“The behaviors that occur unthinkingly are the evidence of our truest selves.” ~ Aristotle
As human beings, there are many habits that influence what we do each day. Habits can range from as simple as which leg we insert into our pants first, all the way to speaking negatively to our spouse or children. Habits are learned behaviors that dictate when, where, why and how we do things. As Aristotle said, they are the behaviors we unthinkingly demonstrate.
An unthinking habit, for example, would be the regular route you travel from your driveway to the grocery store. Each time you go to the grocery store you begin by turning right out of your driveway. Today you make that habitual right turn out of your driveway even though you know there is road construction at the end of the street. It’s been there for two weeks and you’ve unthinkingly made this error three other times since construction began. Within a minute you are at the end of the street where you realize that you need to turn around because the road construction is blocking your departure. You are blown away at how many times you have turned right even though you know there is road construction. It’s a habit that will take time to break.
Another example, (and this one is my own personal story), is how easy it is to get in the habit of having something sweet to eat after dinner. I’ve cycled through this habit so many times in my life that I’ve lost count. It really doesn’t matter how many times I’ve experienced it in the past though, I can easily let my sweet tooth influence a routine behavior for me. The next thing I know I am planning what will be my sweet treat before I even sit down at the dinner table.
What I find most interesting about my personal case history is that when I get out of the habit of eating something sweet after dinner it doesn’t take long and a new habit has taken over. It’s the habit of NOT having or craving something sweet to eat when I finish my meal. I don’t even think about it.
How do habits make their way into our lives anyway? It’s quite simple actually. First, there is a cue of some sort. Second, the habit or routine is played out. Third, there is a reward at the end of our action. Using my own example, my cue is that it’s time for dinner. I routinely eat my dinner, (often thinking about the sweet treat I am about to receive). Then I get the reward of a yummy cookie, piece of candy or handful of chocolate covered acai berries. The cycle is complete and tomorrow the habit will be played out again. Unless of course, I decide I want to alter the habit.
Each of us has hundreds of habits that structure every moment of our day and night. Some of those habits are embedded so deep in our subconscious that it would take massive amounts of work to even identify them. Nonetheless, they are there and we have the power to change as many of them as we choose.
You most likely have habits that are preventing you from building the business that you want so desperately. These habits are dictating the structure of your day and can alter the number of clients you are able to help. As you know, less clients = less income. So how do you go about identifying and changing those habits?
Step 1) You Must Identify the Routine. The routine is the behavior you most want to change.
My example: I want to change the routine of eating sweets after dinner.
Step 2) Experiment With Rewards. It’s like becoming a scientist to see if the reward is the driving force behind the habit or is it something else.
My example: Is it really the sweet I’m craving or is it something else? Rather than the sweet I can experiment with making myself a cup of tea, eating a piece of fruit or chewing a piece of gum. Recording my response to each experiment will help me determine how to change the habit.
Step 3) Isolate the Cue. What exactly is triggering that particular habit? (This isn’t always an easy task since we are constantly bombarded with information that could cause a trigger.)
My example: Eating dinner or it’s getting close to dinner time. It could also be the time of day. It could be that I feel entitled to a treat because I’ve worked hard all day and now I want a reward for my hard work.
Step 4) Have a Plan. Once you have identified the answers to one, two & three above, you can make a plan to change to a better routine.
My example: In an effort to create a new habit I decided that when I needed something sweet after dinner as a reward I would indulge in a cup of sweet orange tea. The tea is very sweet, doesn’t have any calories, caffeine or ability to spike my blood sugar and frankly indulges me for close to an hour since I just sip it.
What habits do you have in your business that could be holding you back? Are you a procrastinator, so that even though you have an interested client you never follow up with them? Do you have an outline in your mind of an amazing product that you know would be beneficial to many people but you feel fear in making it a reality? Are you notoriously bad at estimating the amount of time it takes to get a project completed so you are always behind and feel like it isn’t your best work?
Using the four-step plan outlined above you can break each of your bad habits, no matter how long you’ve had them. Having a plan for your business is an essential component to your success. Equally important is identifying that habits that could be slowing you down or sabotaging your ability to help others and make money.
No more hiding from your bad habits or sticking your head in the sand. I believe that part of our journey on earth is to take the opportunity each day to better our life step-by-step. Using the given plan you can change bad and debilitating habits into new and invigorating habits instead. It’s up to you. Are you ready to make a difference in the world? I’m here to support you being everything you’ve dreamt about.
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