When it comes to reaching new levels of success in our lives, we tend to think the things that we don’t know restrict us. We think that there must be something that we are missing or some piece of information that will unlock the ability to reach the next goal.
I have always been an advocate of education. I have gone to school for advanced degrees and taken classes just to learn. I feel that knowledge is power and we should all remain on a quest for new information.
But what I have found is that behavior beats knowledge. Behavior is a much more powerful force in our life.
Financial guru Dave Ramsey often talks about behavior changes in order to get out of debt and build wealth. One quote speaks to his understanding of the power of behavior over knowledge. He says, “The thing I have discovered about working with personal finance is that the good news is that it is not rocket science. Personal finance is about 80 percent behavior. It is only about 20 percent head knowledge.”
But this isn’t just personal finance. How many of us know how to exercise but struggle to exercise consistently? Is it because we don’t know the value of exercising or because we haven’t mastered the behavior?
In fact, we might say that the knowledge around these things is common sense. But it isn’t common behavior.
So if we know how to do something but still struggle to do it consistently we have to change our mindset. We have to better understand the underlying systems and habits and focus our efforts there.
The systems and habits approach to improvement is all about changing the behaviors. It focuses on making small, easy adjustments and doing them over and over again. Instead of trying to do something difficult, we break it down into smaller elements. Then we work like hell at doing the small things over and over again.
Doing this results in new habits being formed. Having these positive habits is important and allows us to add more and more. We don’t struggle just to do something consistently enough to see success.
To me this is how to use behavior to reach goals. It reduces the reliance on information and it gives us the ability to use the information we do receive. We can then work to implement the things we learn.
By taking on the behaviors in our lives we start to create new patterns. These patterns of behavior are very important. If we deliberately create them we start to find positive habits that can drive us towards success. If we don’t make them a priority we tend to form bad habits that hurt our chances at success.
Whether you want to improve your personal finances, exercise more or reach just about any goal, then look to the systems and habits approach to give the guidance on how to change behavior in a positive and meaningful way.