4 Tips To Get Habits to Stick

If you read our previous blog “4 Resolution Myths to Avoid”, then you’re about halfway there to successfully meeting your goals this year. We know that reaching your objective requires new behavior and discipline. It’s easy to have the willpower and self-control to change habits when everyone seems to be in a “new year, new me” spirit.

But what happens when the hype dies?  What happens when you lose your motivation? What I find most important (and seriously lacking) are the resources that tell you what to do when it’s February and you’ve lost steam and sight of your goals.  By the time June rolls around, you’re getting ready for summer and have completely forgotten about the promises you made to yourself in January.

Let’s look at some winning behavior around staying focused and building lasting habits:

#1. Make it hard to give up.


Create a winning streak you don’t want to break.  This is where small rewards are helpful. Instead of promising you’ll carve out 10 hours per week to prospect new clients, break it down and spend 30 mins on Monday putting your list together for the week and reach out to 3 new clients per day.  Once you’ve accomplished your micro-task each day, put a big red checkmark on the calendar day. Seeing your consistency 2 weeks later will make it harder to give up. And instead of over-promising the 10 hours you’ll never actually set aside, this strategy ensures you’ve at least touched 12 new contacts per week.


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#2. Use cues to create a routine.

Professional athletes use cues to determine which routines to put into action and routines reduce uncertainty and self-doubt.  The classic if/then model can be applied to any habit you want to keep. “If this happens, then I will take this action.” It makes your actions less about consciously building a habit and kicking your willpower into gear but rather more about normalizing behavior around your habit so it becomes second nature


#3. Create an environment for success.

Your environment can be broken down into 3 categories; 1. Place 2. People 3. Prep work.

Place means being specific about where your habits will take place.  So if your goal is to increase the number of new clients you’re prospecting per week, determine exactly where this prospecting will happen.  Will you be at your desk? Is it in the morning before you head into the office? People means having the right team to execute. When you do the math to determine the feasibility of your goal, be sure both your accountability partners and your team are aware and on the same page.  Lastly, the prep-work is knowing your shortcomings. Make sure you understand the roadblocks that may prevent you from staying focus and account for those early on in your routine.

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#4. Be aware.

Conscious living is not just something yogis practice. Mindfulness should be at the heart of everything you do.  Check in with yourself every day and be aware when you start losing steam.  Create a game plan for when this happens BEFORE it happens. This way, feelings of discouragement or boredom will automatically serve as a cue to jump into your “I’m over it” reserve energy.  Accountability partners are extremely helpful here.


And here’s a bonus tip: It’s not all about the mechanics. The biggest incentive is knowing your WHY.  You want to break or change a habit because you have a goal in mind i.e. financial security, a tour of Europe, or buying a house.  Remembering why you’re creating these habits in the first place will allow you to keep your eye on the prize when all else fails.

et Voilà!


4 Resolution Myths To Avoid

There is no shortage of tips and guides on the internet regarding how to create the new you in the new year.  What do your 2019 goals look like? Want to get more clients? Expand your business? Any goal requires a new set of habits and behavior that will get you closer to your objective.   To successfully create new habits, first start by debunking the myths that give you a disadvantage from the very start. We’ll have more resources around specific habits every salesperson should have in our Event Sales newsletter.

Traps you should look out for:

Go hard or go home.

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Don’t try to change too many behaviors at once.  Break your larger goals into smaller ones. How small?  If you want to create the habit of flossing your teeth every morning, start by just flossing one tooth.  If you want to do 100 squats every day, start with just 10. Most importantly, be sure to have small rewards along the way for those micro accomplishments. Starting small increases your chances of turning your behavior into a habit for good.

There’s no math involved.

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It’s not complicated math but there’s definitely some adding and subtracting involved.  Take a look at this example:

Goal: Book 10 new clients in the first quarter of the year.

