Change is Easier Said Then Done – But it Can Be Done

bigstockphoto_Change_Ahead_5993268Have you ever thought about why you do – what you do – when you do it? William James, an American Philosopher and Psychologist, believes that most of the decisions we make are because of the habits we create. Habits control how we act and react in most situations. Researchers at Duke University believe that 40% of the actions people perform each day aren’t made by conscious decisions – but by habits. Habits, good or bad,have become ingrained in us and we routinely do them without thinking about them. What’s the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up? I’ll bet you do the same thing – in the same order – every morning. And if you break from routine it can throw off your whole day. When do you put on your seat belt? Do you put your seat belt on before or after you start your vehicle? If we are anything at all we are creatures of habit.

Worth Remembering … “Our habits may control our destiny, but we control our habits. Before we change our habits we must change our thinking.” – Author Unknown 

When you change the habit – you change the result. If you could exchange one habit for another, which habit would give you the best return on your time investment? Psychologists refer to that as a keystone habit. Think of it as cause and effect. If you change your eating habits chances are you’ll have more energy, sleep better, and you’ll start to look better and feel better about yourself. New Year Resolutions fail because we failed to replace one habit with another. A good habit gets you a good result – just as a bad habit gets you a bad result – it’s just that simple. We are adults and we can develop new habits. Behaviorists believe that if you do something 21 times in a row you’ll develop a new habit. All you have to do is stop doing one thing and start doing another and if you do it often enough, it will become you. However, we all know change is easier said then done – but it can be done. You just need to want it bad enough. You just need to develop a new routine.

Worth Remembering … “We are what we repeatedly do – therefore excellence is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle.  

If you want to improve how you manage your time what one new habit will you have to develop? If you want to communicate more effectively with others, cope with stress or deal with difficult people and challenging situations better what one new habit will you need to develop? Think routine – think reward. The easiest way I found to develop a new habit was to change my routine. And once you start a new routine stick with it. Remember you need to do something 21 times in a row before you start doing it without thinking about it. Tiger Woods has a pre-shot routine that he does every time he prepares to hit a golf ball. If you aren’t getting the reward you want then you need to change your routine. As Les Brown says “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result”.

Worth Remembering … “Failure is only postponed as long as courage coaches ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory” – Herbert Kaufman

I need to start exercising but I just don’t seem to have enough time in the day to do it. By the end of the day I’m too tired to bother. All I want to do when I get home is pour a glass of wine and then sit on my couch and do absolutely nothing. I enjoy that time so for me – the best time to exercise will be in the morning. I need to change my morning routine to include 15 minutes of stretching, squats, planks and push ups. I’m an early riser so getting up 15 minutes earlier won’t be a problem for me.  The benefits of having a daily exercise routine far out weigh me having to change my morning schedule. That’s the key – the reward has to be greater than the effort it will take to accomplish it. I know that the more I do it – the more it will become me. I will have accomplished what I set out to do. What new routine will you have to create to accomplish what’s most important to you? Anytime is a good time to start a new beginning so you might as well start right now.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Brian is available for keynote speeches and facilitating workshops of a variety of soft-skills topics including: communication, time management, coping with stress, problem solving, dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better and developing the leader in you. To find out more visit http://briansmithpld.com

Mission Possible? You Can Turn Your Ship Around 9

Change-GraphicYou are the captain of your own ship. If you don’t like the direction you’re going, then you have the power to turn your ship around. If you don’t like the direction you’re headed, then you have the power to plot a new course and take action. Because chances are if you keep sailing in the wrong direction, you’ll either end up on the rocks, stranded on a sand bar, or float aimlessly like a vessel without a rudder. Change can be difficult. Change means getting out of your comfort zone. But without change, you can’t move forward. Without change, you most likely can’t even stay where you are because everything around you is changing. And if you don’t keep pace with that change, you will get left behind.

Worth Remembering …  “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself” – Andy Warhol

You can change, but you will only change if the will to change is greater than the will to stay where you are. An early model of change developed by Kurt Lewin, universally recognized as the founder of modern social psychology, described change as a three stage process.

  1. Unfreeze: Stop what you are doing and decide what needs to change. Decide what is getting in your way of you making a change? As Dr. Phil says “You cannot change what you do not acknowledge”.
  2. Change: Stop doing one thing and start doing another. When you change the behavior you change the result. What you need to do is replace one habit with another. Adults can change if they believe the change will help them accomplish their goals.
  3. Re-Freeze: Once you have made the change keep doing what you are doing. If you do it long enough it will become part of you. Successful people keep doing what made them successful. Successful people do what others won’t do so be patient, stay focused, and keep on course.

Worth Remembering … “Change what you can – influence what you will – and give up on all those things that you cannot control.”

You can only do what you can do. You can only change you. You’ll have to navigate your ship around the odd rock formation and sail through choppy waters and rough seas. And there will be times when you think you aren’t moving at all, but that’s ok. Keep sailing your ship on the course you’ve set for yourself. That’s what good captains do. Mission possible? Absolutely! You can turn your ship around. 🙂

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Brian is available for keynote speaking and presentations on a number of soft-skills topics. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit http://briansmithpld.com