Did you know that we repeat about 45% of our behaviour almost daily? Now, I used to be very proud of not being a ‘routine’ person. However, I’ve learnt loads from my husband, who’s a Chief Executive, and very much in favour of routine. What I’ve discovered is that routine, habits and success are closely linked.
Once we’ve developed some helpful habits, it saves us a huge amount of energy and stress. I don’t just mean putting your car keys down in the same place every time you come in (I’m still rather bad at that and it’s a constant source of friction at home!). I mean it relieves you from having to make decisions. Neither do we have to rely on willpower.
Making choices, taking decisions and forcing ourselves at times, relying on willpower, well, it’s all draining isn’t it? If you turn something into a habit, it frees from you that destructive cycle. For me for example, my morning habit has become going to the yard, grooming and turning my horse out. Regardless. I don’t have to battle with my inner dialogue: should I? Ought I? Must I? Have I got to? It’s a habit. It’s routine. I go.
Here’s another, this time work related example:
In my corporate Management Consultancy that I’ve been running for 28 years, we’ve been running a big contract for the NHS on Appraisal Training this year and one of the common issues frequently shared by appraisers and appraisees is how difficult it is to find the time to prepare. Preparing of course involves gathering ‘evidence’ and examples of successes throughout the year against agreed objectives, personal and professional development plans etc.
One of the tips we share with them works on five very important levels: solving the problem. changing habits. Saving time. Reducing stress. Increasing performance.
By systematically noting (electronic or hard copy) examples of success throughout the year, and storing in a folder, when it comes to Appraisal time all that is needed is to collate and print off the said evidence and ‘Voila’ there it is, all ready to take into your appraisal conversation with you. By doing this you avoid the frantic paper chase and last minute scramble that gets everyone feeling stressed, ill prepared and out of control. Imagine how good it feels to be well prepared, in control and positive about the impending discussion. You can apply this advice to lots of aspects of running your business.
More importantly though, and the key point of this blog, it’s all about changing habits. Think about it. Changing habits for the better add up over time and they become synergistic.
Changing habits can create strategies that will accelerate your performance, and make you feel more relaxed, and therefore happier too. It can’t be that hard, can it? I’d be really interested in hearing from you about what prevents you from changing habits. Please email me, anonymously if you like, and I’ll share all the results in a later blog!