Knowing is not doing: The importance of practice in habit changing
Mind the gap!
The London Underground is attached to the phrase “Mind the gap, please. Mind the gap” which warns travelers of the gap between the platform and the wagon over the loudspeaker.
Well, regarding habits, productivity, and management we should set up another loudspeaker to repeat every now and then “mind the gap”, but, this time, to remind us of the gap between what we know and what we do.
Often what it is holding you back, what prevents you from being more organized, losing those extra kilos or quitting smoking is not that you do not know how to do something, but that you have not saved (yet) the distance between that knowledge and practice.
Therefore, for more books you have read about interval training, healthy food, project management or relaxation techniques you still don’t train regularly, keep eating the first thing you catch in the refrigerator (or in the vending machine!), you are still heavily burdened with deadlines and on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
To bridge this gap between knowledge and action, you must first be aware of that “hole” there and secondly, make a decision, motivate yourself, and then, as the well-known trainers’ ad went “Just do it!”. Go for it! This method is applicable to all the important processes of your life: what good is being the official bookworm on maternity if when you have a child you do not put into practice a bit of what you have learned…
This gap between knowledge and practice has preoccupied (and especially occupied!) many people, such us Ken Blanchard, Carl Hesse and Paul J. Meyer, authors of “Know Can Do! Put your know-how into action” (“Saber y hacer” in the edition in Castilian).
In the mentioned work authors argue that the main obstacles to jump from knowing to doing are information overload, negative filter (our natural tendency to give more importance to avoiding risk rather than improve, self-doubt) and lack of follow-up.
Now that we have identified the problems, let’s take a look at the solutions. For information overload, the book “Knowing and doing” recommends applying the philosophy of “less is more” (focus on a few essentials and make sure you learn them well) while for overcoming the negative filter the recommendation is that we avoid “boycotting” ourselves and we listen with a positive mindset.
Finally, to address the lack of follow-up what we need to do is to accentuate the positive, to create a structured process, seek support and take responsibility. In short, we must work with achievable doses of the change we want to make and “digest” them gradually, remind ourselves often why we want to acquire this new habit (what benefits will bring the habit for us or our environment), to set small challenges and reward ourselves for achieving them.
Hightrack can be a helpful tool to achieve these objectives as it allows you to always have a clear reminder of the tasks and their compliance.