Hi, I’m Dr. Roger Hall and this is Roger’s 2 Cents.

In this video series, I answer questions that people have sent me. If you’d like to send me a question that you’d like my 2 Cents on, you can send it to :

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Boise, Idaho, 83716.

So here I’m going to answer this question. If I come up with a good answer you’ll get to see this video. If I don’t, it’ll never see the light of day.

So, I’d like Roger’s 2 cents on this question. “Execution Is the key. Old habits die hard. Thoughts?”

Execution is the key. People like me, consultants, we love to talk about vision. But all that doesn’t really matter if you don’t have people getting the job done. So, I’d encourage you to first of all, work on execution, working on getting things done. The world was built on people who just woke up every morning and were diligent. I would put my money on a diligent “B” student than a brilliant “A” student who doesn’t have a work ethic. So I absolutely am a fan of diligence.

But the second one is the one I want to focus on, which is old habits die hard. Absolutely. You’ve probably heard that old consultant phrase that “It only takes 28 days or six weeks to change a bad habit.” Well, that’s a lie. It takes a lot longer than that it. And the reason is in adulthood, you’re not learning new behaviors. You’re not learning new habits that often. You’re really substituting an old bad habit with a better new habit that’s almost exactly like the old habit. So it’s very hard. And the reason is every time you engage in a behavior, be it a mental habit or a physical habit, your brain is laying down neural pathways.

It’s growing neurons and connecting those neurons that are like fingers on your hand and they grow more and more fingers. They’re called dendrites to carry that message. And if you’re trying to unlearn a habit or learn a new habit, this old set of neurons, this neural pathway it’s called, needs to be pruned back from disuse and the new neurons need to grow. Well, it takes a long time for the brain to grow and it grows throughout adulthood, but it takes a while to get there. So if you think you’re going to learn, you know, you’re going to get rid of a bad habit in six weeks and six weeks later you’re feeling miserable and unhappy because you haven’t been able to do it. Well don’t worry about it. Nobody else has done it either.

If you’re going to learn a brand-new habit that may only take you three days. So you remember when you first got your first smartphone, when you got your first smartphone, you’d never interacted with, with a piece of glass before, unless of course you were sitting on the school bus drawing pictures in the fog on the window. But besides that, it didn’t take you more than maybe three days to figure out how to interact with this and learn how to thumb type with some degree of ability in only a few days, but learning something that’s almost like something you’ve learned years ago, that’s harder and harder to do. For example, if you’re a golfer and you get a bad golf swing, relearning that swing will take you a lot longer than learning the original bad swing. Which is why learning habits well at first is the key to success.

And that’s Roger’s 2 Cents.