Focus on Creating Habits rather than Setting Goals

Creating Habits rather than Setting Goals

It’s that time of the year again. It’s that time when we stop – sometimes not long enough – to think about the ways we want this new year to look different from the last one. We usually think about setting goals that we want to achieve by December 31, 2022. I want to set you thinking in a different direction. I want to suggest that creating habits is much more effective and productive than setting goals.

There is plenty of anecdotal and researched evidence that tells us that most people abandon the goals they set within a very short time of making them. Life gets in the way and we revert back to the people we were last year, doing things the way we did them then. Why does this happen?

If we keep doing what we are doing,
we will keep getting what we are getting.

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Being Skilled at Setting Priorities is More Important than Time Management Skills.

Prioritise Your Life

This is a message worth repeating. I have found in my mentoring that when stress and overwhelm take control of leaders’ lives, they tend to automatically think that the way to manage it is to develop better time management skills. That’s my experience with leaders who come to me for help. The way through, however, is about being very skilled at setting priorities.

But this requires leaders to have a clear mind and that is not possible when they are stressed and overwhelmed and attempt to set priorities on the fly. This is why the first step they need to take is to Stop, Step Back and Recharge . That recharged space is not just for relaxing and reducing the stress, it is also about reflecting on what kind of leader they want to be. When they have the answer to that they will then be able to better discern their priorities, aligning them with who they want to BE as a leader, not just with all the things they need to DO as a leader. Here are 3 guidelines for your consideration in setting your priorities.

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How the Super Busy Leader Can Recharge by Half-Stopping

Recharge space

Half-stopping – have you ever heard of that as a way for super busy leaders to recharge? I hadn’t. Be inspired then by David Rock’s “Half-Time August”. As a super busy USA leader he says he cannot take a fortnight’s holiday without being very stressed before hand and afterwards. He can, however, take a month’s holiday with his family and work half-time. For all you leaders in the Southern Hemisphere, this is your “Half-Time January”. David solves the super busy leader’s dilemma of not being able to stop work, as well as the work-life integration dilemma. He goes off with his family for a month – works half time and spends the other half with his family. He will often work 2-3 days and then takes long week-ends of 3-4 days when he does no work. Or he works half days and then spends the rest of the day with family.

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Stop, Step Back and Recharge – Why is it so Hard?

Recharge

If stress and overwhelm have taken control of your life  the only way back is to stop, step back and recharge. That is incredibly hard for leaders to do when they see everything they do as vitally important. The answer is not, as many think, about improving their time management skills. It is about being able to set priorities, of being able to determine what’s most important. It is also about knowing what to stop doing, what to keep doing and what to start doing. You can only do this when your head is clear, not when it is overloaded with lists of what you have to do. In this blog you’ll find ways for super busy leaders on how to stop and how to recharge. When we can find what allows us to stop, step back and recharge, we need to do more of it.

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When Stress and Overwhelm Take Control

Stressed and Overwhelmed Professional

When we are experiencing stress and overwhelm about our workloads, we tend to automatically think “if only I had better time management skills I could manage this workload”. At least that’s what people say to me when they come for mentoring, help me manage my time better. What is causing their stress, however, is not their time management but rather that they are not good at setting priorities. The first thing people need to do when they become stressed and overwhelmed is to STOP, STEP BACK and REFLECT on what is happening for them. I talk about the value you can gain from doing that even while you don’t believe you have time to do it. The more important question, however, is whether you are prepared to do it. If you are not there are consequences that are far worse than the current stress and overwhelm.

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Prioritise Your Life. Don’t Let Life Get in the Way.

Leaders listen, employees engageTeamwork

We are living in very uncertain times that have been thrust upon us. It is very easy to feel powerless in the midst of this unrelenting COVID virus threat. It is easy to let ourselves drift, or lurch, along with it. But I want to throw open the challenge to you to begin to use this time to prioritise your life. You have the power. You can take hold of your future. You can begin to prioritise what you want it to be. So take time to step back and do it.

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What Does Your Ideal Performer Look Like?

Prioritise Your Life

When people are hired they are given a letter of engagement with certain expectations in it. They are also given KPIs they are expected to meet in the role for which they are employed.  But the performance concerns that leaders bring to me in mentoring/coaching do not generally relate to those specific issues which are more easy to manage. They relate to behaviours that are much more intangible and more difficult to define. They are also the behaviours that employees don’t know are expectations because their leader/manager has not articulated them as expectations.

That’s why the mentoring/coaching approach is so very helpful here. We engage in reflection, critical thinking and problem solving, exploration and discovery of those intangible behaviours. At the same time developing and enhancing the self-awareness of the leader.

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Make 2021 Your Best Year Yet.

Open Book And Pen

It’s now 36 days since New Year’s Day. What were your goals for this new year? What did you hope for? What did you want to happen in your life in 2021? What commitments did you make?
2021 has to be better than 2020. It has to offer more opportunity. It will, however, continue to be  challenging. It’s very easy to blame “the virus” for lost opportunities, for thwarting our goals, for derailing our best endeavours. But there’s more to beating the virus than a vaccine.
We can beat the virus by proactively taking steps to make 2021 our best year yet.
I suspect that many of us have already let life get in the way of our hopes, dreams and aspirations for this year. Struggle has become our middle name. The excitement has gone. You no longer have fire in your belly.
It doesn’t have to be that way. You can change the way you approach this new year.

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How the Language Leaders Use Impacts Engagement and Performance

We all want our people to be fully engaged and to be high performing, yet the language leaders use so often demotivates and disempowers our people. This then sees them being used and not at all valued for who they are and what they bring to their organisation.

It was a comment in an article by Adriana Stan and Tom Goodwin that triggered this Authentic Conversation between Gary Ryan and myself. They said:

“The worst thing we ever did in corporate America (and we did it in Australia as well) was to take the most vital part of any company – the people powering it – and label it so dismissively as ‘human resources’.”

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Making Decisions and Committing to Them

Commitment

I’m sure all of us can to relate to making decisions but then not committing to making them happen. There is a very real difference between a decision and a commitment.

I certainly have made many decisions in my life time but never followed through to making them happen. In fact making decisions is very easy. It’s just words. But making a commitment is very hard. It requires action and it often means stepping out of our comfort zone into a place where we feel very unsure of ourselves.

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