Awaken to each new day. Be mindful that it is a miracle.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Davide Cantelli
Many of us live our lives on auto pilot. We start our days by pushing the button of our programing, proceeding from task to task with little thought except to move to the next and the next.
Perhaps this is why we so enjoy the novelty of travel, in which each day brings new sights, sounds, and tastes for us to experience. Instead of having to leave our home and communities to see what’s new and different, maybe we can tune our senses to their miracle settings. Maybe we can delight in the wonders around us we often miss out of habit.
How can you be far more mindful of the miracles around you as you navigate your days? How would turning on and tuning in to your super senses help you embrace those special moments of living, without ever leaving home?
“The pleasure of doing a thing in the same way at the same time every day and savoring it should be noted.”
—Arnold Bennett, 20th Century English novelist
Image from Unsplash by Prophsee Journals
To what degree are you a creature of habit? What are the routines and rituals you repeat each day in the same way and time? How many of these behaviors support your health and well-being? How many would you describe as simple pleasures or bring you a sense of pride?
Consider when and why your first developed these habits.
How much discipline and intentionality did it take for you to become the person who acts in this manner?
After savoring this list, examine what new or different habits you’d like to incorporate into the melodies and harmonies of your days.
Feel free to reply to this post with what you discover.
“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.
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception; it is a prevailing attitude.”
—Colin Powell, 65th United States Secretary of State
Go back in time and take a look at your report cards from your days at school. How were your grades, what were your favorite subjects? Where did you intentionally pursue and achieve levels of excellence?
How have things been going for you in your personal and professional worlds since those days? What would your report card look like today, given the many roles you play in your various communities?
In what areas and in what ways have you developed the habit of pursuing excellence in matters both big and small?
What are a few areas of your life in which an adjustment of both attitude and effort would make the biggest difference and help you achieve big things?
“All habits serve you in some way — even the bad ones — which is why you repeat them.”
Atomic Habits by James Clear is a big success, with about 30,000 Amazon 4 or 5 star ratings. The book explores tiny changes we can make that can lead to remarkable results.
Being mindful and aware of our habits — both good and bad — is a key place to begin. Until we see that there is an obvious — or sometimes obscure — payoff or benefit that serves us in some way, we are destined to repeat them.
Please purchase Clear’s book, or check out its wisdom by exploring some of the excellent YouTube videos or book summaries available.
Also check out Clear’s 3-2-1 Thursday newsletter in which he shares three ideas, two quotes, and one question to ponder.
His motto for the newsletter is “Working to deliver the most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.”
“Let’s work together to produce alternative solutions to our differences that we both recognize are better than the ones either you or I produced initially.”
—Stephen Covey, 20th Century American author, educator, and speaker
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of my favorite books. I have read and re-read it many times. Over the years, I’ve discovered its wisdom and brilliance goes deeper and becomes even more relevant.
Habit Number Six, SYNERGIZE, points to the combining or coordination of the activities of two or more agents to produce a joint effect greater than the sum of their separate parts.
Where have you seen examples of synergy in your communities during this past year?
Where have you seen examples of the opposite, where groups appear to be divided or even at war with one another?
Where, how, can, and will you choose to take a synergistic leadership role to bring people together to fulfill a worthy purpose?
“You can only untie one knot at a time.”
Image from Unsplash by Joshua Hoehne
Each morning I lace up my New Balance sneakers to take my 45-minute walk. Since the beginning of the pandemic, walking has become my go-to form of exercise, and a key for me to reduce stress and maintain my sanity.
The act of tying my shoes to the proper tightness occurs habitually. Moments later I’m off into the great outdoors with arms and legs in unison. Taking in the sights and sounds, practicing gratitude and greeting my fellow walkers are bonuses.
When I untie my shoes upon my return, it is pretty common to experience a knot in one or both laces. Although I experience some frustration due to the delay, I am also thankful for my opposable thumbs and the level of dexterity needed to release the knots.
Where are you currently experiencing a few knotty areas in your life?
How can you more patiently untie them, one at a time, as you navigate your day?
“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?
“We do not appreciate inertia’s power over us.”
—Marshall Goldsmith, American leadership coach and author
Image from Unsplash by The Creative Exchange
Inertia is the tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged. With the social distancing, stay-at-home guidelines and other efforts to fight COVID-19, our world and our lives slowed down considerably.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Consider your vocational efforts, eating habits, sleep schedule, and level of exercise as places to look. Where in these and other important areas of life have you progressed, stayed about the same, or let the power of inertia have its way with you?
Where and in what ways can and will you break free of this force so that you can soar even higher and farther?