Once upon a time, there was a huge snowstorm. The first one of the year. The snow was the best kind for sledding. If you’ve ever been sledding, you know the best snow has a bit of moisture in it, so it packs down well.
That’s exactly the type of snow that fell that day. And just like every year, kids of all ages went to the local sledding hill to practice their sledding skills and see their friends.
There was a multitude of sledders making all kinds of tracks down the hill and there was a newbie sledder hitting the hill for the first time ever. Let’s call the newbie, Jet. Jet was a little apprehensive about sledding with all those people. So, Jet stayed on the edge of the crowd where the snow hadn’t been touched.
Jet made his first trip down the hill. The lumps under the snow, the roots from the surrounding trees, and the moisture in the snow caused Jet to not be able to control the sled and he flew down the hill at the mercy of the sled and the snow.
The second trip down that same part of the hill, Jet was able to steer just a bit better and find a semblance of a sledding trail to stay in. And then he went again, and again, and again. Each time a little faster and with a little more control as to where the sled would end up.
By the end of the day, Jet was able to get to the bottom of the hill as fast as others, with very little thought or effort. As the days went on, Jet was able to go back to that same spot with his sled and effortlessly hit the target he had created at the bottom of the hill.
Now, we could leave this story right here, but let’s connect it to how we create habits.
One of the best descriptions I have found of a habit states:
Habit is a tendency or inclination toward an action or condition, which by
repetition has become easy, spontaneous, or even unconscious, or an action.
or regular series of actions, or a condition so induced.
Habits are formed in our brain. And these conditions on the sledding hill, the rocks, the slope, the snow condition are like our genes. These conditions/genes are given to us and there isn’t a lot we can do to change them.
The first time down the hill, or in a new situation, the conditions that surround us determine the outcome. The second time we are in that situation we have created a slight pattern that we follow. Think about the snow and the track the sled would have made.
As we continue to encounter the same situation, we travel the same path, we react the same, and often end up doing the same behavior over and over again.
And. . . a habit is born.
For most of us, changing our situation or the “tracks” we are running in, is very difficult. But, just like snow melting when it gets warm, we can change a habit.
Here are the steps:
1. Figure out the steps that lead up to the start of the habit.
There were tracks in the snow
Jet steered into the tracks
2. Figure out why you do the habit.
Jet wanted to get down the hill as fast as he could
3. Plan an interrupt to the way you do the habit.
Try a different part of the sledding hill
Don’t go sledding
Sometimes figuring how you “run” your pattern or why you “run” the pattern is easy. Other times it’s a little more complicated. That’s what I’m here for! I have changed several of my own habits using this strategy and would be thrilled to empower you to blow up a habit that you currently run that doesn’t serve you.
Reach out and we can talk!