How come that your habits can be both, friends and enemies?
Habits drive our life. More than 80% of what we do every single day is based on habitual action. This is true for the good habits we all have which support us in all positive and productive action. However, it is as much fact for any bad habits we may have that do not necessarily result into positive outcomes. The reality is that anything we act on habitually we do very well and actually also very efficient.
What does this mean in the context of personal development and improvement?
Considering the fact that 80% of our daily actions are habitual the low hanging fruits in personal development are to deal with our habits, the good ones helping us to progress, the bad ones holding us back and those that we potentially should have but have not developed yet. A key observation comes to mind: Habits are not genetically inherited, they are acquired over time through consistent repetition. To enhance them, change them and make them work for us requires diligent effort, purposeful planning and thorough follow through. Uncompromising self-discipline is a significant factor in managing our habits towards positive results and many of us recognize the need for help and support in such an endeavor from a qualified coach.
What could be a valid process to alter and manage habits for success?
The recipe to achieve habit positive development is simple and it comes in the form of a few three step process modules
- Identifying and documenting a list of all the good habits one has already established.
- The same step has to be implemented for the bad habits one has unfortunately internalized and this step requires uncompromising self-honesty.
- Come up with a list of desired habits not yet established that will help to further better outcomes.
There is one little caveat to consider. There is the accepted concept of “blind spots” everyone inherently has. These are areas in our habitual behavior we do not see, recognize or understand hence will be unable to address without outside support. These areas are called blind spots because we are blind to them. The good thing is other people, especially a trained coach, can see them and can help to make them visible to the individual in question.
When the first three step module is completed one can enter the next phase of dealing with the habits. Again, my recommendation is another three step module for each habit category.
- Prioritizing based on importance to your progress, the impact on your desired results and lowest necessary effort to execute.
- Chose the three top items on the list and develop a written plan for execution. Make sure the defined goal is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reasonably high and Time specific). A SMART goal statement must meet all 5 criteria.
- Set your plan into action by picking the one you feel you can achieve in the shortest time with the lowest effort to create quick success stories for yourself. Remember, success breeds success and much of this process has to do with strong believe in yourself!
Once the first goal plan is instituted and you maintain continuous repetition you may want to add the next goal plan to your agenda and continue to do so diligently one at the time – maybe on a weekly basis. To make things easier on yourself you could start with a good habit you already have and purposefully enhance it to strengthen your results before talking bad habits which will take much more effort and discipline to create the change you desire.
After some time you will find yourself getting into a routine (aka habit!) of systematic habit changing! After all you will also begin to see outcomes materializing that you did not see before or would not have thought possible in the first place.
If you want to make this endeavor produce results quicker and more efficient engage with a qualified professional coach. Good luck!