In the previous post, I described how I picked forming mourning exercise routine as my goal. Today I will show you how I analyzed this choice to decide whether to invest resources in actual formation of the habit or to switch to something else.
While formation of a habit is a huge effort, the full analysis of the picked habit is also a substantial job. Therefore, to minimize possible waste of time and energy, I created a transition step between picking and analysis – the preanalysis.
I started with filling out the Pretest Worksheet, which is a part of a workbook that you can download if you buy my book Habit Launch.
I noted down obvious benefits of the chosen habit: better fitness level, faster wake-up, more strength and stamina.
Then, I wrote down obvious benefits of doing nothing: more time for sleep or deep relaxation, less fatigue (short-term), time saved if I abandon the habit before investing a lot into it.
Next, I noted all other (often hidden at the first glance) benefits of chosen habit and doing nothing.
After that, I chose motivations from the master list presented in Habit Launch book, and added my own motivation category of Maslow’s Low Hierarchy needs. Then, I connect my motivations with the identified benefits. For example, I wrote a little F mark to connect Family motivation with more energy to play with kids, mental relaxation, and feeling that I care about my health. I made similar connection for Autonomy (A), Creativity (C) and Maslow’s Low Hierarchy needs (MH). Sometimes, I linked multiple motivations with a single benefit; for example, mental relaxation got the jackpot.
This is what I’ve got:
Benefits of habit
- MH; better fitness level
- MH; more strength and stamina
- MH A F; feeling that I care about my health
- MH F; more energy (in long distance)
- MH; improved muscle elasticity (when I add some stretching to the routine)
- MH F A; more confidence, mental relaxation (as we say in Poland: “in healthy body, there is healthy spirit/mind”)
- A; proof to myself that I can (“success births success” as goes another Polish proverb)
- F; more energy to play with kids
- MH A; take my health in my hands
- C; ability to form my own best, personalized routine
- Faster wake-up (indirect benefit that I want)
Benefits of doing nothing
- more time for sleep or deep relaxation
- less fatigue
- time conserved on planning the routine
- feeling that I fully respect my laziness
- possibility to brag how lazy I am and how it still doesn’t destroy my relatively fit body
When every benefit has at least one linked motivation, I noted down the costs of habit, costs of doing nothing, and a special costs of inaction. Here is what I’ve got:
Costs of creating chosen habit
- relax or sleeping time
- energy (temporary)
- willpower at the start of a day (temporary)
- sore muscle (temporary)
- need some effort
- possible injuries
- possible wife’s opinion that I care too much about myself (temporary)
- Risk that potential failure discredits my book
- Some time for preparation that could be used on different activities (one-time cost)
Cost of inaction
- Long-term decrease of energy, stamina and health’s level
Costs of doing nothing
- No energy to play with kids
- Foggy mind (physical exercise is the best form of mental relaxation)
- Worse health, or need for compensation in other areas of life to ensure proper balance
Score of preanalysis
I liked what I noted, so I decided to invest more resources into a habit, and begun the next step – full analysis.
The analysis is basically an extension of the preanalysis. However, preanalysis is mainly about verifying, while analysis adds preparation of the best possible mindset to the equation. Analysis is also the first optimization step of the process.
The first step in Habit Launch formula is checking if you can point to a single core activity as an essence of the chosen habit. You can’t do that for morning exercise routine, so my habit is complex.
Therefore, in the second step, I created the outline for the complex habit. I deconstructed the routine into three chunks that also cover the goals I would like to achieve with my new habit: I) stretch the spine, II) increase heart rate and build muscle power, III) build muscle elasticity and cool down.
In the third step, I made a negativity and positivity assessments by listing inner conflicts, mindset incompatibilities, fears, resource scarcities and negative characteristics of the chosen habit as well as straightforward benefits, pleasure and fun, and hidden benefits. After that, I updated my pretest worksheet using collected data.
Analysis by comparison to solid alternative
You rarely abandon the habit on later phase than the fourth step, which is probably the most important stage of habit analysis – comparison of the chosen habit to another solid option. Such a universal alternative is doing nothing, so I called the phase validation vs doing nothing. Because of the importance of this step, and the possibility to attack the problem using various methods, I will show you how to cope with this topic using three different approaches. But this is a subject of the next article in this case study series.
This article supplements my book: “Habit Launch: 10-Step Formula to Tailor Routines You Love to Perform and Skyrocket Your Well-being” by Gregor Moniuszko. For checking it out, click here.
Click Here for the next post of the Author’s Case Study series.