It’s 6:05 in the morning and my life is flashing before my eyes. I’m sitting on the train staring out the window. Places I have good memories with, places I spent my childhood at, places I see every day, and places I haven’t seen for years all are captured within minutes during my morning commute to the office.
I’ve been commuting for over 30 years, but this time it’s a completely new experience, fairly comparable to the pain, time, and glory effect!
Finally, the train hits the railway station and I get off with the sense if I were enjoying my summer holiday. This is my first commute with a new route and it’s part of a 30-day trial.
I opted for this new route because I would very much favor the train over other means of transport and it offers a slightly shorter commuting time.
What does it have to do with productivity?
Simply by changing my route (and means of transport), I’m now likely to quit three bad habits I’ve been struggling with for years. This post is about to show you how anchoring your desired habits to a key habit―taking a new commuting route, in my case―could help you to establish good habits or fight bad ones.
Habits come and habits go
We are what our habits made us. Successful people know that and establish good habits and then build on them to achieve more. Productivity, in a large part, is about creating and leveraging good habits. The morning routine is a good example. Productive people have morning routines and follow through each and every day to maximize their potential.
I’ve been struggling with sweets, sedentary lifestyle, and shutdown rituals (leaving the office), among others. Studying the science of habits and experimenting with different tricks have worked, but I haven’t yet achieved a breakthrough.
I’ve learned that there’re three tricks that can help you to deceive your mind: elimination, automation, and delegation.
By choosing a new route to my commute, I
- Stopped buying my favorite bakery product (elimination) [the bakery isn’t within my reach]
- Integrated regular (2 x 20 minutes) walking into my life (kind of automation) [the railway station can be reached with a 20-minute walk]
- Forced myself to leave the office at a certain time every day (kind of delegation) [otherwise I would miss the train and should wait an hour to catch the next one]
As a bonus, I earned my long-awaited TWWT (Thinking-While-Walking-Time). My walking time from and to the railway station offers a great opportunity to pause a bit and reflect on my day.
What’s more, my new commuting routine ensures that I sustain my reading habit―reading on the train (2 x 30 minutes)―and enjoy my travel time.
I have to add that I needed to cement my key habit (taking the train) first: I bought a high-priced season ticket to ensure that I don’t quit. So I have no option but taking the morning train. This is an approach professional coaches have been using for many years: they suggest that you hire them so you won’t quit. This time I “hired” the railway company to coach me. 🙂
This was a short post and kind of a personal reflection on establishing new habits by simply leaving no place for other option. My new commuting routine allowed me to quit, or at least alleviate, three bad habits: eating sweets, not moving, and not living the office in time.
Only time will tell whether my new commuting routine could sustain my desired habits in the long run, but I’ll give it a 30-day trial. 30 days for two reasons: my season ticket is valid for 30 days and it’s often considered as the minimum time to cement a new habit.
Do you have a similar experience with habits? Please leave a comment below.
Your one takeaway: Find a key habit that you can build on to establish good habits.