How many times have you been doing the Friday big-shop and thrown in a multipack of Jammy Wagon Wheels, because its on offer, and thought diet starts Monday? On one hand its very easy to put “things” off to the following week, on the other hand Monday’s provide a great “line-the-sand” for us to start again.
January provides us with this opportunity, as a natural time of reflection looking back on the previous year and preparing for the year ahead. Too often this leads to us setting New Year’s resolutions almost out of habit (same as last year) or without any true conviction (it doesn’t matter if I do it or not).
February doesn’t naturally provide us with the same fresh impetus to start something new, too often its more of a reality check of what we haven’t done. However, if we consider each week on its own, we now have 52 opportunities to develop new positive habits and even more importantly opportunities to reduce or stop doing the activities that get in the way.
So instead of New Years resolutions, think about the new positive habits, things you’re going to start doing, things you are going to stop doing.
Don’t be disheartened
Firstly, if you haven’t managed to do what you’ve wanted to, don’t worry you’ve got plenty of time to put it right. If you have achieved what you wanted, consider how you can build on this. Reset your intention and go about your goal/new habit in a different way. Every Monday provides you with a reset button.
Track your progress (or lack of!)
It can be very easy to generalise, stating “waste of time”, “that didn’t last long”, etc. instead of “at least I started”, or even “at least I thought of starting”. By tracking what you did, you can start to build small building blocks of positive behaviours/habits. Stating “3 good days, then I returned to old habits” means the new target is 4 days then a few days off, before going again. Give yourself 10-minutes a day, either at the start or end, to reflect on what you’ve done.
Stick to it
Persistence and commitment will get you where you want to be. You may not be able to start a new a habit, these take time, but one thing you can do is identify 1 new behaviour that you are going to track and stick to tracking it. At the very worst this will let you know how much you want to change, or what patterns are leading to you not sticking to it.
My routine is far from perfect, however over the years I’ve developed a good habit of reviewing the previous week(s) and planning the next week(s). This way I get to reset each week, reflecting over what worked and what I could have done better.
The one thing that is regular each week is that I will be travelling mid-week meeting customers, hosting events, etc. Therefore, it is important that I make the most of my travelling time and being away from family and friends. This provides an opportunity for additional work thinking time and plenty of time training, either running or gym classes. Making the most of time away from family, means that I can make the most of being with family when I’m not travelling and at weekends.
Interestingly, I spend more quality time with friend and family now, than I ever have. I’m also training better than ever, with a good mixture of fitness gym classes, running and stretching (though I need to do more of this). One great technic I learned was when you doing something be there mentally and physically, when I’m at work I think of work, when I’m at the gym I’m thinking of the gym, when I’m with my family… you’ve guessed it.
My habit is to write Monday, Tuesday, etc… down in a notebook at the start of the week (on a Sunday evening), I write down my location, e.g. either at home working, or on my travels. Next, I write down any social commitments, nights out, etc. Then, finally write down when I will fit in my 3 gym classes, and 3 runs (aiming for 6 hours of fitness a week, though 4 is ok). Each evening, I can then tick off what I’ve done and look at the rest of my plan.
The aim isn’t to tick everything off, though that is nice, it’s a way of making sure I’m balanced and gently remind myself of what I originally wanted to do at the beginning of the week. This has helped me to identify patterns in my behaviour, which in turn helps me to remain mentally and physically healthy.
The Forum theme for this year is 2020 Vision: Crystallising your Knowledge. Which is all about clarity and sharpness of vision, when we are clear of what we want, and the direction and speed of travel, we can create a plan, a support network and a desire to succeed. The Forum is celebrating it’s 20th year, with it’s purpose to continue raising standards for customer operations, the fluid thinking of the past 20 years has crystallised our knowledge to help is define best-in-class as well as the knowledge of what doesn’t work and the pitfalls to avoid. We are passionate about learning from learning so please share your ideas.
if you have any thoughts please leave your comment in the LinkedIn Article here
Arthur: Phil Anderson