It’s Week three of our Resilience Challenge, and following on from our great event last week on Goals, we now want to turn our attention to routines, and the daily practices we take to achieve them-Habits!
You can sign up now for our next event this Wednesday morning with Tamsin Webster, Chief People Officer for N Family Club, where we’ll be discussing habits in depth. Grab your free spot and bring a friend.
“If your habits don’t line up with your dream, then you need to either change your habits or change your dream” – John Maxwell
We all have habits, but whether they work for or against us is another matter. When things outside of our control happen they can often break our habits or lead us into falling back on habits of comfort. Right now what you need to be thinking about is structuring the good ones, tweaking the so-so, and working towards removing the bad.
For us to reach our goals, we need to have daily and weekly habits. As we saw last week, our lives’ purpose – short or long-term – should shape the goals we set and work towards. Those goals are then broken into steps, and ultimately, they form habits.
There are habits that you do daily that move you closer to your objective. There are others that you need to stay mentally and physically in the best place to accomplish those objectives. Simply put, if you say you want to run a marathon but you don’t make running a habit – well, then your habits and goals don’t align. You’ll always feel bad, and never feel good!
Habits, done daily, build momentum, they move us closer to the finish line we set ourselves. But they do more than that.
If you choose to accomplish the good habits you set yourself, day in and day out, you close the gap between who you are now and who you want to be. They are behaviours to reach your purpose.
How do you set those good habits? We start with the Why – or rather, the If/Then.
Using statements such as “IF I want to achieve X or be Y, THEN I have to do z.”
These are driven by your values, your purpose, and your goals.
A few examples:
IF I want to find a new job THEN
I have to commit time to work on my CV
I have to apply to at least two new roles daily
I have to check Juggle daily
IF I want to improve my self-confidence in order to be better at sales THEN
I have to commit to daily reading of personal development books
I have to practice daily affirmations
I have to challenge myself to try a new pitch daily
IF I want to increase my monthly recurring revenue by £10K per month, THEN
I have to commit to contacting 20 new business leads per day
I have to write content for marketing each week
I have to network once a week
IF I want to run a 10K by October, THEN
I have to commit to training 3 times per week
I have to eat healthy food
I have to prioritise getting 7 hours of sleep each night
IF/THEN is a great exercise to run through for all the areas in your life that you want to improve. You already know what steps you have to take daily to get where you want to, the first hurdle is starting!
It’s worth noting that if you do the IF/THEN exercise and end up with a list of 20 new habits, where most are daily, you’re going to be completely overwhelmed. After trying for a few days, you will likely struggle to keep going.
Start small, focus on one or two areas of life or goals, and make them a priority. We’re not just talking about establishing new good habits, you’re going to need to cut back the bad habits as well – and it’s hard to stop a habit and start new ones all at once. So, go slow!
Keystone habits are a great place to start. These are habits that have a knock-on effect in various areas of your life. You need to have a balance between the habits that will get you closer to your goals, and those that allow you to perform at your best. And right now, that performance part is critical. We’re talking about self-care, the things we do daily that means we are looking after our mental and physical health.
Example Keystone Habit
An example of a good keystone habit would be making sure you move for at least 30 minutes a day. Whether it’s a gentle walk, yoga, a run, or a kickboxing class – use your body! Why is this such a positive keystone habit? Well, we all know the answer to that. Endorphins will lift your mood, you’ll lower your stress levels, you’ll have a clearer mind, and all the other health benefits we’re regularly told about. Hell, even if you just put on Girls Aloud on full blast and dance around your house – that will lift your spirits.
Another good keystone habit would be drinking a large glass of water as soon as you wake up, or journaling. The physical and mental benefits will help you accomplish everything else you want to do.
A great place to start is to incorporate personal development into your morning practice. I’d highly recommend reading The Miracle Morning, which uses S.A.V.E.R.S as a rule of thumb to start each day. You get up earlier, and do the following six activities but build it in such a way that it works for you.
Removing Bad Habits
Triggers have a lot to answer for our bad habits. Unfortunately, you can’t remove triggers without a lot of work, and it’s rare to get rid of them. What we have to recognise is that you can tweak the reward and the reaction.
We are all triggered by five different sorts of events, which can be both positive or negative, but we have a particular reaction each time.
For instance, bad reactions might be:
IF I am feeling sad or stressed, THEN I have a pizza or a large glass of wine (and sometimes I might then feel worse!)
IF I got some bad feedback at work and feel like a failure, THEN I have to scroll through Instagram and compare myself to other people.
I’m using this as an example because I think a lot of people would have these reactions. But we have to recognise a pattern in our behaviours and try to change the reaction and reward.
That might look like:
IF I am feeling sad or stressed, THEN I have to eat something nourishing for my body. I have to put how I’m feeling on paper or call a friend, and I have an early night.
IF I get some bad feedback at work and feel like a failure, THEN I have to write down five things I accomplished recently. I have to look at all the other things I did well, and I have to see my failure as a learning and look at how I improve.
Take the goal you set last week and write your IF/THEN statement – look at the habits you have to do daily/weekly to achieve it.
Now, look at the bad habits you have that might get in the way of achieving it. Write them down, and then put a ring around the reaction and reward, write a new IF/THEN statement for your triggers and set yourself some positive habits to work through it.
NEXT WEEK! Changing Direction
Pivoting into week four (see what we did there…). We’ll be joined by Sophie Adelman, President of WhiteHat, and Sarah Furness, Mindfulness Coach, to discuss what to do if your current path isn’t the right one.
We’ll discuss figuring out when is the right time to pivot, how you can figure out what to do, and how to manage your team and yourself in uncertain times. Get your free space now!