Recognize the difference between your intentions and your habits.
Pull out a sheet of paper and make two columns, labeling one Intentions and the other Habits. You get the idea, in the intentions column list things like work fewer hours, get more exercise, find a better job. In the habit column, tell the truth and list what actually happens. A dear friend of mine shared this quote, “When intention and habit meet, habit usually wins.”
E – Evaluate
Evaluate the gap between your intentions and your habits.
Mature people practice the art of self-evaluation, not self-condemnation. To evaluate something means to determine its worth or significance. This can be a new conversation with ourselves around what’s at stake if the behavior doesn’t change and the rewards we’ll realize when we do. Either way, it can provide just the motivation we need.
A – Accept
Accept your habits just the way they are.
“Acceptance is the first step to successful action,” according to John Roger and Peter McWilliams, in Life 101. Accept the current habit as a starting point and begin to look for ways to do things differently, better, or more of to improve the situation.
L – Learn
Learn to identify and celebrate small wins. In the Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg states that “Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.” Identify the next action needed to turn your idea into reality and do just that.
I – Include
Include others in the process.
For example, you may decide you want to make meetings more engaging and invite input from others; yet implementing that can be awkward and uncomfortable at first. Ask for help or consider distributing a survey sheet at the end of the meeting, asking for ideas and whether or not they felt heard and valued.
T – Track
Track your progress.
Make notes like a careful observer: “What’s working? What isn’t working? What adjustments need to be made? It’s better to deal with reality than opinions and halfhearted efforts.
Y – You
You can make your environment work for you.
Create a visual cue or reminder of your desired outcome and if possible, position it strategically. Yes, I am suggesting that “slimmer you” photo taped to the refrigerator door. Be creative. This simple act shifts your focus to what’s possible and keeps it in sight.
So, what’s next? We know what a reality check is and how to turn our intentions into reality. In my next post, we’ll talk about sharing this concept with teams and organizations to stay current and grounded.