“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”
Maybe you’ve heard this one from Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” If so, do you have a handle on your habits? If not, it’s important to understand our habits drive, or derail, our success. Though Aristotle spoke these words over 1700 years ago, we seem to require constant reminding of the importance of habits. Whether you are managing employees or simply managing yourself, I’d encourage adopting these 3 habits weekly.
Assess your level of commitment
Assess my commitment, what do you mean Shawn? Yes, take inventory of where your commitment level resides. Are you casually operating or are you intentionally driving? You see, when your commitment is anything less than ‘all-in,’ you likely operate at subpar performance levels. And though you try to convince yourself you’re working exemplary, it’s only a story.
At the top of the week take inventory. Where do you stand? Are you all-in? If not, uncover why and solve the problem. Source for motivation, whether internally or externally. Just find a way to commit fully to the point of burning the boats. Doing so will bring about your best performance. Now if committing terrifies you, well, take Edward Teller’s advice, “Either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.”
Evaluate last week’s performance
Take time to review the previous week, but with brutal honesty. It’s not the time to give yourself a pass from life’s difficulties. No excuses and no prisoners. Ask some of the sample questions below and write your answers. If you manage employees, I’d encourage you to have them complete the exercise as well, perhaps during one-on-one meetings.
1) How would I rate my overall performance last week (1 to 10 scale)?
2) In what area(s) was my performance stellar?
3) In what area(s) was my performance lacking?
4) If given the week over, what would I have done differently?
5) In what ways did my mood affect my performance (positive or negative)?
For the last question, why is this important? Well, emotions drive thoughts and thoughts drive actions. Understanding emotions allows us to pinpoint why actions were taken. Such pinpointing leads to replicating or exonerating specific emotions. If you’re like me, you want to leave little to chance. As such, this question can be very impactful.
Create a written plan for the week
At this point, you’ve probably heard the topic of goal setting so much you’re sick. However, in my experience people still fail to create written plans. They think about their goals but fall short of recording somewhere. In fact, a study suggests less than 3% of individuals have written goals.
Creating a written plan is like having emergency exit signs. When an emergency strikes, you know where to run. With situations happening all the time that steal your focus, your plan becomes a failsafe. No matter the emergency during the week, your written plan keeps you on track.
Here are a few example questions to use each week:
1) What was not accomplish last week that will roll into this week?
2) What is “one thing” I can accomplish to make it my best week ever?
3) After my “one thing” what are my other important goals?
4) How can I accomplish these goals?
5) What frame of mind must I have to accomplish these goals?
For the last question, as we mentioned above, emotions ultimately drive actions. When you preplan emotions, you reduce them being hijacked. Give it some thought and try to implement, I highly recommend it.
It’s a fact, we have more distractions than ever before. And such distractions can steal our time, energy and effort. Your goal at the end of each week is achievement. When you fully commit, you bring about your best performance. No matter what you think the outcome will be, commit yourself. When you evaluate your previous performance, you identify strengths to enhance and performance gaps to close. Finally, when you create a written plan, you create a failsafe against the unknown obstacles that lay ahead. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.”