Habits are interesting parts of our lives. They are things we just do naturally! A habit is what we respond with, or fall back on when everything else fails. We often do habits without thinking, some are really good and some are very bad.
There is a saying that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. The truth is: the only habits that should be deliberately developed are good ones that replace bad ones.
It was Samuel Johnson who said, “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken”. Good habits and bad habits need equal attention.
May I suggest the following steps to help you create or change a habit in your life?
1. Identify the habit you want to change. Over the next several weeks I am going to give you some that I think every leader needs to have, and if they don’t already have them, they need to be working on them. To change or develop a habit means you have to choose to be focused on that one habit for at least 21 days.
2. Write down why you want this new habit. Place these notes (maybe use sticky notes) around the house, in the car, on the desk. Whenever you feel like letting it go, or skipping it ‘just once’, reread why you want it.
3. Mark your calendar. It will take three weeks, 21 days, to began to accept the new habit. Stephen Covey, who wrote the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, says, “We become what we repeatedly do”.
4. Watch your self-talk. Tell yourself that you can succeed in this. Do it! Tell yourself that you want this more than whatever else is tempting you to stop trying. Don’t allow yourself to say, “I can’t”
5. Keep it going. When the month is up, start a new habit. I will send you a list of suggested habits a leader should have, things he needs to do naturally. Don’t forget to keep practicing the one you just changed. Make it a habit to develop new habits and in just a year you will be a different person.
Mahatma Gandhi said “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”
Let’s start with the habit you already know you want to change or develop.
You know what to do…do it!
I send you the list of important habits for a leader to develop, one by one, soon.