Creatures of habit. Both good and great!

A lot of what I do with clients ( and my own self learning) is working on how we understand both ourselves and others. What I am learning is leaps and bounds is that progress comes from tiny steps taken over and over again. Just one foot in front of the other. I read these two book recently and I thought I would share them with you. One is almost a auto-ethnographic study of a successful creative life and the other a behavioral science book. Both point to the creation of habits and how in the cultivation of good ones we inevitably improve our lives.

The Creative habit by Twyla Tharp and Mark Reiter

Twyla Tharp formed her dance company in 1965. She has choreographed more than 160 individual shows and dance routines for movies and television. She is the winner of numerous awards and an icon in the arts.

I read her book “The creative Habit” while looking for inspiration to stay the course in connecting creativity to organisational empathy for some research I have been doing. In this book, Twyla comes back to her mantra over and over again the “creativity is augmented by routine and habit.” She points hard to the side that creativity is a habit and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. Her book is also about preparation: “In order to be creative you have to know how to prepare to be creative. No one can give you your subject matter, your creative content, if they could it would be theirs and not yours. But, there is a process that generates creativity and you can learn it. And, you can make it a habit.”

As I reflected on the turned pages , it wasn’t such a gigantic leap to go from this book to business and building teams that think differently and generate innovative ideas that move them forward. How could we do this? Create and sustain a kind of behavior in an organisation that would foster creative thinking without allowing the narrative to fall into the “artsy fartsy” lane. This led me to another mind expanding book. “Tiny Habits” by Dr BJ Fogg.”

Tiny Habits by Dr BJ Fogg.

If you were looking for an “aha” moment in understanding why some of those New Years resolutions stick and some don’t, or why your friend can get up at 5 am and run everyday, or how come your colleague has such exceptional productivity and work ethic, you should take a peek inside “Tiny Habits” by BJ Fogg. Fogg uses a simple MAP (where Motivation, Ability and a Prompt converge) process to help you troubleshooting behavior. Fogg takes you on a journey that will help you to see the world through a behavioral model lens and through his writing, give you the tools to uncover the life you want for yourself, or your organisation.

He takes in this book, a seemingly complex idea and simplifies it so that you really can simply apply Step 1, 2 and 3 to designing behavior and get closer reaching your aspirations. It is not often you come across a self help business book that is not screaming “go hard or go home”, but in this book you will find that scraping away the layers till you get to that tiny tiny step is just what you need to be successful. And then, when you are successful with that tiny habit, celebrate. For me, in and among the all the other stuff, this gem peeled open. We cement neural pathways with positive emotions. If you want a habit to stick, you have to celebrate each success in some way that makes you feel elevated.

You can log on here for a Free 5 day course and try out building just 3 habits that will help you reach your aspirations. I would love to hear how you got on. For me, I am trying his habit recipe to reach my health aspirations, and to keep myself honest I’m sharing it with you.

After I get out of bed, I will put on my gym clothes before I leave the room. To wire the habit, I will immediately smile and say “go you”.

So far its worked 12/14 days for me in holding my motivation to workout. Sometimes I just walk the dog in my gym gear, but hey tiny steps!