First we Form Habits

“First we form habits, then they form us.”

—Jim Rohn, late American Motivational Speaker

image of The Power of Habit Book Cover

How much do you like yourself?

To what degree do you give yourself the seal of approval for who you are and what you do?

These questions are intended to gain an objective perspective on your current habits because in many ways, we are our habits for both better or worse.

One way to get a clearer picture of your own habits is to observe others in your personal and professional communities. Who do you admire and respect? What habits do they exemplify in their daily pursuits?

Conversely, who are the people you dislike or feel critical toward? What habits do they have that cause you to feel this way?

EXERCISE:

What is a bad habit you want to eliminate or replace with a good habit? Which of your good habits could be even better?

Consider reading Charles Duhigg’s 2012 book, The Power of Habit, to help you form yourself into the person you aspire to be.

Leave the familiar

“Leave the familiar for a while. Change rooms in your mind for a day.”

—Hafiz, 14th Century Persian Poet

Image of a small boy walking on the beach

Image from Unsplash by Andre Mohamed

One of my favorite quotes is, “When patterns are broken, new worlds will emerge,” by Tuli Kupferberg. In a nutshell, it points to a primary reason the coaching process works to support all kinds of professional and personal change initiatives.

Unfortunately, this can be quite difficult due to entrenched ways of thinking and acting that have become habituated over many years.

The good news, supported through today’s quote, is that we all can begin to grow and change by taking baby steps rather than quantum leaps, to better our worlds.

EXERCISE:

Experiment today by intentionally deviating from the familiar in your thoughts and actions. Please consider replying to this post regarding what occurs when you change things up a bit.

The Gist of New Years Day

“The gist of New Year’s Day is: Try Again.”

Frank Crane, 20th Century American Film Director

Image of a woman holding a calendar

Image from Unsplash by Brooke Lark

If you ever established a New Year’s Resolution and came up short, you are not alone.

Statistics show over 90% of people have the same experience.

Studies have shown that even when doctors tell heart patients they will die if they don’t change their habits, only one in seven will be able to follow through successfully.

It appears that desire and motivation aren’t enough, even when it is literally a matter of life or death.

It is also clear that the status quo has a pretty tight grip on what Roger Kegan calls The Immunity to Change.

What patterns of thinking and doing would have your “Try Again” efforts work this time?

EXERCISE:

Beyond limiting your focus on fewer priority objectives, consider adding a wide variety of social and structural supports to bolster your motivation and ability to succeed this time.

For everything you have missed you have gained something else

“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th Century American Essayist

Book Cover Image

I have some bad news.

You can’t have it all, despite what the media and marketing industry tells you.

I also have an abiding faith that you can have many of the things you deeply desire if you recognize and embrace the concept John Maxwell calls the “Law of Trade-offs.”

As an example, I am an early-to-bed-early-to-rise kind of guy. Given this habit, I fully recognize that I miss late-night events many people relish for their daily efforts. What I gain is the rest and added vitality to wake up refreshed, go to the health club, and be fully present to the clients I am committed to serving.

EXERCISE:

Where can you apply the Law of Trade-offs to intentionally choose things you are willing to miss in order to gain even more of the things you value?

Are you following a path or blazing one

“Are you following a path, or blazing one?”

-Michael Bungay Stanier, Sr. Partner of Box of Crayons

Image of a path in the forest

Image from Flickr by Vinoth Chandar

We are all creatures of habit. Just take a look at a typical day to explore all of the routines and rituals that engage your time.

The good news is that habits are often extremely helpful in that they usually provide us the necessary momentum to pursue and achieve many of our goals.

On the other hand, new goals that we passionately desire rarely come to fruition because we continue to follow our current path, using familiar strategies and tactics.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what personal or professional goals is blazing a path the thing to do to achieve what you most desire? What new and different behaviors and attitudes will be required to do so?

Invest in Knowledge

“If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the highest return.”

—Benjamin Franklin, American Founding Father

A client recently shared with me a book titled Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals by Tom Corley.

From Corley’s years of research into hundreds of rich and poor people, I learned that of the wealthiest people:

  • 88% read for 30 minutes or more each day.
  • 63% listen to audio-books during their commute.
  • 94% read about current events.
  • 50%+ read biographies of successful people.

In contrast, only about one in fifty of those struggling financially engaged in daily self-improvement reading.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you invest the time and resources in your personal and professional development efforts to lead an even more richly rewarding life?

Be at war with your vices

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”

-Benjamin Franklin, American Founding Father

Image from Quote of the Day

I like bargains and two-for-one sales. This quote is a three-for-one! In Ben Franklin’s time, the word “vices” perhaps meant “behaviors that do not better oneself or another.” Today, I suggest we consider them  “bad habits” instead.

The idea of being a better person points to our ability to learn, grow, and improve as individuals.

Exercise:

What bad habits/vices will you declare war upon? In which relationships will you make a stand for peace? In what ways do you intend to be a better person in this new year?

you are what you eat

“You are What you Eat.”

Image from eslforeveryone.com

Image from eslforeveryone.com

Most health and fitness experts would agree with the truth of today’s quote. Who would want to live their life as a baloney sandwich? Or a deep-fried Twinkie?

Based on my research, here are the foods that should be on everyone’s shopping list:

Spinach Beets Watermelon
Berries Sweet Potatoes Grapefruit
Salmon Tomatoes Asparagus
Avacado Kale Kelp
Quinoa Beans & Lentils Cabbage
Broccoli Cantalope Eggs
Almonds Artichokes Chia Seeds
Bananas Lemons Dark Chocolate
Nuts & Seeds Garlic Cauliflower
Mushrooms Coconut Watercress
Wild Rice Honey Maple Syrup

EXERCISE:

Consider going on a food safari to bring more of these life-enhancing foods into your kitchen. Even small adjustments to this part of your lifestyle can make a big difference.

 

good habits over good luck

“I’ll take good habits over good luck.”

—Brendon Burchard, American Motivational Author

Image from bodyforwife.com

Image from bodyforwife.com

Samuel Goldwyn’s famous statement, “The harder I work the luckier I get,” points to our ability to create our own luck, or at least become more successful through our own committed efforts.

Examine your good habits, and those of people you admire, to see what positive and favorable outcomes result.

EXERCISE:

Rate your habits in the following areas on a scale of one to five, with one being poor and five being high. What efforts might be required on your part to be the one that people admire?

Relationship Management Health and Fitness Personal Development
Community Involvement Spiritual Growth Work Ethic
Avocations and Hobbies Financial Freedom Family

Inspect what you expect

“Inspect what you expect.”

-Paul J. Meyer, Founder of the Personal Development Industry

Image from Flickr by Kate Ter Haar

Image from Flickr by Kate Ter Haar

One of the primary reasons people experience varying degrees of upset in their lives is unfulfilled expectations.

When we believe that something is supposed to happen, such as a friend or colleague making a promise on which they do not follow through, our blood can boil a bit.

If we take coaching from today’s quote, and inspect what we expect, we can often shift our expectations on the fly. This will reduce negative consequences considerably. On many occasions, the added attention we give to such matters increase the odds of our expectations being fulfilled.

EXERCISE:

How would the practice or habit of inspecting what you expect impact your personal or professional worlds for the better?