How many clients did you book last quarter?  Sure there are variables that affect each quarter differently however this broad question will help you answer the next one. How long does it take to acquire a new client?  If you booked 6 clients last quarter and it took you an average of 40 hours to book each, then 10 clients will take you 400 hours. This calculation allows you to gauge whether or not you have the manpower and resources to achieve your goal.  

Any support is good support.

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Accountability partners that are not personally invested in the achievement of your goal will lose interest faster than you will.  Support doesn’t last unless there is something to gain from supporting you. So asking your mom to make sure you spend at least 6 hours per week prospecting new clients is not going to help you when it’s April and you would rather go enjoy the Spring weather.  It’s not that your mom doesn’t love you. She’s human and life happens. A better accountability partner for your financial goal would be someone who is affected by them directly like your spouse or a business partner.

Willpower is all I need.

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A major misconception about staying focused is that willpower is the remedy for boredom with your routine.  In The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, studies have found that willpower actually runs out. It’s the same concept as going to the gym for the 4th day in a row when you can barely walk up a set of stairs from being so sore.  Sore muscles need a break and so does your willpower.

Now, it would be rude to just leave you here; myths debunked but no game plan.  Read our next blog on “4 Tips To Get Habits to Stick” and click here to sign up for Voilà’s Event Sales newsletter for more tips on how to create sales habits that generate more leads.  

et Voilà!

5 ​Unique ​W​ays to ​W​elcome​ New Employees

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1. Start date on a Friday - I can't take full credit for this one.  When I read Jack Daly's The Sales Playbook: For Hyper Sales Growthhe suggested that Fridays are actually the best day to make an employee feel welcome.  On Mondays, employees are back from the weekend so they're busy catching up. And besides, often times we'd rather be anywhere but work after a great weekend.  But guess what everyone loves and thanks God for... FRIDAYS!  Your new hire gets to see employees rounding out their week in a good mood.
 

2. Have an orientation plan already laid out - Show them you've been expecting them instead of cleaning their desk off as they stand above you waiting to start their day.  Have their work area clean, have their computer functioning and mouse and keyboard with new batteries.  Be sure to have an email already set up so they can start communicating internally.  If you're trying to up the ante have the other employees each write a welcome letter on a post-it and cover the computer screen with them.
 

3. Create a company welcome kit - Tour of the office? Sure. But do you remember how fun back-to-school shopping was? Do you know why? The anticipation of making new friends, you get new stuff (lunchbox, bookbag, pens, etc...) AND you just went up a grade which means you're smarter than you were last year.  A new job can be treated exactly the same.  Instead of sticking a bunch of pens in a holder, give them a gift box "survival kit" for their first week.  You can include snacks, branded water bottle, highlighters in the company color... anything you could find useful during your first week at work
 

4. Assign a buddy - Provide them with someone that's friendly and knows a lot about the office.  The 'buddy' doesn't necessarily need to be in the same department, just someone with a good grasp on company workings.  The purpose is to provide them with a go-to person they have access to during their first few weeks to ask questions they may feel embarrassed to ask a supervisor.


5. Ask for feedback - At the end of their first week, be sure to schedule a meeting to ask "How's your week been?" This is a great time to check-in if you haven't worked with the employee all week but more importantly, it shows them that they are part of the team and their opinions matter to you.
 

et Voilà!

Do's and Dont's at the Company Holiday Party

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Like life, many “Dos” would be better decisions if accompanied by a few “Dont's”. So, while other naughty or nice lists tend to lean on one side, we’re giving you a well-balanced etiquette guide to this year’s holiday party.
Let’s start with the obvious ones...

1. Do indulge in the open bar but Don’t call out sick the next day from being hungover.  Not only is that poor etiquette but now the whole office knows you can’t handle your liquor.

2. If you’re company allows inter-office romance, Do come as dates but Don’t make your boss regret it. So many Don’ts with this one: 1) Don’t make out 2) Don’t disappear together 3) Don’t get drunk and talk about what’s happening after the party

3. Do let the furry friends attend if the party or office is dog friendly. Don’t let them mistake the boss’s office for the bathroom. If you’re bringing your dog, then Spot is your responsibility and shouldn’t be left unattended.

