January – it’s Resolution Time! Time to wipe the slate clean and start your life all over. In particular, it’s the time to reflect on the past 12 months, and decide what’s going to be different in the upcoming 12 months. I love doing this. Over the years, despite falling short on many resolutions, there are many more that have manifested in magnificent fashion. I have now set my 2017 goals for my personal life and my business, all in the context of the impact I intend to make – “to be a catalyst for the way people live and work, so that they do so with joy.”
Resolutions will likely be in two veins – specific goals as well habits we want to change. In the business world, we refer to them as outcomes and inputs – we decide on the results we want to achieve and we identify the actions or habits we need to take to make them happen. Achievement of lofty goals requires daily focus and practice.
But here is my personal challenge in the daily grind of goal achievement – I travel a lot. Last year, I did well with daily habits that anchored, empowered and inspired me. But this happened only when I was at home. Once I hit the road, it seems I forgot to pack the daily habits. I left daily meditation, exercise, eating well somewhere on Highway 401 on the way to the Toronto airport. Why did this keep happening, I wonder? What is the challenge in daily doing the things that I KNOW are important to my goals? And then it occurred to me: I brush my teeth when I travel. No matter what, or where, even climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro last April where there was no running water, I brush my teeth every day, twice per day. Why? Because it is so deeply-ingrained that it gets done automatically, without even a conscious thought.
So, here’s my public declaration: one of my 2017 goals is to publish my 2nd book. I am about 40% of the way, so I still have some writing to do. My action is to write for a minimum of 20 minutes EVERY DAY.
Have you set your goals for 2017? May I suggest, since this is a leadership blog, that you set one for improving your leadership? Is there a skill you would like to improve? Or something to do with the performance of your team? Now, think about the daily habits you would like to embed to achieve your desired result. Some examples could be:
- I express appreciation to one member of my team each day
- I read a leadership blog or article each day
- I meditate for 20 minutes (yes, this is an excellent leadership practice)
Here are 5 tips to make your daily habits happen:
- Commit to instilling one habit at a time
- Focus on 30-day chunks. It is less daunting to focus on a 30-day time horizon rather than 365 days. you can do anything for 30 days.
- Figure out a cue and reward for the habit. Charles Duhigg in his book “The Power of Habit” posits that a habit consists of 3 aspects – a cue, a routine and a reward. So, in addition to setting your routine, identify a cue and a reward.
- Record your progress at the end of each day or the next morning. This act will keep present to your commitment.
- CELEBRATE whatever you achieved. Didn’t give practice the habit for 8 of the 30 days? Celebrate the 22 days that you did!
Major transformations are made up of small steps carried out consistently and with discipline. Take that small step every day. No excuses. I am sure you brush your teeth every day.
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