Years ago, New York City adopted a version of the Japanese railway system habit called “pointing-and-calling.” Within two years of implementation, the MTA subway system reported that incorrectly berthed subways fell 57 percent.
In other industries, the habit of pointing-and-calling reduced employee errors by up to 85 percent. In factories, it cut accidents down by 30 percent.
The Japanese railway ritual works like this:
- When the train approaches a signal, the operator will point at it and say, “Signal is green.”
- As the train pulls into and out of each station, the operator will point at the speedometer and call out the exact speed.
- When it’s time to leave, the operator will point at the timetable and state the time.
- Before each train departs, staff members will point along the edge of the platform and declare, “All clear!”
Every detail is identified, pointed at, and named aloud. James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, recommends adopting this ritual with your habits. By pointing at and calling aloud your habits, you can bring awareness to those things you do automatically that aren’t helping you reach your goals.
But instead of pointing-and-calling aloud everything you do for a day (that would get annoying for those around you), Clear recommends a simple exercise called The Habit Scorecard.
How to Create Your Own Habit Scorecard
To create your own Habits Scorecard, start by making a list of your daily habits. After you have a full list, look at each behavior and ask yourself, “Is this a good habit, a bad habit, or a neutral habit?”
If it is a good habit, write “+” next to it. If it is a bad habit, write “–”. If it is a neutral habit, write “=”. For example, your list in the morning might look something like this:
- Wake up =
- Turn off alarm =
- Check my phone –
- Go to the bathroom =
- Take a shower +
- Floss my teeth +
- Brush my teeth +
- Put on deodorant +
- Hang up towel to dry =
- Get dressed =
- Drink a Diet Coke –
Our nutrition coaches do this exercise with their clients and have said that the marks given to a particular habit will depend on each individual’s situation and goals.
For example, someone trying to lose weight would say that eating a bagel with peanut butter on it every morning would be a bad habit. While someone trying to bulk up and build muscle, would say that’s a good habit.
Give it a shot today and let me know what you discover about yourself (and your habits).
Complete the following every :30 for 15-minutes: