As I re-read “The Power of Habit” I recall some incidents from life:
During the 90’s and upto the mid 2000’s we were heavy Soda drinkers. Our home was stocked with a minimum of 10 liters of Soda bottles and the family raced to finish them every week. We had the fear that there won’t be any left if we did not get to the soda first. Children would check the levels of Soda bottles first thing in the morning, because it would have been consumed after their bed time. (And probably make a mental check of consuming them when they returned from school that evening)
During one visit to Costco, I got home a case of bottled water, though we were using Brita filter to purify water. This was something new. This led to a dramatic change in our consumption of Soda. Everybody in the household held onto bottled water. Since we did not consume alcohol at home, to keep the taste buds satisfied I bought cases of Fuse for the men in the house. This led to a dramatic decline in us buying Soda itself. We limited Soda consumption to restaurant visits or for special occasions / or when we had friends over. To this day, this habit has stuck.
That is when I realized that everyone wanted to eat and drink healthy, but grabbing a cold soda was easier than pouring water from the Brita filter onto a cup (and the Brita water was not cold, so they had to add ice to it – or if it was the grownups they were so lazy that they always needed someone else to get them a cup of water filled with ice). We were inserting many reasons for not drinking water. But stocking water bottles or Fuse in the fridge was the answer. Now the choice of drinking healthy was easier.
To continue the thought process and discoveries of making a small shift, during yesterday’s meet-up I suggested we discuss the power of shifting one small habit and identifying the ripple effects and unintended consequences.
This was the first time for my team to articulate in a sequence about a habit and both members present chose to discuss their need to drink Soda.
And we detailed about the Cue, Routine, Reward and Craving.
We discovered that they have been working on changing the habit by doing the following:
1. Limit stocking at home 2. No impulsive buys 3. Drink colorless soda 4. Drink carbonated water. 5. Focus on health 6. Get noticed by not ordering soda at restaurants.
For one of them the unintended consequences were the following: 1. Her child has reduced her consumption of Soda. 2. Proudly talks about it, and is a cheerleader to her mom.
Thus my belief that “Make one small shift and the world will realign” continues to gain momentum.