“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Your daily habits ultimately form the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray in both your personal and professional life.
But what if you want to improve? What if you want to form new habits? How would you go about it?
First: HABITS CAN BE CHANGED.
The most important part of habit formation is having the mental energy needed to commit to the new habits. We cannot change habits if we do not truly believe that they can be changed. Here are 4 steps to creating a new habit:
Identify “Why” and Where to Begin
Start with one habit that you desperately want to change or create. Remember to consider the long-term consequences should you continue in this bad habit or putting off creating a new one. The step that many people skip when they think about building a certain habit is they never clearly answer why they want the change to occur.
Why is creating this new habit important to you?
What do you do daily that could remind you to add your new habit to one of your daily routines?
Get dressed? Go to the coffee pot? Go to your computer?…
Think of a reminder or trigger that will tell your brain to add your new habit to the something you do every day. Start by picking a regular part of your schedule and then building another “link in the chain” by adding a new habit. For instance:
Instead of: I will check my e-mails before beginning my work each day
You could change your habits to: Before I check my emails each day, I will reach out to five people I would like to stay in touch with on a regular basis to build our relationship before checking my e-mails.
Track your Behavior
On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact! This means you may need some help staying on task. How long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. The best place to start is to create a plan and write down
We all need rewards, regular rewards that are positive feedback for adding our new habit. Put these into your plan, along with the milestones at which you’ll receive them. Repeat the same action enough times and it becomes a habit.
In general, you’ll find that these four steps fit almost any habit in life and in business. The specifics, however, may take some work. Remember: Building better habits is not an all-or-nothing process. Don’t let failure and guilt stop you. They’re just obstacles, but they can be overcome.
Georganne Ford is the owner of By George Coaching/Consulting, a Bucks County based leadership and personal development coach accredited through the Coach Training Institute. To learn more about Georganne or her services, visitwww.bygeorgecoaching.com or call 215-738-5289.