Some habits are good, some bad. Clearly, we need to keep up with the good habits and dispense with the bad. Easier said than done? It’s easy to fall into a pattern of behaviour without realising that it’s become a habit – that’s fine if it’s a good habit and not if it’s not.
For example, what do you do when a bill comes in? Do you pay it immediately or wait until the last minute? The way you pay bills is a habit and one that may need to change if you do the latter. Paying bills on time generates goodwill. Try it and see how many times your suppliers thank you for paying so promptly!
Achieving Goals by Creating Habits
There are various methods to help you achieve your goals, including creating habits. Ask yourself daily what needs to be done. Look at a process that needs doing regularly and form a habit out of it to help put your progress on autopilot. Good habits help you achieve success far quicker.
Perhaps you’ve decided to write a book. Start by scheduling some specific time in the day or week – when do you do your best writing? If it’s morning, set a schedule to spend at least two hours writing, from 9am every other day, for instance. Or daily if other commitments allow. When you’ve made a tangible effort to schedule that time, you’re far more likely to do it and progress.
Habitual Examples that May Need Changing
- Time Management Habits: Do you have a habit of procrastinating? When you’ve completed something from your to-do list, perhaps you give yourself a treat immediately rather than getting on with the next thing. At the day’s end, do you look back and realise you could have achieved more? Perhaps you’re rewarding yourself a tad too much!
- Small Business Habits: Many SMEs fall into the trap of “That’s just how we do things around here.” You get into such a routine of doing things a certain way over the years that you’re blinkered into how things could be done differently – faster, better, more efficiently. Then, as new people join your business, you perpetuate the problem by teaching them the same old ways. Does this sound familiar?
- Tradition or Habit: Traditions can form accidentally. As above, doing something the same old way without questioning the benefit or value it provides, or how it can be improved, keeps you trapped and your business stagnant. Whereas doing something in a different way, over and over until it becomes a new habit, can help you escape the old tradition and move on to greater things.
- People Pleasing: Do you struggle to say “no”? Are you a people pleaser? That could also be a habit. You may be in the habit of saying “yes” to people because of wanting to please them, and then you end up doing things that you don’t need to do, shouldn’t do, or that distracts you from your own tasks and goals.
- Conditional Habits: Sometimes, things become so ingrained that we don’t question them, even when the instigator is someone else. For instance, you’re asked to produce a monthly report but then you’re criticized for not putting any formatting in the report. So then you do it as a matter of course, without question. Think about the habits you may have picked up from colleagues over the years and ask if they really are the best way to do things, the most efficient way.
Challenging Habits in Yourself …
Have you fallen into the ‘bad habit’ trap? Could you do with some help? My way of helping is to challenge your existing habits. I’ll ask questions about why you do something a certain way, not necessarily to change it as it may already be the best way to achieve that process. It can be enlightening to have someone with a fresh set of eyes looking at how you do certain tasks.
To make sure you’ve got into the right habits for what you need to achieve, review where you’re heading. Scrutinise how you’re currently going about things to help you see where you need to change habits and take different actions to reach your goals. This is where coaching is extremely beneficial. Repeated actions become habits, and habits become easier the more you do them, being far more efficient as long as they’re the ‘right’ habit.
- Are you an Ostrich with a habit of burying your head in the sand hoping the problem will go away?
- Or are you a Meerkat, always on the lookout for how to do things better?
… and Challenging Habits within your Teams
Habits need to be embedded within your teams, too. That change in routine may well need some active management to help them get into the new way of doing things, strengthening their new habits.
It’s important to embed habits that embody your business values. Is everyone consistently behaving the way you want them to? Consistency becomes the habit, applying to both personal and business values. Embrace your business values and create new habits for all to naturally follow.
My Coaching Clients
Every month, my clients sit down with me to review their progress. We have the dates in the diary in advance as part of our planning. If you don’t plan ahead – in this case, put the dates in the diary – you’ll have good intentions to review things but often won’t follow through on them. Good intentions need to turn into habits in order to make progress.
To make progress and achieve more than you have been, maybe you need some coaching.
As always, do get in touch if you’d like to meet for help, advice or simply a catch-up coffee (and cake!). I’d love to hear from you. Call 07766 004964 or click here to email me.