It Takes Some Planning.
Improving and making enhancements in one’s life, moving forward, are desirable for just about anyone. Most of us have goals and many of us do add a few facets to our arsenal from time to time. Yet, it’s not always easy to reach our goals, and sometimes what holds us back is our old habits. If current habits stand in great opposition to the sorts of qualities required to meet our goals, we have to squash those habits. Not only that, but we must make the new traits habits. The idea is not just to do something new, but to do the positive things as habits.
You might be interested in increasing sales, being less critical of employees, cutting down on caffeine, getting paperwork done more quickly, etc. Sometimes, however, we negotiate with these goals. Instead of saying we’ll always have paperwork done by noon, we say that we’ll do it unless something else comes up, or not on Thursdays because that’s the day we read up on the industry in the mornings. Allowing for exceptions and possible excuses will make it too easy for the resolution to unravel and become just a vague wish to succeed.
Identify The Challenges
Let’s get back to that last example. On Thursdays you like to read up on the industry so it’s hard for you to get your paperwork done early. If you’re trying to be absolute in keeping to your goals and you don’t want to make an exception, you’ll have to think about reading up on trends. It’s a good thing to do—can you get up earlier on Thursdays? Is reading up on trends worth it? Can you treat yourself to a special (quick) breakfast on Thursday mornings to make the experience more pleasant?
How about finding some other time, or finding a way to get audio or video information on the industry while you do paperwork? Can employees make presentations on industry trends?
Don’t just act like the challenges aren’t challenges
Break the Tackles
Let’s say you’re trying to be less critical of employees and on Thursday, right after the paperwork, you snap at Richard, your marketing guy. Fine. One mistake. Stop and consider your resolve, and vow to go out of your way to be supportive and laudatory of Richard twice to make up for this once. That will start to solidify the routine of being more positive—remember it’s habit-building we’re looking for here.
The next screwup, power through as well—use each mistake to strengthen your resolve, kind of like a dieter who runs double the miles to make up for cheating with some cookies.
Track Your Progress
Where are you at day 14? 21? Are you more consistently getting that paperwork done quickly? If you have two or three ways you used to procrastinate, have you kicked at least one of them, like staring out the window, so that it doesn’t even occur to you to do it anymore? Journaling or otherwise being on top of things can be useful here. If you’re making solid progress, you’re fine. You should be hitting your stride by about day 23 or 24, with one week to go.
The idea is to be on a firm footing with the new way of doing things as the month comes to a close. The difficulties should be vanquished and the new way of doing things should be comfortable, on its way to being the only way you’d dream of.