|Last week a client shared that even though she knows what she wants, and knows what she has to do differently to get there, when push came to shove…she caved. |
And she got the same old outcome.
Her anger with herself was heartbreaking.
It took me to a scene in the Odyssey. Odysseus asks his crew to lash him to the ship’s mast when they pass the island of the Sirens, so he won’t give in to temptation.
Intention only takes you so far when life happens.
If you have goals that you start out determined to reach….but your resolve gets bitten away by little bunnies….or by boredom, and you start to see the mirage that says you can still get what you want by doing things the same old way. Then listen up.
Here are my top 5 ways to tackle habit change:
1. Don’t make it forever
Nothing kills joy like thinking you’ll never be able to have that piece of chocolate cake again. Or that you’ll never enjoy the rush of pushing the team towards an ambitious deadline (even though you push too hard). Or the fun of cracking a joke during a serious meeting (even though you know it’s distracting). To take the pressure off, just do things differently once. Don’t worry for now whether you’ll ever do it again.
2. In fact, commit to 21 days
To change a habit, you need to retrain the body and spirit, not just the mind. You may feel good from doing things differently once, but it takes longer than that to retrain yourself. 21 days is the conventional wisdom.
3. Make it bite-sized
When my clients have an insight about something they want to do differently, I can see their eyes go wide, and their minds race. They know this thing is going to be good for them, so from this day forward, they’ll do the new thing. To which I say, “Just because it’s good to run five miles a day, doesn’t mean that’s your ’new normal’ starting tomorrow.” You have to build a new habit by first walking, then combination walking and running, then building the running. If there is something you want to do differently, break it down. Commit to doing it twice or three times in a week, and building from there.
4. See if you can find a support buddy
If you can find someone to engage in change with you, do it. It helps so much when we don’t go it alone.
5. But…keep it to yourself too
Yes find a buddy, but don’t tell the whole world. One of the strangest things about change is that even when people around us say they want change for us, they kinda resist it. And the last thing you need when you are trying to change your habits are naysayers.
So there you have it! Easy right? Well, easier now that you have the steps: Don’t make it too big, or forever, do find support, and don’t overshare until you’re ready.
If one of your goals for 2021 is to improve your time management skills, check out my Time Management for Balance, Connection and All-day Energy
All my best,
PS: At Clear Strategy Coaching we offer group and customized programs for rising middle managers, senior leaders and teams who want to deliver extraordinary results. To learn more about Leadership and Career Clarity, and Team Clarity, click here (http://clearstrategycoaching.com/team-clarity/) or write to firstname.lastname@example.org