According to a research issued by Duke University in 2006, 40% of all behaviors of people in daily life are not based on decisions but on habits. The power of habits is very influential. It even can affect a fortune of somebody to a certain degree. Jobs once said that you were cultivating habits in the first 30 years in life while your habits will decide who you are in the next 30 years.
If you observe carefully, you will find a person who is in a mess in his work and life for a long term usually has some bad habits such as disordered routine time, delaying and complaining.
Once habits have been formed, it’s hard for you to change them. What’s worse, a bad habit will tend to bring you a second and third bad habit, forcing you to a situation of despair.
To make distinguished changes, you should try your best to change the bad habits. It’s nearly impossible to change all bad habits all at once because breaking up a bad habit will consume your willpower, which is a very limited source of a person. Those who have great ambitious of changing all bad habits will finally fail in any one of them. So what we’re gonna to do?
The book of The Power of Habit had given us a solution — to find the core habit first. What on earth is a core habit? What effects it can exert on other habits? Let’s see a real case first.
Alcoa is one of the greatest Aluminium industrial companies in the world in the 20th century. It’s business has been spread all over the world and and the zip-top can of Coca Cola is made by this company. But Alcoa met a series of problems in management in the mid 1980s, leading to great reduction in profits and loss of guests. So leaders of this company wanted a new CEO to change this bad situation. Then comes the new CEO Paul O'Neill. By his initial assignment, all shareholders were just waiting some great strategic plans but he only put forward safety problems of works in his inaugural speech. His new measure confused all shareholders but he carried on his plan by striving hard to improve all safety measures in the production process. Years later, net revenue of this company had increased by 5 times, making this company become a leading entrepreneur in this field. With its fast development, work injury rate of Alcoa had also been reduced to 5% of the average rate, promoting it to be one of the safest companies all over the world.
The reason for O'Neill’s success in changing fortune of Alcoa is that he had seized the core problem of it — lacking of safety in all processes. Then he take measures instantly step by step to solve this problem in each procedure in the management process.
O'Neill shares that our time and resource are limited and it’s impossible for us to do all things well and we can’t force others to make changes. So a key solution is to find the core problem and solve it with all efforts. This means to break a stubborn habit of an object and then chain reactions will happen. This breaking point will finally spread in the whole company.
Core habit is like a switch. Once you turn on it, all will change in a long term.
Author of the book of The Power of Habit also pointed out that based on some investigation data 10 years ago, some researchers found that the habit of doing exercise could greatly affect other aspects of a person in daily life. His behaviors will change potentially even if he just does exercise once a week. For example, some people can change a bad diet habit for doing exercise; some people can have better sleep quality for doing exercise; some can even stop smoking, drinking alcohol or using credit card and some are more patient with family members.
Researchers in University of Rhode Island in America claimed that for most people, doing exercise could be a core habit which may cause great changes in one’s life because doing exercise was related to some factors which would lead people to some good habits.
From the perspective of function of a core habit, success doesn’t mean you shall do all things right but means you shall find out those fundamental factors and put them in priority. Then you can make greater changes by this core habit as a supporting point.