As we look at procrastination and our habits, let’s take another look at Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit. (Habit Help, June 8, 2015)
Duhigg’s research helped him discover the habit loop. I experience a cue which moves me to follow a routine which results in a reward. All this is driven by a deeper craving (which may be the reward itself or the reward may be significant in light of the craving).
Duhigg wanted a cookie every afternoon so he’d go buy one and chat with colleagues. Study of his habit revealed he really wanted social interaction. By changing his routine from cookie eating to apple eating or walking to another’s desk, he was still able to receive the social interaction he actually desired. (Plus, he lost several pounds.)
There are some habits Duhigg calls keystone habits. These are habits on which other habits rest. Or, one habit leads to another.
Considering this, I’ve been seeing bedtime as a keystone habit. Bedtime affects wake up time, productivity, exercise, feeling good, energy level, clear thinking. So I asked my husband if he would be willing to support me in changing my habit of staying up too late.
He said, sure, he’d be glad to support me in that. “But I don’t think going to bed earlier is the keystone. I think the keystone is eating dinner earlier. When we eat dinner late, we naturally stay up late.”
Praise God for husbandly insight! He often sees beyond what I can see. We both want the reward of time to relax at the end of the day. The sooner we enjoy “down time,” the sooner we are ready to go to bed.
This is working! Long ago my husband asked for dinner at 6:30. Now I understand. As he says, everything can fall into place, we’re not rushing, and it’s better healthwise. Our evening is much better – and the next day is too!
Ladies, let’s help each other on this one. I urge you to study yourself and find a keystone habit that leads to other habits. Ask somebody else for his or her observations. Dig far enough to find the actual keystone. Maybe you’ll be surprised like I was.
What keystone habit do you find? What other habits does it lead to?