Behaviors & Habits with Donna Leyens
So when it comes to behaviors inhabits they are entrenched in us there's a great book I encourage every check out called the power of habit there's an author named charles do higa wrote about this fascinating stuff but study of habits and he found that when it comes to habits like smoking for example, gambling that the people that air are smoking realize that smoking is a true risk to their health uh you know it can and proven to kill you yet that knowledge alone isn't enough for people to stop smoking so what do they do? Um, most people can't change their habits at all, so what they do is they wait till they have a heart attack or some severe experience in their life and then that's enough to change them over but they found there's another way to make change too it's capturing the momenta more the behavior that's already exists in the person, so if you're a smoker the fixations and your commune aural fixation and save having a cigarette comped your mouth can we replace that with a pie...
ce of gum? Right? And peoples can now continue their habit of putting something in their mouth, but now they replace it with something it's safer and they found that to be a very effective way of capturing habits so we all had habits that are established I'm saying instead of trying to change our habits because sometimes you need a cardiac arrest to do it can we leverage the habits that we already have all right um also our default habits are revealed and excitement and stress so the smoker just to pick on smokers for a little bit that habit is a smoker may be able to stop smoking when things are normal you know life is ok they can put it down for a little bit but then stress comes uh someone calls and says you know there's there's a problem going home we're going to need you back home what do you do you like a cigarette or excitement? Hayman congratulations we just landed the biggest client we've ever had great let's let's light up the cigarette and we lit up a cigarette so habits that are ingrained in us often reveal themselves in the extreme ends of excitement or stress and so we may fool ourselves time saying we've kind of captured and how that have under control and then it starts getting out of whack a couple more things I want to talk about but I'm most interested right now and bring in a friend of mine her name is donna lines donna is a the co founder with me for preventive group is a consultant group we started years ago and she was on this very stage last year she has spent a a good portion of her career studying behaviour and implications and business and once we understand what she's about to teach us and we're gonna have a little dialogue about you're going to start understanding how your behavior is affecting all part of your business including your profit so donna are you with us I am high my there you are I can't see if I can hear you how are things in new jersey any earthquakes out that way no but I heard that you went out to california and the earth shook yeah exactly that are playing had a tough landing it was really we kind of hit and so that's why so yes so welcome did you have a chance to watching a little bit too what we were just talking about yes I've been watching I did have to cut out for about the last ten minutes will well they got me set up so and then I just heard your last few minutes so I apologize if I repeat anything that you've already said well if it's a dirty joke you're about to reveal then you'll ruin it because that's what I was doing the last ten minutes was a sturdy I assumed that yeah yeah so tell us a little bit about habits and its implications in business if you could kind of give us an overall perspective of how important it is and how it affects business is yeah well I think the place to start is by talking about what is a habit because we use that word we throw it around all the time but do we really know what it means? Ah habit is something that is it's a behavior that we do almost automatically on autopilot it comes ingrained in our brain and it has different components to it so there's usually a trigger you talked about smoking just a minute ago and how excitement or stress could trigger the urge to have a cigarette so they're different triggers that will say to you or say to your almost subconscious brain it's time to do this behavior and then there's a reward so and the reward isn't necessarily somebody pays you money or is you a cookie but it could just be you take a few drags of your cigarette or you drink that coffee and you get some sort of physical feedback that is a positive report for you so happened is a loop and we we need them we really cannot function in our lives without habits because imagine if everything that you did all day long you had to think about each time you did it and I'm sure everybody out there has experienced that's where you you don't you do something that you do so automatically that you don't even remember doing it sometimes or um let's say you drive the same route home from work every day and you've decided today I'm going to make a detour I need to stop uh at the store on the way home and the next thing I know you find yourself in your driveway and you never made that detour even though maybe you thought about it a minute before it's because the habit is so strong that your brain goes on autopilot so so that's what I have it isthe and you can imagine how it affects your business and how it affects your ability to make change in your business. Well, you were saying a habit is like a circle or a loop I know you've told me there's elements to that least I believe you told me there's elements to this loop there's pieces to it. What are the pieces to the habit loop? Right? So there's the trigger was that there? Is that something that happens that makes your brain think I need to start this on date could be anything so if you exercise every day, maybe the trigger is you see your workout clothes and your