“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit” - Aristotle
Habits are the foundation of our everyday existence. When we’re trying to be the best version of ourselves, every day, we’ll find that some habits are useful and some are just painful. And when we really examine how what we do every day fits into achieving our goals, then we start to realise that some habits need to change, and some need to be invented.
In our workshops and keynotes, we ask people to think about what habits need to change in order to get closer to your MIT’s or your Most Important Things. And while it’s ok to try to stop a habit, it’s even better to implement new habits.
If you can’t always identify what habits will help you achieve your goals, here is a list of 10 or so examples in each of the Critical Areas - Work, Home & Relationships, and Self.
These might not be the habits that actually work for you, but they might trigger some reflection that will help you understand what will work.
You’ll notice that each habit is specifically measurable - do something every day, or two times a week, two hours a day. When we hold ourselves accountable to staying on track, we have to be able to say, without any grey areas, whether we have actually done what we set out to do. To build habits, we also need to do them at least once a week.
If you structure your behaviours like this, you are more likely to execute them.
Here are 27 habits that might help:
Habits - Work
- Plan your day every morning
- 30 minutes of personal development 3 times a week
- Work on key projects 2 hours, twice a week
- Leave on time 4 out of 5 days (specify a time)
- Do email in 3 thirty minute batches only
- Weekly team meeting without fail (no excuses)
- Spend 20 minutes twice a week thinking strategically
- Do some work you enjoy every day
- Leave the office for lunch 3 days a week
Habits - Home and Relationships
- Read to kids before bed 3 times a week
- Help with homework 2 times a week
- Date night 1 time a week (even a smaller one at home)
- Do two quality family activities a week
- Have dinner together 5 nights a week
- Do the school pick up two times a week
- Be present for all conversations at home
Habits - Self
- Breathing/meditation 10mins every day
- Read for 1 hour 3 times a week
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 times a week
- Review goals every Monday morning
- Eat healthy 5 days a week
- Prepare weekly meals every Sunday
- Bring lunch to work 4 days a week
- Write two things you are grateful for every day
- Spend 5 minutes in the sun every day
- Do minimum 20 minutes of yoga stretches 3 times a week
- Find 5 minutes of quiet time every day
When you structure your habits like this, they will also fit perfectly into the habit tracker on your weekly plan. Try to determine these habits, and spend a month or two perfecting them. Make sure you reward yourself for good habits and good weekly steaks…. if you don’t reward positive behaviours, they don’t tend to stick.
** Tony Wilson is a Workplace Performance Expert. His insights into performance science and its application in the workplace will make you re-think the way that you approach leadership, culture change, high performance and productivity. Tony has an MBA and a BSc majoring in physiology and delivers workshops and keynote presentations around the globe.