4. Do bring a funny gift for Secret Santa but Don’t embarrass your coworker by exposing something they’ve told you in confidence or by gifting sex toys. I’ve actually seen this go down... at a corporate hotel!

5. Do let your guard down but Don’t take this as an opportunity to vent about work.  It’s a social affair so I’m sure you can find something else to talk about, like… what’s Beyonce up to these days?

Now here’s where it gets dicey...
6. Do go to the after party and let your hair down. You’re off the company clock (and the company’s dime) so let loose! But Don’t spill the beans to those who couldn’t make it. Whatever happens at the after party...

7. Do attend the party even if you don’t want to.  Don’t skip it or show up and complain about how stupid it is. That’s just unfair to the person who was tasked to put this together for you.

8. Do sport your fancy holiday attire but this one gets dicey for the ladies.  Don’t lose your job or change people’s perception of you for the worst by showing too much. If you can wear it to a club, don’t wear it to work… unless you work at a club.

9. Do thank the boss for throwing the party.  After all, countless companies end their year with not so much as a mention of the holidays, let alone a celebration.  Don’t hug your boss and give the drunken “I love you maaaan” speech. It’s never pretty.

10. Do have a great time.  It’s a party!  Don’t encourage others to talk strictly business because you can do that on Monday. Put the reindeer antlers on and get on the dancefloor! #no-twerking #not-werking


et Voilà!

Top 10 Wedding Traditions and Their Meaning

Over the years, I’ve planned many weddings across various religions and in this way, I’ve gotten to know and admire a lot of wedding traditions outside of my own faith that I found fascinating.  Some are thought provoking and others are just down right romantic, but either way, this is my list of top 10 wedding traditions I appreciate even more now that I know their meaning.

Exchanging of the Rings
Let’s start with one we’re familiar with.  While we know the ring symbolizes a never-ending circle of the couple’s bond and eternal quality of love, the Bible says it’s an exchange of resources as well.  Your wealth, your possessions and your lives all become one and your wedding ring is a reminder that having a joint bank account just makes paying bills easier.

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Knocking on the door
Many wedding traditions involve the bride leaving her family behind.  In a Chinese tradition, the bride returns to her family’s house 3 days after the wedding as a guest.  I understand the symbolism but the literal thought of leaving my family makes me sad. In African culture, marriage is considered the joining of two families – no one is left behind, not even grandma.  Bearing gifts, the groom and his family knock on the bride’s parents’ door and if the bride’s father answers, wedding planning and celebrations begin!
 

Choora
A Choora is a set of beautiful bangles worn by traditional Indian brides.  That’s just one of many pieces of jewelry that adorns the bridal garb.  Here’s what I didn’t know until I was having a chat with one of my brides after her ceremony… she has to wear it for a whole year!!! So 365 days with all those bangles jiggling every time she does the dishes, types on her computer or just moves her arm. The best part is her in-laws have the responsibility of removing it after the year is over.  Great way to make her suffer if you don’t like her. It’s no wonder some brides decide to take it off after 30 days… #compromise

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San San Kudo
In traditional Shinto weddings, the main goal is simply the pursuit of good fortune.  This tradition can be seen in both Shinto and Buddhist Japanese weddings and the words literally mean “three, three, nine times”.  During this wedding ritual, the bride and groom take three sips of sake from three stacked cups. After the bride and groom sip their sake, both sets of parents also sip the sake. The ritual is complete after a total of nine sips. I know it’s just a sip, but I’m a big sipper and that’s a lot of sake.
 

