When I was at my business school meeting 2 weeks ago, I made a commitment to achieve 3 specific things before we reconvene in September.
Making a commitment to these outcomes really made a shift in how I saw things. I realized that I needed to do things differently. I had to use my time better and I needed to get better at doing the right things and finding other people to do the things that needed to be done that were no longer right for me to do.
From that awareness, I immediately set forth to prioritize all of the things that I would need to do in order to return in 90 days with these outcomes. It is a tall order, but I am committed.
From that list of priorities I drew out a weekly schedule that will carve out time on a weekly basis that will move each goal forward. Each week I pull out that template and insert the names of the clients I will see and the activities I will do on each day that fit within those categories.
And then I execute. It is harder than anticipated because up till now I have allowed myself to FLOW more rather than boxing myself into a specific agenda. But as I grow my business, I’m realizing the necessity for routines and structures that support the building of the business and the achievement of my outcomes.
As I’m doing this, I become aware of the new mindset that I’m building that supports the business success I desire to experience. My old habit – FLOWING – worked well to get to me a certain level of success. But in order to move further, faster, I need to develop a new mindset based on success strategies that I’m learning and a sense of responsibility to the goals I lay out for myself.
It brought home a key point I would like to make to you. What you ‘prefer’ to do, how you ‘do’ life is NOT who you are – it is NOT an identity that is fixed and rigid. How you behave and your preferred way of operating in the world is a mindset that you execute daily because it feels ‘right’ or ‘good’ or ‘comfortable’.
A mindset is simply a pattern of neurons in your brain that have been hard-wired through repeated use to cause you to think and act in a specific way. And that’s all it is… there is no reality to it other than the fact that you have repeated the pattern so often it has formatted your brain so that it will execute it without thinking.
What is neat about this understanding is that how you ‘do’ life is entirely changeable. I love to FLOW but in this instance, it holds me back. So becoming more structured and more defined is what I need to do. I need to build that neural habit, but I first needed to define what that would look like – what would I be doing differently than what I have done in the past.
Once I was clear on what that new pattern is, I begin to ‘do’ it, which begins to build the neural net that will make this new action a routine – a habit. After a while, it will feel comfortable and normal and more like ME. At the moment, it still feels a little odd – and that’s OK because it is all brand new. The key to successfully using it will be consistency.
You can use this method on any behavior you have – it doesn’t matter what it is. Perhaps you would like to express your opinion more or you would like to exercise more. Perhaps you would like to learn to walk into conflict rather than away from it. The key with this method is repetition, commitment, and consistency. It takes time to hard-wire your brain to a new habit. And it takes time to disconnect the wiring you already have in place.
So what habits do you have that you would like to change? Try using the system I’ve described above and allow yourself to define your new behaviours – and then become committed to and responsible for making the change you desire to make. Be open-minded about adapting the new system – when you first execute it, it may need some tweaks. But over time, the new pattern will become the new habit and it will feel much more like ‘you’ the longer you use it.