Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit examines the structure of habits and demonstrates how they can be changed. One thing I didn’t realize is that during habitual activity our “thinking” activity actually lowers. It makes some sense – habital activity becomes subconscious and therefore the level of conscious thought is lower.
In the case of non-habitual behaviors, participants were thinking about what they were doing for 70% of the reports.
For habitual responses, thought-action correspondence was significantly lower, and participants were thinking about what they were doing for only 40% of the reports.
The significance of this insight is that relying on habitual behavior in creative activity could be the reason your thinking is just not as effective as it could be. But there is good news.
Once you understand that habits can be rebuilt, the power becomes easier to grasp, and the only option left is to get to work.
It’s understandable that the thought of working on your habits is not appealing. Before you get frightened off it may be easier than you think. Lets take a look at the structure of a habit.
… he presents a simple scheme called “the habit loop,” whereby an environmental cue automatically leads to a behavioral routine that results in a reward.
The three key parts to a habit as proposed the in the Power of Habit book are:
- the cue or trigger
- the routine or pattern (of behavior)
- and the reward
What is the value of knowing this in the context of creative thinking? What do we need to do?
The easiest way is to change some of our routines. Changing or interrupting our patterns of behavior, even for a short time, can enable new thinking. Here are some suggestions on how to go about it.
So what can you do to fight the routine bug? You may be surprised how easy it is. Here are 10 easy-to-apply tips to help you break routine and constantly renew, refresh and recharge yourself to stay ahead.