“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
~Jim Ryun

Everything, or at least most things, seems difficult before you start them. You want a huge change in your life, your work, your relationships, your health – but it seems so far away, so unattainable, and you don’t know how to get there. You may get started, but then lose steam. You may try something for a day or two – starting a new routine at the gym, speaking up more in meetings, stepping back and letting others step in – and then drop it before you get the hang of it.

You need to make it a habit – whatever it is you’re trying to incorporate into your life.

You want to add meditation? You need to do it every day. You want to become a runner? You need to get your sneakers on and get outside on a regular basis. You want to delegate more to your team? You need to do it. And do it again. And again. You want to speak more – or less – in meetings? You get the drill.

So how do you make something a habit? How do you engrain the behavior (or anti-behavior) into your life and person? You can download our Changing Habits worksheet here, to help you through, but the bottom line is you need to:

  • Identify the habit you want to build (or change).
  • List why it’s important to you to build this habit (to build your motivation).
  • Determine a cue or trigger that will help you build this habit (like leaving your shoes by the door so that you run in the morning, or putting the acronym WAIT – Why Am I Talking? – next to your phone so that you’re quieter and more reflective on conference calls).
  • Decide on a REWARD (yes, a reward) that you’ll give yourself to reinforce your new habit. We are human, and rewards are a great way to motivate ourselves to keep doing something (or not doing something).

It’s possible to build, change, and break habits. And habits are what keep us going – whatever the behavior or attitude change we’re trying to make. Keep at it, get an accountability partner or support, and keep going.

How have you built a new habit?
Click here to comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.


For support in building the habits you want, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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Photo Credit: Volha Belausava/Bigstock.com

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