Why our brains love habits
We have habits for a reason. But they have their limitations.
Habits let us perform reoccurring tasks automatically – literally without thinking. This conserves mental energy.
If you aren’t thinking about it, you aren’t thinking about it. That means that you aren’t paying attention. And if you aren’t paying attention, your performance can actually decline. Have you ever been driving and missed your turn (or taken the wrong turn) because you were on autopilot?
Mastery requires deliberate practice. Basic repetition isn’t going to get it done.
Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery
Review & reflection
Deliberate practice has a few key elements:
- Decide on your metrics
- Measure your metrics
- Review your findings
It’s simple but it’s easy to forget.
Improvement is not just about learning habits, it’s also about fine-tuning them.
Some people want their reviews to be so complete, that they keep a decision journal.
Repeating a habit is essential to build up evidence of your desired identity.
The problem is that your new identity might be in conflict with your old identity (or aspects of it). Advice: make your identity fluid.
Key takeaways and implementation
Give your habits the attention they deserve.
- If it’s unimportant, let it run on autopilot.
- If it is important, you need to have some system to ensure it’s running properly.
- If your goal is mastery, you must measure and monitor your process and progress.