I’ve just been to England and witnessed my nephew compete and become the British Judo National Champion. It was very exciting to watch and see his focus and determination. All his hard work and discipline over the years has paid off. Talking later, we spoke about how most everyone there had the ability to win – it all depended on what was going on in their head and if they believed they could.
What do You Believe in for 2019?
What do you want to accomplish in 2019? How are you going to achieve it and do you believe it is possible? Often when we set a goal, we tend to think about the end result – the outcome, with very little focus on what it takes to achieve that outcome in much detail. We don’t consider the behavior needed or the gap in our emotional state or belief pattern to have the ability to reach the goal. Our identity and belief mechanism will sabotage the plans for change if we’re not in sync.
A Small Change in our Thinking can Make a Big Difference!
For example, take someone who is giving up smoking, if they’re offered a cigarette, they tend to say “no thank you I’m trying to give up.” In their mind they’re still a smoker. Whereas someone who doesn’t smoke will say “no I don’t smoke.” This is a small, yet significant change in their thinking and shows the belief system. Behind every action is a belief. We carry a set of beliefs and assumptions that shape our identity and create a habit both in business culture and as an individual. It’s hard to change the habit if we don’t change the underlying belief. We are not even aware of what our non-conscious mind is focusing on. True behavior change is identity change. Example: the goal is not to exercise; the goal is to be fit. The exercise is evidence and an action step towards becoming fit. The more evidence we have for a belief, the more strongly we will believe it. Evidence over time accumulates and our self-image begins to change.
The more pride we have in that aspect of our identity, the more motivated we are to maintain or improve on something, which in turn keeps that habit going. This is why recognition of employees or cheering someone along and giving praise is so important. If someone has the belief that they are a top sales person, the awards and acknowledgement will combine as evidence as well as pride creating more motivation to keep striving for more. Make stepping stones for employee recognition that encourage people to see the first easy level of achievement. By incorporating pride, we unleash another level of motivation.
Start with the End in Mind
Start with what you know you want to achieve and work backwards. Scale down the actions – break them down into much more manageable mini action steps. Each action should be less than 2 minutes to do and easy to start. Of course, that is a lot of steps, but the more we break down the activities, the more likely we are to do it. These are known as lowest common denominators or gateway actions that lead us down a productive path. Examples of lowest common denominator or gateway actions are:
- Put on running shoes.
- Make 1 phone call.
- Grab a bottle of water
- Switch phone onto airplane mode
- Make a list
- Schedule on the calendar
- Pick up the weights
- Download an app
Master the Habit of Starting
If the action requires more physical or mental effort than we are willing to use, we won’t do it. Success is almost inevitable when the goal becomes an inner commitment. Recently I took on a fitness challenge and this particular task helped me considerably. Every day in the morning, I made a habit and commitment to lay my workout cloths out for when I got home. I also made my weights and bands for exercise very easy to get to. Some days I really didn’t want to exercise, but when I got home, I would change into the clothes I’d already laid out. I’d made it easier for myself. This then led to me either going to the gym or working out at home in some way or other. Commit to just that first step and see how it helps you reach the next step and the next.
Make a Plan
Researchers agree there is nothing more important than writing goals down. Writing specific objectives and reviewing them frequently helps release energy, creativity and the drive to attain them. It keeps the mind focused and fills the mind with that intention rather than letting any reactive moment or the next busy request from someone or something else fill in. Why is writing our goals so important? It creates an inner commitment in our mind that gives us the momentum to achieve our immediate goals. Writing goals is even more crucial for long term goals. Write out a plan, an intention on how to implement the goal and create the actions accordingly. Remember to breakdown the plan into manageable actions – the gateway actions. Most people don’t lack motivation they lack clarity. Have daily actions, routines, with time frames.
50% of our actions are done out of habit. A habit is a mental short cut, a memory of something that has been done before either + or -. Habits influence our conscious choices that follow. We often decide what to do next based on the previous actions. These actions are triggers that lead us down a certain path. Building habits in the present allows us to do more in the future. Example: Without good financial habits, we will be continually be struggling for the next dollar. The habit we follow without thinking often determines the choices we make when we are thinking.
Create habit stacking by taking a good habit/routine and adding on to it. Not all our habits are bad and if we can identify our good habits, we can build on them. Example: Perhaps you have a morning routine of making coffee as soon as you wake up. If exercise is something that you want to add to your routine, going for a short walk could be added while the coffee is brewing. A 5-10 minute walk could be fitted in, you then grab your coffee, head up for a shower and continue on with the rest of your day. Think about what you want to achieve and how long you’ve been working on achieving it. What small steps can be added to achieve it and what has held you back so far? Identify some of your routines and determine whether it is a good habit and see what would be one small action that could be tagged on. What belief is behind those actions? Change the thinking to change the outcome.
Time Management to Leverage Your Day Tip
Create a to-do list!
Most of the time we end up being reactive in our day. To have a proactive day, create a to-do list and focus on prioritizing tasks that are in-line with your goals. Identify activities and estimate the time it will take. By doing this, you will be able to establish true expectations. Notice when you go off track and adjust accordingly.