September 16, 2020

120: How to Develop Effective Habits for Managers

Habits dictate anywhere from 40-80% of our daily actions, according to the top habit researchers. These behaviors occur with minimal conscious thought, enabling us to focus precious brain power elsewhere. The challenge is that most of our habits have developed organically and were shaped by factors other than our values, knowledge and goals.

In this episode, I share some of my favorite learnings about habits after years of following the top habit researchers. I discuss the famous Habit Loop, some tips for how to successfully change your habits, and how to write a habit statement that can help you transform your behavior and thought patterns.

The full episode guide includes an overview of habit formation and tips, along with prompts, examples, and worksheets to help you reflect on your habits and craft your habit statements. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community or purchase the full guide at

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Read the related blog article: Design and Build Successful Habits for Managers

Key Takeaways:

  • A habit is a behavior or thought-process that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.
  • Habits are not inherently good or bad. They can be both things you do and things you don’t do. They can happen daily, weekly, monthly, annually or whenever triggered
  • Habits are generally formed organically based on our values, desires, culture, and environment.
  • The habit loop has three components: (1) The cue: the signal to do the habit, (2) the behavior, and (3) the reward: the benefit or reinforcement to continue to link the cue with the behavior.
  • Cues can be internal (emotions, instincts), external (visual, environmental), time, place, etc.
  • Behaviors can be both actions and thought patterns e.g. When she turns in work late, I think she doesn’t care about her job.
  • To change your habits, try applying the following tips:
    • Make the new habit as small as possible so that it’s a no-brainer to do it.
    • Set up the default in your favor so there are fewer roadblocks.
    • Create the ideal environment that facilitates the desired behavior or inhibits the undesirable behavior.
    • Look for the first action in a routine and build a habit around that first action.
  • Write a habit statement that defines what the ideal behavior is, when, why you’ll do it.
  • While motivation cannot sustain behaviors or habits, it is an important factor when developing habits. Consider setting a 1-3 month goal with a specific reward to help you embed the habit.

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