harnessing the power of habit

Harnessing the Power of Habit

Last week, we talked about the importance of thriving as your own person. In order to inspire others to be at their best, you must be at yours.

Sometimes, a mindset shift must be made, new habits built to support a belief that it's important to enjoy life, to enjoy work. Because:

"You were not put on this earth to work, pay bills, and die." - Les Brown

If you are only focused on your job, you will lose the perspective needed to inspire those around you whom you need in order to do your best work:

"You can't do a good job, if your job is all you do." - Katie Thurmes, Forbes

As we know, behavior change is one of the most difficult tasks for us humans, we like to do what we've always done. Personal change takes effort, practice, attention, and feedback. When you look at that list, change is demanding.

But it’s also important.

Let’s break down behavior change with the following 5 steps, knowing is half the battle.
(P.S. This works for all behavior change, to help stop doing one thing and do something else instead).

Step 1: awareness. The first step to solving a problem is knowing there is one. Assess your day, what do you want to change? The good news? Once you are aware, your brain picks up on it, you will begin to see it happening in real time.

Step 2: understand how motivation works. You are not going to get motivated to work out by thinking how you should be working out rather than watching Netflix. You get motivated by doing. By doing that first push up, that first pose of downward dog. Then, you'll be motivated to do more. My dad used to always tell me: the hardest part is putting on your running shoes.

Step 3: have a plan. Last week we talked about taking the time to have a transition period from work-you to home-you. In order to make that transition when you come home, you need a way to interrupt your current routine. (Not having a plan is planning to fail).
The wonderful part of a routine is that it is automatic, but when we must change that, we need ammunition. One of the simplest ways to do this is an implementation intention: "When I (habit you want to change) pull into my driveway, I will (new habit) take 4 breaths."

Step 4: visual support. Even though you have a plan that doesn't mean it's always going to work. It's going to be hard to remember and challenging to be consistent in carrying out. Putting up these reminders of the results you want, your why, and/or the implementation intention itself supports you to make this active change. (i.e. a post it note reminder on your dashboard).

Step 5: celebrate your wins. There has got to be some celebration and fun along the way. So each night you are successful at disconnecting from your phone from 5-7, or that you are completely focused on helping your kid with their homework, or that you taken your 4 breaths 3 days in a row, you must at minimum have a happy dance about your efforts and success. Fun is good for you.

More helpful articles about habit change and thriving as a person in order to lead:

Some great advice on building a new habit is referred to "habit stacking." You tag the new habit onto an existing one. If every time you pull into your driveway you pull up the emergency brake, that can be your trigger to take your breaths. BJ Fogg (father of behavior change and habit building, Stanford), gives perspective: A Stanford professor's elegant three step method for creating new habits

Perhaps, you feel all is well. Take a look at superstar executive coach Marshall Goldsmith's 20 Habits to Break to lead better. This is from one of my favorite and highly recommended books What Got You Here, Won't Get You There. You may be suddenly aware of a habit that is holding you back or getting in the way of your success.

In this ingenious talk, Pulitzer Prize winning writer Charles Duhigg seamlessly combines informational facts from research, anecdotes from real events, and personal experience with insightful observations to explain why human behaviors are compelled by habit.

Rooting for you,

Karyn