gym bag in your car and that's the trigger or you know, if you get up and have a snack every day at three o'clock there's a trigger, maybe the trigger is you look at the clock or it could be something else but there's always something that triggers your brain to say it's talking to do this, have it and then there's the behavior the actual thing that you're doing it could be you know, I look at my bank account every day it could be I checked my stock account every day it could be, you know, a zillion different different things I don't know if you're a runner, mike, I know a lot of people who are runners, they they have to run every day and if they don't run or they have to run, whatever period of time that they let's say they run three times a week or every day or they feel I like, you know, they were welling compulsion to do it that's because there's a there's a loop, a cycle that starts with the trigger and then you do the you know, you do the action whether it's running or smoking a cigarette on guy actually recommend running over some cigarettes for both raid south ainsley what? What? What? Just rewinding. What is that? You said there's a trigger. So for the runner, for example, what would be an example of a trigger? I so understand that part it could be it could be anything but it's part of your routine soon. Oh, and an example of the trigger would be if you run first thing in the morning, it could be your alarm clock going off I got and if you run at lunch it could be everybody around you going out to lunch and you're you're saying or maybe it's your hungry your stomach is rumbling but you run before you age or so it's whatever that that signal that happens that starts so what if that signal does not happen? What if if the signal is my alarm clock going off I run what if I get up in the but not because of the alarm clock does that mean that habit doesn't happen or what's the effect means it's harder for it to happen and you have to make then it becomes a conscious decision okay a conscious act it's a great question I personal life what I found is I exercise the same time every day and people think I'm crazy I get up in five thirty in the morning to exercise and and they'll say to me how could you possibly do that that's too early but it's become such a habit with me that it feels weird to me not to do it but conversely, if something happens and I can't exercise first thing in the morning I couldn't walk around all day and my answers and never get back to exercising because the trigger of waking up and getting out of bad and going right to the exercise machine has passed so you're saying that that habits are necessary and important but there's also bad habits like the cigarette may be an example do you want to, in certain cases, to do more of a habit, put mohr triggers in place? And when you don't want to have it removed, the triggers, where's, the triggers even important? Well, removing the triggers is definitely helpful, but there's something that you have to understand about have it there have been studies, you know, they can look at your brain in an m r I and see and they can actually see patterns in your brain. Well, there have been studies that show that habits never go away. Once you've formed a habit, those patterns in your brain are there forever. So it's really fascinating to me that even if you change a habit and you don't do that happen anymore if the stimulus if the trigger happens, those neurons in your brain still fire so it's, very difficulty. You actually cannot get rid of a habit, but you can override it or change it. Okay, that makes sense. You know, I totally makes sense. So let me ask you the question specifically to profitability. So as we were starting the the first segment we did, we talked about the checking account. I threw it up on the screen that you're using now about what we showed it on the screen. And we saw the bank balances and I put up just random numbers two hundred fifty thousand or two thousand and said which one is the good one and instantly people we go the bigger numbers better how does this howto habits in this process apply when it comes specifically to money trigger and have it routine? Well, I don't know if you talked about this already, but there is the really good example of how this applies when you did you talked about the parkinson's effect? Is that what it's called his lawyer parkinson's law and it applies here too. So if you are habit is teo look at your financial statements you're going to have a different view of your business then if your habit is to look at your bank account bend's rate so in other words, you have to look at what your habits currently are and decide how are those behaviors helping and hurting your business? If you were going if you wanted less it's really easy to say I wanna eat less or I want to save more money or I want to make more profit but that's way too general okay, but what you could do is we know let's say your habit is I always know my plate with food and I eat everything on my plate so we know this this has been studied that if you maintain those same habit but reduce the size of your plate, you'll eat less so it's the same thing with running your business if your habit is to look at one account and that's how you do your accounting, you know that's how you determine how you're doing, then if you reduce the size of that a cat and you start moving the money into other accounts so let's say you set up an account for accounts payable so that the money comes out of your cash account you know your checking account then you don't see it anymore because you know that that money is going out and you look at your account and maybe you don't maybe you just got in a two hundred fifty thousand dollars check is you said, but you can still look in your bank account but you'll only see maybe fifty thousand dollars in there because two hundred thousand has gone out to these other accounts so you're you're not changing your habit, but you're changing what you see and how you configure your so you show your changing the trigger is that changing the trigger? I guess you know it's the same trigger, so whatever triggers you to check your bank account, we'll keep doing that you released me ok exactly, so if you're you know, I'm sure there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there who understand what a financial statement is maybe they've been to business school but they also know when you start up a business they're they're a little bit of overkill to start doing balance sheets and cash flow statements and you know so what you do because you do the bank balance accounting and that becomes your habit so instead of now trying to say right now I'm going to do that or budget and I'm going to print out all these reports and try to understand what they mean if you keep the same habit but what you see isn't is more of a reality then you work with what you see now you you said donna, I think I heard the three elements trigger behavior we do the action for me was action and in reward yes, but now I'm thinking with like, what are the rewards with smoking or I mean anything that happens that are negative or spending all our money in our account like is how zahra reward for that that that doesn't make sense to me there's always some reward and it's and it's personal so smoking I'm not a smoker so I couldn't tell you specifically what it does but it it does trigger a physical reaction okay overeating okay we've all seen people who maybe gorge themselves on e too many deserts or just eat too much at dinner and fifteen minutes later they're mounting a grub bounding off why did I do in the moment there's a reward and it's the same thing with I believe with anything you do in your business there's always a reward in the moment so like spending money maybe you buy a new piece of equipment so you feel great oh, I find out this new equipment but then you look your bank account and then you start punishing yourself exactly I mean, you will if you do going to feel bad about it now does this result in kind of we're talking about the survival trap earlier does this result in kind of a circle of ah trigger behavior reward? I'm thinking I had money uh mike, can I see it? That means triggered I do the behavior of spending I buy that new computer equipment I wanted I feel the reward of the new equipment coming in then I see I have no money to run my business so I start panicking do I want is that a trigger again to actually buy mohr and continue this habit just to get the quick fix of the rewards the endorphin release or something? I think the trigger is seeing the money in your account what what else you want to share about habits that I haven't touched on? Well, I think you touched a little bit on this earlier but a big piece of of your habits is self control and in order to number one in order to foreman who have it, if you want to make a change, it takes about three to four weeks of doing that habit consistently in order to form a new habit. But you also have to realize that you may have these moments where you slipped back into your old patterns, you may say, well, I know that I'm not really supposed to spend all this money, but we really, really need that piece of equipment and the money sitting there, we really we really want to do this advertising campaign and the money sitting there, and the key is to remember that self control is actually a muscle it's like a muscle. So if you're making the decision, have the end of a hard day, you're going to have a lot less willpower than you will when you're feeling fresh and energised in the morning. So even the time of day that you make your financial decisions and the kind of day you've had up until that point can make a difference on whether you make a smart decision or not. Yeah, that was when we were preparing for this class and you were sharing willpower with me. I thought this was amazing. I think the exact words, maybe you just reiterated here, he said. Well powers a muscle, it fatigues, the more you use it. Is there a best time a day to do the tough work when it comes to managing the books and making tough decisions? I think there's a best time of day force for you, and for me, I think it's probably individual, so for me, I would say the morning is probably the best time of day because I'm not worn out. I hopefully haven't been completely frustrated yet I haven't had to exercise a lot of self control up until that point, but you have to kind of know your own rhythms and no, you know, some people are not morning people at all and are kind of tired, feel tired and have less willpower in the morning, but feel great in the afternoon or if do you have to know yourself? All right? And do you have a method to getting to know yourself? Isn't just self observing or, um, a great method to getting to know yourself, and also to helping you stick with whatever plan you've come up with to make a change is to journal and to write, take a week or two and just write down you're doing at different times of day. And journal about what it is that you're trying to observe so obviously can't write down every detail that you do, but for example, if you were trying to diet and your goal was to lose ten pounds, you would keep a food journal and journal about when you eat what, what food you ate and what was going on. And interestingly, there have been studies that show that when you do this, you start to transition from just keeping track of what happened in what you did into how you're going to handle those inflection points. Those moments where it is difficult, where you are attempted to cheap, where you are, attempted to fall back into your old habits, and once you plan that you're more likely toe have the willpower to stick with that's fantastic, and I wantto show the audience here and watching remotely. Ah, little trick you taught me about journaling. When comes the habits. If you have questions for you