“We are what we repeatedly do, Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit” Aristotle.
You are here because you feel unsatisfied with your current habits. Charles Duhigg, explains behavior change through habits in his book, The Power of Habits. He says that the processes of building habits are slow and gradual, but with repetition, they become a permanent part of our lives. It requires conscious effort to recognize them and modify them into good habits. As a matter of fact, the right habits will give us more control of our lives and leads us to greater productivity and healthier lifestyles.
Studies have proven our cognitive capacity is limited, we want to make the process of building habits and changing your behavior as simple as possible. It allows you to make meaningful changes without disrupting your entire life. If you desire to improve your habits then Derigo Dash will help you achieve this.
Derigo Dash is a personalized dashboard for your browser’s new tab. It has multiple widgets which are customizable to your needs in order to improve your habits. Not only does it help in your personal development but also improves your work efficacy. The aim of the Dash is to remind yourself of your habits and track your progress. It also helps you to focus your attention on your top priorities, while eliminating unproductive distractions.
Charles says every habit begins with a cue or a trigger, followed by a routine or set of actions to the cue and third is the immediate reward as a result of those actions. Let’s take an example of a student, who was stressed due to his exams. To relieve this stress the student began to smoke. Smoking assisted him in temporarily reducing his stress levels. Whenever he had to appear for an exam he would go for a smoke. In addition, he started to smoke to other triggers caused by stress in his life such as financial issues, work troubles, and relationship problems.
Before he realized it, he was a chain smoker. None of the methods to quit smoking worked for him. Any inconvenience caused him to revert back to smoking as if he was on autopilot. The problem was that he had not identified his core trigger: stress. He was relying on altering the routine to make long-term behavior change.
Let’s Build Habits Using Derigo Dash!
If you want to build habits and break habits then you have to figure out the cues and their subsequent actions. Use the ‘Notes’ widget to list the top 3 habits you want to change. The key point here is patience and allowing yourself time when building new habits. Now write these habits as your year’s goals in the ‘Yearly To-Do’ widget. You will work on one habit at a time and give each habit 4 months to solidify.
1. Prepare For The Change
The first month can be used to observe your daily behaviors, schedule time for writing a 5-minute journal in the ‘Daily To-Do’ widget before you retire in the evening. In the ‘Notes’ widget list all the triggers and actions to your bad habit. Set the ‘Pomodoro Timer’ to stay focused and to prevent overthinking this activity. For example, you want to stop your social media addiction. Journal how many times you checked your profile, how long you spent, and actions leading to online scrolling.
Then, you will come up with replacement actions to your previous routine. Write why you went online, is it to avoid sending an important email or starting a tedious assignment. Next time you find yourself procrastinating, what action you will take. Advance planning makes it easier to take action later. Instead of checking your Facebook, you can ask a coworker for help with email or you set a timer for 20 minutes using the ‘Pomodoro Timer’ widget to work on your assignment. Remember, the new actions should generate the same rewarding feeling as the bad habit. Accomplishing part of your task will create the same pleasing emotions as checking Facebook does.
2. Monitor The Progress
In later months you will monitor your progress as you build habits. The ‘Habit tracker’ widget is an excellent tool to give you a visual indication of the progress you are making. Progress will be displayed on your dashboard which will keep the momentum going. Use the ‘Quote’ widget to send you regular inspirational material to renew your spirits. You can schedule study breaks in the ‘Calender’ widget in order to read helpful material to continue building your habits. An example is reading studies that show health benefits from decreasing social media usage.
Finally, you schedule a review period, you can add this reminder or ‘to do’ to your list of Monthly Goals using a ‘To-Do’ widget. This monthly check-in is an important moment to check whether your routines are producing the desired results. The progress might be little but as long as it is a positive change then make sure to keep at it. As you repeat the process, you will get more comfortable and the new routine will form part of your subconsciousness. Make sure to also reward yourself for all the effort you are putting into your personal development. You are more likely to change through positive reinforcements compared to bullying yourself through guilt and discontentment.
For further information, read this article, we explain the exact science behind habit modification.