024: Michael Bungay Stanier, Conversation 2: How to Create Habits
Michael’s schedule turned a modest one-month challenge into a five-month one.
Many would give up. I suspect most people respond that way to environmental challenges—when it gets harder or unpredictable, they abandon it.
I wondered how Michael would handle it.
Needless to say, he stuck to it—amid the extra time, involving his wife, travel, and more.
What do you know, the challenge was easy. Not trivial, but something he could have done earlier.
Michael is an expert at creating habits, so if you’re listening in part to learn to create yours, his story will help.
He called some conventional wisdom on habit formation “bollocks,” which made me cringe. Until I heard his explanation, which taught me new things and made more sense than what I thought before. I consider myself knowledgeable and experienced on habit formation.
As usual, success involved turning community into a teammate. In Michael’s case, he enlisted his wife’s help and (mutual) support. Sound obvious? It is with experience, but most people find other people obstruct their habits.
Michael’s story isn’t the first where a challenge others might consider big became easy. He described the resulting feeling as warm and fuzzy.
My big lesson
My big lesson was that it’s hard to do big things when you haven’t done the small things.
But doing the small things enables the big things, so doing the small things helps. The key is doing, not just talking, planning, or settling for awareness.