Q & A
Wow! That was 2009!
It’s remarkable to witness the above mission coming to fruition. Scores of new HABIT books and almost 100 new habit tracking apps… There is yet a lot of work to be done but it’s evident that in the last five years the awareness about the positive application of habit to achieve one’s goals has changed dramatically.
Q #1) : Please explain The Habit Factor® in the simplest of terms.
MG: Well, THF actually has two “levels,” if you will. The surface level represents a goal methodology whereby any person can reverse-engineer a goal/outcome – identify its core, related behaviors (Habits) and then foster those behaviors by tracking them until they become habit. This is essentially what the app identifies as Habit Alignment Technology™.
The second definition of The Habit Factor® is a bit more elaborate and esoteric. It becomes a shift in awareness of HABIT –not as a singular word (which, unfortunately, for most people has a negative connotation), but as a powerful, seemingly magical force that resides within our subconscious being. Consider that one definition of habit is a behavior you do without conscious thought. So, when you couple that awareness with the application (app), you gain instant momentum toward your goal. In fact, when you consider that experts tell us that 80-plus percent of our behavior is unconscious (habit), it quickly becomes apparent how critically important it is to consciously develop supportive habits that will drive the achievement of our goals.
Q #2) : You continue to say habit is misunderstood and even completely overlooked. Why? Anyone can see “HABIT” literature seemingly everywhere in books and on the Internet, “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” comes to mind.
MG: Well, HABIT, as the core subject matter (not some list of habits), is virtually unknown, unexplored and for the most part completely misunderstood. Early on in the book, I pose this simple, seemingly nonsensical question, “Why do habits exist?” And, I share a screen shot of Google’s answer:
“No results found.” Eight billion people (two billion online) and no results found? I thought that was curious. It was at that point I recognized how much more there was for us to learn about habit philosophically speaking as it relates to personal achievement, and how our knowledge of the science of habit can aid us in the effort.
When you think about it, HABIT is really the ONLY FORCE that’s ever created anything of value AND it just so happens to be responsible for the composite of an individual’s character as well! What’s fascinating is when you go back in time and research what great thinkers like Confucius, Aristotle, Ben Franklin and William James have all said about HABIT– its significance becomes apparent rather quickly. Yet, for whatever reason, HABIT as a subject matter remains virtually unknown. Those books and websites you’re probably referring to reference habit in the context of a set list or number of habits, yet those ideas lack the FUNDAMENTAL awareness of HABIT as a subject unto itself. What is the point in learning about 5, 6, 7 habits or 8, 10, or 100 habits if you don’t FIRST fully understand HABIT?! I would offer to you this theory: It’s never been about a set number of habits; it’s really about understanding and appreciating the PRINCIPLE FORCE of HABIT. Look, Dr. Covey is brilliant (and a hero of mine), however, if it were about 6 or 7 habits, he wouldn’t have recently released ‘The 8th Habit”. The ultimate value is in appreciating and understanding this powerful gift of achievement — one we all share. That gift is habit.””
Q #3) : You say that SMART goals are slightly stupid. What do you mean by that? SMART goals are the prevailing methodology taught by seemingly every “success” business coach and trainer. Last count revealed more than half a million results referencing SMART goals on Google.
MG: Well, three things are important to know. First, I say SLIGHTLY stupid. SMART goals are great for grasping the CORE criteria required to achieve a goal. That is, helping people get clear on the outcome by detailing things like Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. (Note: Wikipedia will reveal at least three words for each letter in the acronym.) Where SMART goals come up significantly short is they don’t address whatsoever the concept of HABIT. So the question really is, “How good is a goal system when it doesn’t account for the development of core, related habits to achieve the goal? Also, please realize SMART goals were introduced in 1981 in a business magazine. I’d like to think we’ve evolved a little in the last 30 years. I do think it’s important to challenge the status quo or accepted norms and, frankly, for me I struggled using the SMART goals method. So, point #3 is, after you’ve identified all the essential SMART criteria guess what? You’re left with a TO-DO list!
Q #4) : What’s the matter with a To-Do list?
MG: From my experience, the To-Do list gets mixed up with the life To-Do list – you know, feed the fish, wash the car, drop off the dry cleaning, pick up the kids, etc. So, by the end of the day people lie down in bed and wonder, “Did I get any closer to my goal?” The answer of course is “No!” A key awareness is to ensure these lists are separated, and better yet, they should remain unrelated! That’s where The Habit Factor® methodology comes in, because instead of tracking To-Do’s, people are tracking core, related behaviors that will accelerate the achievement of their goal.
Q #5) : What sort of goals have you achieved and helped others achieve?
MG: Well, I chronicle this in the book fairly well, but for me early on I set out to attempt a few athletic events. I was trying to establish some balance in my life, so I set out to complete an elite paddleboarding competition known as the Catalina Classic (a 32-mile paddle across the Catalina channel). Once I achieved it via this methodology, I set out to complete a number of other goals, such as an Ironman triathlon (three times). I started out with zero base knowledge of both paddleboarding and Ironman triathlons. I didn’t own a paddleboard, running shoes or a road bike. But I was able to complete these goals by implementing the Habit Factor methodology. I even applied the Habit Factor methodology to write the book! For other people I’ve personally worked with, the process has helped entrepreneurs achieve their ideal body weight, double company sales, even surf a 30-foot dream wave. Today, the app is heralded by people around the world for transforming their lives.
Q #6) : What is next for The Habit Factor®?
MG: For me, there has been nothing more rewarding then helping people breakthrough their self-imposed limitations. Seeing people achieve goals they didn’t think were possible. That’s why the app has been so rewarding: to distribute this methodology in this simplified format around the world and get nearly instant feedback is terrific.
At this point, there are a number of new projects in the works to help bring THF awareness and methodology to thousands, hopefully, millions more people. One of the more exciting projects is our new, Certified Professionals Program, where other qualified, like-minded coaches can help spread/share THF’s important message and it will really help to differentiate their service offering. These select, Certified Professionals will, over time, receive additional tools, materials and gain additional exposure via THF. Again, this is only be for select, qualified professionals (coaches, trainers, PhDs) from around the world — who certify their understanding via a basic exam and meet other important requirements. As we roll this program out, I’m confident this will accelerate our mission. If you’re a coach, trainer, Ph.D. I encourage you to check out this new, exciting program.