Habit before the habit

Habit before the habit (Hh) is a behavioural change methodology created by our CEO Stuart King, that encourages people to ‘run the experiment’ until healthy habits replace the old ones.

Why is this important?

Hh is the result of over a decade of on the ground delivery, primary research, academic evidence and pulling together the most important elements of behaviour change from the fields of psychology, behavioural economics and sociology. There is a wealth of evidence that underpins the Hh methodology, which makes up the training and development process for the BeeZee Bodies team. However, it can be boiled down into three simple principles that explain the rationale for the experimentation process used in all our services.

 

People aren’t as rational as they think

People don’t make decisions as rationally as they think they do, often being influenced by the way choices are presented to them, what people around them are doing, what they have done before and by other situational or environmental cues. Behavioural economics experiments from the past 40 years have emphatically demonstrated the predictability of irrational choices people make systematically.

"What the hell" effect

Because we expect to achieve our rational goals, it can come as quite a surprise when we fail to meet our own expectations. If you set a goal of not eating cakes, but then find everyone around you eating cakes, you might be tempted to eat a mouthful, then maybe a half. And you can’t just leave half a cake sat there! Very quickly your compromise to your goal gets worse and it can be the start of the ‘what the hell effect’. This is something most people have experienced. You tell yourself that you will start again tomorrow. Ironically, because you have already failed that day, it can be the source of a few more slip ups before the ‘reset button’ is hit! In reality, tomorrow starts badly and becomes the second nail in the coffin for the behaviour you were changing and that is often the end of the road for that attempt.

We all have a ‘planning self’ and a ‘doing self’

Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel Prize winning behavioural economist who spoke about there being 2 selves, or 2 systems for decision making. System 1 is the ‘experiencing self’ or ‘doing self’. This is you, in the moment, making decisions based on the information in front of you and very often acting instinctively and subject to all the environmental, social and structural influences around you. System 2 is the ‘remembering self’ or ‘planning self’. You make plans that you are adamant you will stick to. However, it is human nature to underestimate the factors that will throw you off course and prevent you from reaching your goals. An example is planning to exercise early in the morning; simple? The alarm is set for 5am and you are sure you will wake up fired up and ready to go. 5am rolls around and the last thing you want to do is jump out of your warm bed, find your kit and exercise. ‘Snooze’ is a much easier and more appealing option in the moment!

Running the Experiment

To combat the three phenomena that most people experience when they are trying to change engrained habits, we use Hh by ‘running the experiment’. This is simple but not easy. However, when people stick with it, this can be the difference between making lasting change and giving up.

The Mechanism we use to help people make change
Plan

Plan for the parts of the experiment that might not work by thinking through and identifying the potential risks and where we might fail.

Understand

Understand that although some parts of the experiments might work, some definitely won’t work. This is the nature of experiment and prepares you for the inevitable need to try again.

Experiment

Experiment, Fail, Learn, Repeat! Run the experiment and gradually iterate towards a successful outcome.

Behaviour Change by Stuart King

See Stuart in action talking about the mechanisms for sustainable behaviour change

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Stuart King - CEO

For more information about The Habit before the habit methodology please get in touch with Stuart's Hh Team.

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