Growing New Habits

Good morning and welcome to the last week of April. Brian Tracy is a favorite author, speaker, and consultant who I have admired for two decades. I’d like to share something with you that he said and then build upon it.

“Success is 95% habit. Successful people are those who have developed good habits and follow them over and over. Unsuccessful people have poor habits or don’t have good habits. If you develop good habits, they become automatic. Your success and your happiness are virtually guaranteed.”

Spring certainly is the time to think about which new habits you want to grow. It’s also the time to get rid of the weeds. What might some of those be?

• Wasting time on tasks of low value
• Not being organized
• Poor communication skills
• Not tapping into someone else’s style of communication
• Having a closed mind to new opportunities
• The inability to stay on task

I guess the question you need to ask yourself is, “How do I develop good habits?” First, you need to know what habits you should develop. Take time to observe successful people inside and outside your organization. What do they do well? And what do they just do? Throughout the day, how do they use their time? Where do they focus? What do they avoid? And with whom do they network?

Keep in mind that it takes about 21 days to feel semi-comfortable with something new. Therefore, after a few days of trying something and not feeling it works, you need to say, “I’ll give this 21 days before I pass judgment.” Of course you’re not going to like it the first day or two or three! New habits are not in our comfort zone. But we also don’t grow by staying in our comfort zone. Growth occurs when we move out of that zone and stretch. Often, if we stay with the new habit long enough, it becomes our new comfort zone.

You have to be willing to take a close look at yourself and identify gaps in your performance. Surround yourself with peers and friends who have talents that don’t come easy to you and learn from them.

Persist. Don’t get discouraged. As you grow new habits, new doors will open. As you move through those doors, you will seek ways to stretch again and grow more new habits. Do you see what’s happening? You are building many talents and skills that you can use as you go through life and you will be preparing for unexpected opportunities.

This week intentionally push yourself out of your comfort zone. Take a deep breath and jump!

What new habit will you work on cultivating over the next 21 days to improve your work life?

Joan Burge

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