New Year, New Intentions
Colette Stevens makes the case for why creating consistent habits matters
As we begin another year, I’m thinking about the changes that I want to make for the year ahead. And why it is that so many of us set out with great intentions at the start of the year, only to feel disappointed within a few weeks! Often the thing that felt so important at the start of the year fades into a blur as the busyness of daily life takes over.
So what’s the secret to converting personal goals into meaningful change…? One aspect is integrating tiny steps or “habits” into our daily lives to help us deliver the change needed.
You might have a goal in mind around generating new clients, or you simply wish to live a healthier lifestyle. You know you need to give more energy to changes that will make a difference but find it hard to fit this in alongside all the other stuff that needs to get done every day.
One way to tackle this is by creating a 15 minute habit as the first task of every day that aligns with the goal. And do this before checking your emails! So if you want to generate new business, consider what actions you could take every day to achieve this. It could be sending a message on LinkedIn to a contact, pinging an email to a colleague to suggest a coffee, or brainstorming a list of topics for relevant thought pieces for your target audience. Focusing on the process of business generation and activities that underpin it, and building them into your daily routine, will help you to achieve your goal.
So in this example, concentrating on who you want to become – a great business generator – and being consistent about your commitment to this goal is integral to achieving it. Once you know your target, and are committed to achieving it, how will you make those tiny steps, or habits, stick? Here are my five tips::
- Commit to doing it for a month – that doesn’t sound too long!
It can take anywhere between 18 – 254 days to create a new habit, with an average of 66 days for new behaviours to become automatic, i.e. a “habit”!. Some habits are easier to form than others. There is no right or wrong timeframe, but a month feels long enough that it might stick, yet realistic enough that it is doable.
- Start small – that sounds achievable
Consider what the smallest first step could be to make a difference, and then build from there. So if 15 minutes every day feels too ambitious, try 5 minutes a day to start with, and maybe just commit to sending one email .
- Be Consistent – consistency counts
The more consistent you can be the better. Think about the habit of brushing your teeth: you generally do this in the same place and at the same time every day. You are looking to create a similar pattern with whatever new habit you are looking to incorporate into your daily life, to turn it into daily routine wherever possible.
- Be prepared to fail – you are human
Don’t expect that by committing to creating a new habit, it will work like clockwork straight away – if it was that easy you’d already be doing it! Try your best but anticipate some glitches along the way.
- Experiment – be creative
Notice what works, and what gets in the way – try not to judge too early – wait until the month is complete. What have you discovered about yourself and the positives and challenges? Be prepared to adjust your approach, based on what you discover.
Remember, the path to lasting habits is paved with consistency, resilience, and self-compassion. As you navigate the twists and turns of your habit-building journey, celebrate small victories, learn from setbacks, and stay tuned into your ultimate goal. So here’s to the journey ahead – I wish you well with uncovering the opportunities that await you.
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