This is where our habit tracker can assist you to monitor your progress. (download it for free below).
The final step is the “stability phase”, where your habit is consistent requiring you to use minimal effort to complete it regularly. Current research suggests a habit can take up around 10 weeks to achieve (with variation between people). So don’t feel disheartened if you don’t see any change in motivation required to continue, the important thing is that you keep at it!
Relation to Communication
Often when it comes to your communication goals, we are assisting you to break old habits and create new ones. Therefore, to achieve you communication goal multiple factors must be at play. Have a look at the diagram below to see why we harp on so much about goals, practice and habits to see how they all interrelate.
Is it all starting to make sense now?
That’s ok, here’s a breakdown.
You need to know what you want to achieve and work towards. SMART goals are the best way to be able to do this. Head to the blog on SMART goals HERE to see how this is done and download our SMART goal freebie while you’re there!
#1 Practice your butt off
Perfect practice makes perfect. This is the part where you are linking your practice to a reoccurring event to begin to create a habit. The initiation and learning phase are taking shape here to better prepare you for the long haul. Need some practice tips to keep things interesting and engaging? Click HERE to read about our practice tips and tricks in our blog.
#2 Consistent practice becomes a habit
Keep going!! By now your practice should be regular because you have hit the stability phase of habit formation. You know when to practice, where to practice and how to practice and it is now a staple daily activity for you. You don’t have to think about planning when yo practice you just practice. This step can last a while as some of your communication goals may be pretty difficult. But, keep in mind you have laid some great foundations and your hard work will pay off with time.
#3 Achieve your goal
YOU DID IT!! Time for your happy dance, and then off to choose a new communication goal.
Here at Voice Science, we want to make habit formation as easy for you as possible, so we have come up with some easy actions and contexts to assist you in forming a habit. Let us know if you have any other amazing ideas, we would love to hear them!
Repeat after us – “I will practice …
- While waiting for the kettle to boil
- As soon as I wake up
- Just before I brush my teeth
- While in the shower
- After my morning coffee
- At 6pm every night
- When I get home form taking my kids tp school
- While dinners in the oven
- During half my lunch break at work
- 30 minutes before my favourite show begins
- While my kids are doing their homework
Don’t forget to download your free habit tracker to help you to create a habit.
Now go off and smash those goals!!
Did you miss the first part of this series?
Head to the following link to read the other part of this series:
Download Your Own Free Habit Tracker from Voice Science to help you Create a Habit
Gardiner, Lally and Wardle’s (2012), Debate & Analysis – Making health habitual: the psychology of ‘habit-formation’ and general practice. DOI: 10.3399/bjgp12X659466
Modifying your communication takes time and practice. Many speakers opt to consult with a Speech Pathologist to seek assistance in goal based communication progress with methods based on research. Voice Science™ treats from Melbourne to Stuttgart, Zurich, Mannheim, London … wherever you are via our global online service. We also offer face to face consultation via our Melbourne Collins St clinic. Read more about our Services HERE.
Want to fine tune your communication but have no idea where to begin?
Why not try one of our query forms– we will have a read through your concerns and get in touch pronto!