On October 18, 2019, the World Trade Center in Boston hosted an enlightening keynote presentation by two distinguished experts in the field of habit forming and behavior change: Dr. Kyra Bobinet, CEO of EngagedIn and Fresh Tri, and Dr. Judson Brewer, director of research and innovation at Brown’s Mindfulness Center. During their talk, they shared science-based insights and strategies that challenged conventional beliefs about behavior change. Their collective wisdom shed light on the importance of mindfulness and iterative approaches to fostering lasting, positive habits.
The Myth of Willpower
Traditionally, many people believed that sheer force of will was the key to overcoming bad habits and initiating positive changes in their lives. However, both Dr. Bobinet and Dr. Brewer emphasized that this approach often falls short. Relying solely on willpower is a losing proposition, with a success rate of only one in ten attempts.
The Power of Mindfulness
Instead of relying on willpower, Dr. Bobinet and Dr. Brewer urged the audience to embrace mindfulness as a potent tool for habit change. Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment, which allows individuals to develop a deeper understanding of their habits and behaviors. It’s about being aware of the triggers and emotions that underlie these habits.
Making Mindfulness Mindless
Dr. Bobinet made a thought-provoking statement during the presentation: “Mindlessness is the new mindfulness…unless you make mindfulness itself mindless to do as a habit, it doesn’t do anything.” This counterintuitive concept suggests that mindfulness should become an automatic and intuitive part of our daily routine, rather than an effortful exercise.
The Iterative Approach
Both experts stressed the significance of being iterative in the process of behavior change. Instead of sticking rigidly to a single approach, individuals should be open to trying new methods and adapting their strategies as needed. It’s essential to view setbacks not as failures but as opportunities to learn and grow. This flexibility allows for a more sustainable and effective path to habit transformation.
Patience and Persistence
Replacing old, unhealthy habits with new, positive ones is a gradual journey that requires patience and persistence. Dr. Bobinet and Dr. Brewer emphasized that change doesn’t happen overnight. It is crucial to celebrate small victories along the way and not be discouraged by occasional setbacks. Consistent effort and dedication are keys to achieving lasting behavioral changes.
The keynote presentation by Dr. Kyra Bobinet and Dr. Judson Brewer at the World Trade Center in Boston shed light on the science of habit change and behavior transformation. Their insights challenged the myth of willpower and emphasized the power of mindfulness in understanding and reshaping our habits. By making mindfulness an effortless habit in itself, individuals can set the stage for successful behavior change. Adopting an iterative approach and maintaining patience and persistence are vital to forging new, healthier habits that can lead to a more fulfilling life. So, the next time you embark on a journey of self-improvement, remember to be mindful, patient, and open to adaptation. That’s the science-backed recipe for real and lasting habit change.
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