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.
#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.
#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.