Habits are created by repeated behaviours, so choosing the right ones is important.

We need habits to function.

Habits are behaviours that are so ingrained that they can be entirely managed by our unconscious mind.

They are automatic behaviours that we do not need to think about for them to happen.

Habits are created by repeating a behaviour.

If you repeat something regularly it will become routine so that you do not need to invest time thinking about it.

If you repeat that routine enough it will become a habit.

So how do you train habits?

One way is to use the four stages of learning any skills, the Four Stages of Competence by Martin M. Broadwell regarded by some as the “Father of Training”.

Broadwell introduced the idea in of four stages of competence in a short article on Teaching For Learning in The Gospel Guardian in 1969.

The first of the four stages is “unconsciously incompetent”: you are not aware that you are incompetent.

Broadwell gives the example of a teacher who is poor at teaching and does not know it.

You need to recognise this incompetence before you move onto the next stage, “consciously incompetent”.

At this point the teacher has become aware of how bad he is.

When you are consciously incompetent, you recognise that you do not have the skills to do something well.

You are willing to make lots of mistakes to learn.

You find it takes effort and concentration to improve.

As your skills improve, so does your competence: you become “consciously competent”.

At this stage, the teacher is good and knows why.

Eventually the skill becomes second nature and you become “unconsciously competent”.

This leads to efficiency: the skill becomes a habit.

It also has risks, because you may become complacent.

As Broadwell points out, this may lead others to say “Good teachers are born, not made. You either have it or you don’t”, because the teacher is good but no longer knows why.

The teacher can no longer transfer their skills and if they lose them, no longer knows how to pick them up again.

For this reason, maintaining a degree of conscious awareness of the skill is good.

As you work out your steps, think about what skills you need to achieve them and ask yourself:

  • How can you can quickly become consciously competent?
  • How you can maintain that state of mind?

If you feel that you would like to hear more about creating good habits, come to the next IMPACT Goal course.

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