Do you ever have days when you feel like you’re doing your best, but it just doesn’t seem to be good enough? You’re not able to achieve all that you’d set out to—or need to. I’m here to say that we all have those days. But when this becomes the norm instead of the exception, it’s time to take a step back and examine what’s holding you back from achieving all that you know you can.
I once held a workshop for a group of business owners who are members of the Entrepreneurs Organization. While these owners had all experienced a high level of success in their lives, they were concerned that they were not achieving enough of their goals. As a result, they asked me to create a custom program that would help them achieve more of their goals.
Part of my program development process is to learn about the participants. Although these owners’ businesses were based outside the U.S., it was evident that their challenges were no different from those faced by most successful U.S. executives I know. It was also clear to me that they needed to develop a few common habits that would help them feel—and be—more successful if they made them part of their daily regimen.
6 Habits for Greater Personal Success
I shared a lot of great insight and practical exercises in that workshop. Some were habits for personal improvement, and some were habits to improve their businesses. Here are six of the habits I shared for personal improvement. Begin to apply each one to your daily regimen and watch your outlook—and results—change.
#1 – Change Your Attitudes. Belief systems lead to actions, which cause results. If you or your people behave in ways that are counter-productive or do not support your primary goals, then you must identify the belief systems that cause that behavior.
For example, let’s say you decide you want to exercise 3 days a week to achieve your goal of better health. However, your primary belief system is that exercise is boring and painful. What do you think the chances are that “exercise 3 days a week” will happen? To cause the behavior, you will need to replace your primary belief system with something that will have you excited about doing the exercise.
#2 – Commit to Your Decisions. Many executives are good at making decisions but not so good at making commitments. The problem is that most goals and decisions are the equivalent of “I will try,” and that typically spells death to the likelihood of everyone doing whatever it takes to achieve them. If you were to make every goal or decision in your company mandatory, how would behavior change? How would your decision process change? Make the shift to mandatory, and see how behavior and, more importantly, results in a change.
#3 – Give and Keep Your Word. To keep your word, you have to give it. People who keep their word consistently create power and focus in their lives. Together, power and focus provide the ability to be more effective in shaping events and circumstances. Effectiveness, in turn, enhances our feelings of well-being. The better we feel, the more successful we become.
Many times it is better to say “no” to a request than to say “I’ll try” or “I’ll think about it” in order not to hurt someone else’s feelings. The “maybe” answer causes the other person to keep coming back for more false hopes. Neither party feels comfortable in the long term. Similarly, people say “yes” because they want to please others, yet they are not in a position to deliver properly on their yes. In both these instances, all the players feel bad. This, in turn, has a long-term effect on success achievement.
#4 – Know Where Your Time Goes. As careers progress, many of us have found that we control less and less of our time. After meeting our various business and family “must-do” responsibilities, we are lucky if we actually have 20% of our time left to our own devices. This is the time we have left for value-added activities to truly contribute to our business organizations, for personal travel, community activities, extended family interaction, and “me-time” that make us feel productive and happy.
In an average week, a highly productive person typically has 119 waking hours, of which they control only 23 hours or 3 per day (personal and work). So we have two choices: try to increase the amount of time we control or make the 3 hours per day more productive. Before we can do either, we must find out where the time is going now. At least once every six months, executives should track their time to see where it goes. You may be surprised to see where you’re spending it.
#5 – Plan Your Time. Time has many of the attributes of money. If used wisely, it can bring you much satisfaction; used poorly, it can be wasted. Unlike money, time is finite—once you lose it, you cannot get it back. Moreover, it appears that there is always more to do than time in which to do it. This makes time precious. Like money, the better we plan its use, the more likely we will use it wisely and maximize our returns on investment.
Those who plan time use get more of the right things done and have a greater sense of satisfaction. This happens because they have a greater understanding of what they should be doing, make sure they do it, and can know where their gaps are. Those who do not plan have excess stress because they never quite figure out if they spent their time well or not.
#6 – Focus on Energy vs. Hours. In the Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz remind us that there are certain times of the day when each of us is more productive. Some of us are “early birds” and some “night owls.” We each have our cycles. We also have to give ourselves breaks and eat at regular intervals to keep ourselves at peak production. Failure to do so can cause us to not produce our best work and cause executives to unnecessarily burn-out.
These are simple, great habits to implement in your daily routine. Pick one or two to start with, and once you’ve got those firmly into your routine, pick one or two more. While you may be tempted to implement them all at the same time, I challenge you to start with one or two and truly make them habits before adding others into your routine. It’s commonly reported that it takes 21 days for something to become a habit, but recent studies say it’s longer. Set yourself up for success by taking these a few at a time.
In my next blog, I will share the positive habits that will improve your business. Until then, I’d like to offer you a FREE 30-MINUTE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION to see if there’s any way I can be of service to you. No worries, though, there’s no hard sell. This is simply my gift to you during these challenging times.