Arrival of the Vara Yatra
This was honestly one of my favorite wedding traditions ever witnessed.  As part of the Hindu faith, the groom and his party (together make up the Vara Yatra) arrive at the ceremony venue making as much noise as one can handle.  There’s music, lots of flower garlands, live instruments, dancing in the streets and a white elephant.  If you’re getting married in Long Island like my Hindu couple, you rent a white hummer with external speakers and start the processional a block from the venue.  With a little help from the NYPD, you’ve got yourself a proper arrival.
 

Mehndi
Henna is so beautiful!  Also called Mehndi, it is one of the oldest forms of body art conceived by man... take THAT tattoo artists!  Instead of a bachelorette party the night before the wedding, the bride decides to get inked.  Traditionally, this ritual is meant to “improve and brighten” the bride’s complexion but dang it, it’s just really pretty.  It’s usually applied to the bride’s hand and feet by a female relative.  The bride is not supposed to step out of the house after this ceremony so hopefully she has a Netflix subscription.

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Bedeken
For the most part, the wedding veil has similar meanings across many cultures – purity.  But something really tricky (and so wrong) happened ages ago.  A man named Jacob got tricked into marrying his fiancée’s less desirable sister.  So in Jewish wedding tradition, the groom is encouraged to take a look under that veil to make sure he’s marrying the right girl.  Can’t assure a job is done right unless you do it yourself, right?
 

Joining Right Hands
In ancient Catholic tradition, bridal couples would cut their right hands and by joining their bleeding palms, they would be joined together in the “blood covenant”.  It’s definitely unsanitary (love you, babe) so Catholics have just settled for joining the right hand while saying your vows as a public commitment to becoming one.  Thank God!
 

Throwing of Rice
Another familiar one with Christian weddings.  This started with the throwing of seeds (ouch!) and was meant to be a reminder that the purpose of marriage was to start a family.  So today, guests throw rice as a way to say “you better start the baby making on the honeymoon… or your marriage will fail.” I like the symbolism of seeds where planting something isn’t enough.  You have to care for it, water it and give it light so it can grow.

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The No-Tradition Tradition
Gay weddings are creating their own traditions as a way of finding a place in the wedding industry that better reflects their love.  There are a couple “remixes” in same sex weddings that I really love.  Some couples choose to not have an aisle or walk together at the processional.  Most same sex couples opt to see each other before the wedding especially if they’re both wearing suits or wedding dresses.  Also, traditional vows tend to be gender specific, so most same sex couples are choosing to write their own. So romantic!

et Voilà!

No Second Chances: How to Create a Memorable Wedding Proposal Worth Bragging About

This one is for the guys!  Or the ones doing the proposing.  We can’t forget the progress we’ve made in the wedding industry with same sex marriages or women now proposing to their male soulmates.

While doing a little digging on this subject, I realized that most proposal stories, ideas or articles about the special moment are all written from the recipient’s perspective, often a woman.  That was really interesting to me because although it’s the Propos-ee that gets to brag about it, it’s the Propos-er that creates the magic worth talking about. So after talking to 3 men and 1 woman, I noticed a common denominator.  The most memorable proposals were crafted by someone who completely put their significant other first.  The proposal was ALL about the other person and what they like.
P.S. My subjects were a little shy so I changed the names to provide anonymity.

Michael’s Plan – Mike and his now fiancée Jessica are both New Yorkers.  They’re not the type to veg out in front of the TV on the weekend.  Their relationship was all about 8-hour dates.  They would start with a quick breakfast at a cute coffee shop in the West Village, then a visit to the MOMA for the newest art exhibition, followed by a picnic in Central Park.  Really laid back, no frills type of a Saturday.  Jessica loved their Saturday’s together.  So Mike decided to craft THE perfect day with what he called “Jessica’s Favorite Places”.  They got to relive the places they had been to and loved, ending the day at her favorite Italian restaurant for dinner where he popped the question.

