Washing your hands - and other things on habits

Daniel Janes

Why wash our hands? Because time has shown again and again that it is a useful way of limiting the spread of certain viruses. So what do we do? We make a habit of it. We reinforce these habits through repetition. We learn why they are important and either internalise these values and do it because we know they are good for us. Or we do it because we are punished for not doing it, such as by our parents as we learn these habits growing up. Yet what if we don’t have someone standing over our shoulder to tell us what to do and where we are going wrong?

The fear of the spread of a virus might be enough to remind us to wash our hands, yet the likelihood is that we’ll forget here and there, and need reminders to change  long held habits. It’s also not the only thing that needs to be done so we reduce the priority in our minds, yet it’s still important. As a result, we don’t wash our hands as frequently as will be needed to reduce the spread of a virus. Even if a practice is in our interest, we often need reminding to do it. So if the threat of a deadly virus isn’t enough to change behaviour then what chance do we have with behaviours to help with our business growth? After all, we want to be more successful, yet it isn’t life threatening. It’s hard, yet it is possible. You can use reminders, you can get a coach, you can delegate to people capable of carrying out the task for you, or you can use a system such as the Claritao Campaign room that deals with your delivery schedule so you can limit the demands placed on your own plate, and let a system carry much of the weight for you.

Habits take time to form, yet once they have they take time to break. This applies to positive as well as negative habits. Therefore, if you’ve been engaging in negative habits for some time you are likely to take a while to break those habits. So you need some support to help you or nature will take over. Don’t be hard on yourself, put systems in place to help you, and remember, do yourself a favour, and those around you, and wash your hands a little more.

Nir Eval discusses habit forming in his book Hooked which I have on kindle (see his blog here). It’s a must read for product managers and entrepreneurs working on platform products. If your CTO isn’t speaking about forming user habits, move on, or give them this book to get up to speed - fast. It’s about shaping user behaviour which can help set positive habits. That is a form of manipulation, so use it with caution, and for good. You can help users form good habits, which is positive, or you can lead them to form negative habits, which is not so good. I’ll be exploring this more as we help our users form positive behaviours to grow their businesses.

We know the value of habits in achieving goals, having learned to  and first hand the effects of not forming them, and putting them into practice individually and in systems  get in touch if you want help with your habit forming so are well placed to advise on implementing them if its something you find challenging. Habit forming in your online platform. How can you apply habits to your platform? We'll be sharing this in an upcoming post, so sign up to stay posted on the latest issue.

Most importantly, wash your hands, partly paranoia no doubt, yet every other person out and about seems to have a cold, you never now a few of them could be passing Corona around. Just be on the safe side, consider the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Who knows the extent of it, yet hopefully it will get under control soon.

For health related advice for the corona virus, which has been a theme in this article, see the following to the NHS link.  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ We covered this as it's topical, and to serve as a reminder to wash your hands, and stay safe - as well as a reminder to look up other advice on the matter.

For business habits and advice feel free to get in touch. Amongst other things, we undertake copywriting and digital system design to help you and your customers achieve their goals, and habit forming is a handy part of the tool-set.



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