“Before you try to increase your willpower, try decreasing the friction in your environment.”
—James Clear, Writer, Entrepreneur and Behavior Science Expert
Image from Unsplash by Sandeep Singh
In any new coaching engagement, it is very helpful to examine the personal, social, and structural supports that are already in place.
Better outcomes are unlikely without a significant degree of motivation, ability, and willpower.
Having the social support of friends, family, and colleagues provides both encouragement and accountability.
Structural support is often trickier in that environmental cues already in place often trigger old, entrenched habits that do not serve new behaviors and better results.
Explore James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits for more ideas on this subject, and his 1-2-3 Newsletter to get you thinking differently to create better results in many areas of life.
I also recommend the book Influencer — The Power to Change Anything for other strategies to decrease the friction in our environments.
“Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.”
—Leonard Cohen, late Canadian singer-songwriter
Image from Unsplash by Kyle Head
To what degree are you the person you want to be? Where do you see gaps that you wish to bridge in your personal or professional worlds?
Consider examining the lives of people you admire and respect within your various communities. What are others doing and achieving?
Examining the lives of people outside our communities and studying the biographies of remarkable people from the past can also provide clues to how we wish to live.
Where and how can you begin acting in the way you would like to be?
What specific behaviors have been modeled for you by others, to guide you to act the way you would like to be?
“Shape behaviors instead of shaming them.”
Image from Unsplash by Lea L
How do you go about getting the things you want? How do you influence and persuade the people in your life to act in ways that you desire?
What are your current strategies and approaches with family members, neighbors, and your professional colleagues? As parents, grandparents, and other influencers of young impressionable minds, today’s quote is particularly relevant.
I recently attended an engaging webinar on Ethical Persuasion by Sam Horn, in which she introduced many practical and creative ways to gain attention and buy in to our ideas and intentions.
She shared what she called “words to lose” and “words to use” when we want to transform resistance into rapport. Here are just a few of her suggestions:
Words to Lose: but —should — you’ll have to
Words to Use: and — next time — If you would please
What are some of the words you use that are shaping or shaming the people in your life?
“Your beliefs don’t make you a better person — your behavior does.”
Image from Unsplash by Matt Collamer
18th Century English writer, Samuel Johnson, once said, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”
Beliefs, values, and good intentions are simply not enough to improve our world.
Until values become virtues that manifest through committed action, things stay the same and can even regress.
Where in your life are you and others more talk and less action?
What issues are so important and urgent in your world that it’s time to leave the stands and get on the field with others in order to move things forward?
“Laws are never as effective as habits.”
—Adlai Stevenson II, 20th Century Governor of Illinois
Image from Unsplash by Unman Yousaf
To what degree do you see yourself as a law-abiding citizen? Take a moment to examine the laws and some of the “do’s and don’ts” that influence and govern your household, organizations, and communities.
How do you feel when any form of authority tries to enforce any particular law?
Given our current pandemic, how are you and others viewing social distancing efforts and the wearing of masks?
We all love our freedom and the ability to choose our own behaviors guided by our values. In groups and organizations that have empowering cultures, it is the sharing of these values and principles that guide the norms and habits of its members.
Where and how could you and others in your various communities be even more effective by encouraging better habits and enforcing fewer laws?
“Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container.”
—Wallace Stevens, 20th Century American Poet
Image from Unsplash by Delbert Pagayona
When I was a boy, one of my hobbies was maintaining a tropical fish tank with many varieties of brightly colored and various shaped species. In the early years, before they knew my level of commitment, my parents purchased a small set that included a ten-gallon tank.
As my interest grew, I graduated to more elaborate set-ups, which always involved a larger tank.
One thing I particularly enjoyed was that almost all fish species grew a bit larger in their expanded environments.
Examine some of the professional and personal containers in which you swim each day. How large is the container that supports your growth? Who are the individuals that influence your nature? What attitudes and behaviors do they exhibit?
“Success is not to be pursued. It is to be attracted by the person you become.”
—Jim Rohn, 20th Century American motivational speaker
Image from jimrohn.com
Jim Rohn, who passed away in 2009, was a personal development pioneer.
His over 6,000 seminars, countless books, tapes, learning programs and, of course inspirational quotes, have influenced millions.
Many of his wisest lessons were focused on our abilities to work on ourselves and contribute to others in our various communities.
One of his many students was a young, broke, down-and-out Tony Robbins, who has said many times that Rohn was the man who turned his life around. Tony, as we all know, has been working on himself for decades, and has paid forward similar lessons to millions.
What are the strategies, habits, and behaviors that help you continue your personal best journey?
What additional approaches can you incorporate in your days to both contribute to others and attract the success you desire?
“A lie never lives to be old.”
—Sophocles, ancient Greek tragedian
Image from Unsplash by Bahram Bayat
How well do you sleep at night? How much do you like who you see when you look in the mirror? To what degree do you keep secrets, fib a bit to spare someone’s feelings, or perhaps keep silent on one or more of your most important beliefs?
Such behaviors are becoming increasingly difficult to hide due to our gossip-starved, always on, hyper-connected world. The media actually keeps count of out-and-out lies, half truths, and perceptional sleight-of-hands many politicians and celebrities exhibit.
Beyond the idea that lies never live to be old, consider the actual aging caused by the insidious toxic effect for all of us when exposed.
Where in either your personal or professional life would greater truth set you and others free, so you can get a much better night’s sleep?
“The easier it is to do something, the harder it is to change the way you do it.”
—Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder of Apple, Inc.
Consider how easy it is to cross your arms, clasp your hands, and brush your teeth. You probably don’t need to think about these tasks because they occur habitually.
What about traits like hitting the snooze button, eating out of boredom, watching TV or using social media? In many situations, taking the fastest and easiest path is helpful, productive, or at least has no real negative consequences.
On the other hand, sometimes what is easy can have significant negative impact to the lives we profess to desire.
What automatic and easy behaviors do you practice that are limiting or preventing you from realizing your top priority goals? What disciplined effort and added support can and will you put in place to fulfill your commitments in these areas?