Louis’s Love Letter – Louis moved to Atlanta for college and never left.  It was at the Georgia Tech football game that he met the love of his life, Sara.  Unfortunately, she was rooting for the other team.  After giving up the fake “you’re my enemy” flirting session, Louis finally asked her out on a date.  Their relationship progressed quickly and soon after their 1-year anniversary, they bought a house together.  There was one really important thing both Louis and Sara had a common… their closeness to their families.  So naturally when Louis popped the question, he did it in the house they had bought together and wrote her a love letter about building their own family in this place they would now call home.  The entire family was there to celebrate the proposal, just like she would have wanted.

Bill’s Moment – Bill is a hedge fund manager and traveled a lot.  On one of his business trips, he met Lucas at a hotel bar.  Lucas is a fashion designer and was also traveling for work.  They lived in different cities and had to make plans on the fly in order to see each other.  They spent more time at hotels together than they did in their own homes.  They talked about moving in together and getting married but the timing never seemed right.  Lucas had a huge announcement to make… he was taking a 6-month project in New York where Bill lived.  Lucas planned this elaborate dinner and as he smiled from ear to ear while delivering the news, something washed over Bill and he said, “I want you for the rest of my life.  You are home to me.  Will you marry me?” Simple and spontaneous.

Cindy Pops the Question – Cindy and Doug were an untraditional pair.  He was studying to be a nurse and she, an architect.  They moved in and had a baby soon after.  The more their parents pressed them to get married, the more they resisted.  It was with the birth of their second baby that Cindy realized she really wanted to marry Doug.  So she took matters into her own hands, as she usually did, and bought him a ring.  After his winter finals, she got her kids around the Christmas tree and asked Doug to be hers forever.  He was beyond moved and said yes! The next day, he bought Cindy an opal engagement ring to look like the one her grandmother gave her.

What did you learn? REALLY get to know your partner.  Everything you need for a memorable proposal is in your relationship.
et Voilà!

No More Pumpkins: 5 Creative Ways to Incorporate Fall at Your Next Event

Fall to me is about much more than just pumpkins. Fall is sensory overload! From the beautiful colors of the turning leaves, to the colder air filling your lungs (well not yet, in New York) and of course, the smell of cinnamon and squash, all get your senses working overtime. It’s magical when it hits you all at once.  So why is everyone just stuck on pumpkins? Yeah, finding monochromatic “white” pumpkins makes for an impressive tablescape but it’s not the pumpkin that you’re taken by... it’s the rarity of the white pumpkin that makes it impressive. Now that we’ve established that pumpkins in fall are about as groundbreaking as florals for spring (The Devil Wears Prada? Anyone?), let’s get a little more creative!

1. FOOD - When I say fries, you think Ketchup. But what if I said apple fries? Your brain should think along the lines of a Caramel Cream Dip, and cinnamon coating your fingers. Food is one of the best parts about Fall so use expected and seasonal ingredients in an unexpected and creative way. You can do mini candy corn pastries or cinnamon squash soup shooters as passed hors d’oeuvres.

 

 

 

 

2. FLOWERS: By some definition, I would be considered a “girly” girl. I love roses, peonies and any usual suspect you’ll find in a plush floral arrangement. Cockscomb (birth name: Celosia Cristata) is a beautiful flower that looks like a brain. I know it sounds peculiar but trust me, it’s beautiful. When a deep red Cockscomb is paired with a tradition flower, like a red rose or calla Lilly, the result is quite magical. And it’s kind of an ode to Halloween so win/win!
 

 

 

 

 

 

3. COLORS: Nothing says Fall like the turning of leaves. Those beautiful vibrant hues of amber, deep reds and mahogany are the perfect color palette for your event. Try to elevate the experience by adding a metallic accent. While gold pairs well with Fall colors, silver and copper are often forgotten. When paired with our favorite color palette, they make things beautifully interesting.

 

 


4. DÉCOR: Speaking of leaves... dried fall leaves are some of the most versatile decor items I’ve worked with (not to mention the cheapest). Use them as an aisle runner, menu, centerpiece, party favor, place cards... you name it, the leaf can do it! Trust mother nature to give you all the colors you need to make your event decor stand out amongst the rest.