specifically about how it's gonna email you directly, your because the website was a preventive school dot com. So the website is prevent his group p r o v e n d u s dot com, while prevent this group dot com and you can reach me at info. I n f o prevent this group dot com okay, thank you. And I'm gonna try throw something at you now, but I couldn't so thank you, dina. I appreciate it. We'll catch you later. Okay? All right. Good luck. You're doing great. Fascinating. Ah, and I've had the privilege of working with donna on specific projects and she goes in, she gets these root kind of behaviors that businesses have there's one company, which I don't I want to share. Their name was a nice size company about a five million dollar organization that was having problems in one their departments, uh, in the sales department. And donna was studying them, and she came back. And she said this email, this one email template that form is triggering people to respond negatively internally, they don't like what it says, if we just change his email, we're going start triggering positive responses and sure enough, they change the way this email was written. The salespeople became more confident and it really improved the business. I'm in show you this cool thing that's in the book power of habit by charles do big donna teaches this too. Anyone here have a habit that you want to break uh, you want to share publicly? Yeah, my biggest business habit that I hate and need to change is that I'll plan my stuff that I have like I have my list of things I need to do when I'll plug it in and all the life okay? And then I'm going to plan this and it's going to be like this, right? Because you need a plan, we do stuff and then things kind of I don't work my schedules a little crazy and off most the time and so things change and I don't follow the plan and so then a couple weeks later, I forget to make a plan so your habit that you want fixes, you come up with a plan and then you don't know, I don't know and then I forget like, I'll do like the stuff on like that week or I'll do it for like a week and then or to soldiers and then I forget, so when you don't do you don't are you know what? What's triggering a certain time and use that term trigger. Do you think you get distracted by email to get distracted by certain things doesn't get distracted by like all the extra stuff have to do like that like that the trigger for not doing something you want to do is you getting distracted by something? And what? What are some of the common things that distract your email kids, family house work, house work okay, so there stupid things on the internet, but I shouldn't be serving in a big surf the internet because I suspect we all experience this here's a little tool that is really powerful. If you have an objective, I want to be more organized and commit to my plans and have a habit of surfing. The internet was one things you shared that is detracting from it on a piece of paper next to wherever you do this, have it at your computer right down having to change and then the habit you want to fix serf aimlessly on pc years on computer. Okay, then below that right. This is my handwriting is miserable. This is the word thought and this says did ok in the rest of paper's blank. Now, what you need to do I want to do is when you're at your computer, if you think about doing this activity surfing on the pc, all you do is put a check mark on it. So second, you and you realize you're having a thought of surfing on your pc. Put a checkmark on the on the piece of paper, then if you do it or don't doesn't make a difference, but if you do do it, just put a check mark next to okay what's amazing about the system, how many times you end up catching yourself, sir, from the p c five ten times a day, probably. Ok. Ok, good. So what should happen is you start doing this, you may not catch it every time, but you'll notice I'm thing about surfing the pc check. Check, check. What happens by doing this process is this brings a subconscious behavior. Ah thought which is being triggered by something to a conscious level because most habits are executed unconsciously. This makes it conscious when you start putting a check mark down was gonna happen, pearson is you're going to say, well, think about surfing their pc, your heads and what was just happening. Oh, I just got an email chime in my email and bleeding, so I went to email and then once the internet and by the fifth or tense check, maybe after the twelfth day of doing that, you'll say, every time my my email was bling, I start going on this surfing habit. You will start identifying your triggers if you want to control of your habits, you have to know your triggers and most of us don't, and this is the simple behavior now that did column is very interesting to so first of all, you have the thought, and that tells you the triggers this did tells you the reward and the routine, so when you have a thought of surfing the internet and then you start surfing the internet and you check it off, you'll now come conscious, aware, why am I doing this? I just want disconnect from the real world for a minute, what's the benefit because I did this connect or so forth, but when you don't do the have it, you will also start identifying a reward with it, you say, oh, I had the thought of surfing the web, I'm deciding not to do it. I kind of feel good that I didn't do something I don't want to dio yeah, and you'll start recognizing you're not doing it. We'll start building, you are rewarding you, you'll start replacing the reward with a new reward, not doing the habit. So this system ridiculously simple, ridiculously effective, I've done this for many of my own habits I wanted to change, and I think within thirty days, not even ten days of doing system like this you've become is extremely conscious of the behaviours you have what's triggering it, and you'll find your own ways toe not do that have anymore replaced with something else.