 

5. ENTERTAINMENT: And I leave the best for last... the booze! Corporate parties are looking for new ways to entertain their guests beyond the photobooth. Planners are creating interactive bar experiences with expert mixologists and “do it yourself” bars.  This experience can include a whiskey tasting with yummy flights or showing guests the art of making a carefully crafted cocktail.  Get into the season by making some of the most unusual and tasty cocktails from my “7 Fall Foods You Should Be Drinking” blog.

et Voilà!

7 Fall Foods You Should Be Drinking

Tis the season, folks! Well not that season.  I mean it’s Fall.  This is definitely one of my favorite times of the year for all the obvious reasons… great weather, turning leaves and the smell of pumpkin or cinnamon.  We’re taking a page from some foodie diaries to bring you some of Fall’s tastiest cocktails.  From pomegranate to sage, we’re covering all the seasonal goodness Fall has to offer, just in a glass.
 

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Apples. Jack Rose. Combine 2 oz Laird's Applejack, grenadine, ¾ oz lemon juice, and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously until well chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass. Squeeze lemon twist over surface of drink, skin-side-out to release fragrant oils. Rub rim of glass with skin side of lemon twist and discard twist.
Courtesy of www.seriouseats.com 
 

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Figs. Fresh Fig and Honey. Combine 1 1/3 cups fig puree and 1/4 cup honey, mix with a spoon until homogenous. Add 3 1/2 cups ginger ale, 2 1/3 cups vodka, 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice and ice. Stir to combine. Add more honey to taste if you need it.
Courtesy of www.toriavey.com 
 

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Grapes. Grapes of Wrath. In a chilled highball glass, combine 1 oz mezcal, ¾ oz fino sherry, ¾ oz Barolo Chinato, ¾ oz fresh lemon juice and ½ oz Vanilla Simple Syrup. Fill the glass with crushed ice and mix by spinning a swizzle stick or bar spoon between your hands. In a mixing glass, muddle the grapes with the Simple Syrup and pour over the drink.
Courtesy of www.foodandwine.com 
 

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Pears. Matador Norteño. First you make your Habanero tincture by combining 4 habanero peppers and tequila in a sealable jar and letting it rest for 3 or more weeks.  Then, combine 2 oz of Sotol, ¾ oz of pineapple juice, ¾ oz of fresh lemon juice, ½ rich agave syrup (2 parts agave nectar, 1 part water) and 5 drops of that juicy Habanero tincture.
Courtesy of www.liquor.com
 

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Pomegranates. Pom Pomme. Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add 2 oz of pomegranate juice, 2 oz of ginger liqueur (such as Domaine de Canton), and 1 oz (such as Laird’s Apple Brandy 100 proof) apple brandy. Shake until well-chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain evenly into two coupe glasses. Top each glass with 1 oz Crispin original cider and serve.
Courtesy of www.seriouseats.com

 

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Sage. Sage Bees Knees.  Combine 1 ½ oz gin, ½ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice, ½ oz honey syrup, and 2 sage leaves in a cocktail shaker and stir to dissolve honey syrup. Fill shaker halfway with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled, about 10 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Courtesy of www.saltandwind.com

       

       

 

 


 


Beet. Clinton Kelly’s We Got The Beet. First make your ginger syrup by combining 1 cup of coarsely chopped ginger, 1 cup of sugar and ¾ cup of water. Simmer over heat for 1 hour, then bottle and let cool.  Then, in a mixing glass, combine 1 ½ oz tangerine vodka, ½ oz ginger syrup, orange juice, and 1/4-1/2 oz of beet juice (for color). Add ice and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Strain into a Collins glass filled with 3 block ice cubes. Top with seltzer and garnish with the beets.
Courtesy of The Chew on abc.go.com

 

et Voilà!