Two Weeks Notice: Small changes to make new habits

New Goals Old Habits written in note with pen, calculator and cup of coffee on wooden desk. Business concept. Top view.

One of the ways I challenge clients to adopt change is to have them set intentional time in their day to practice that particular new behavior or desire.  And — little drum roll, please — I ask them to commit to it for just two weeks to start.

Does it resonate? Try it for two weeks.
That seems really hard! Try it for just two weeks.
Are you eating the elephant all at once?  No, just small bites of your challenge for just two weeks.

That’s 14 days — at however many times per day we have agreed to ˆ of holding yourself accountable. And it works! What makes it work is the intention we set when we put that new behavior on our calendar and defend it from all comers.  That’s right, defend it from our co-workers, our clients, our friends and family, and most of all, ourselves.

I just spent two weeks (and counting!) challenging myself to not visit any news sites.  None. Cold turkey. Two weeks. Now, to be completely transparent, this was an interruption in my day that had turned into an addiction.  What was once how I started my day now required a mid-morning check-in, a lunchtime respite, and then it seemed like I was becoming Justin Timberlake’s character in “The Social Network” yelling “refresh! refresh! refresh!”.  It not only disrupted my timeline, it also affected my disposition as I journeyed through negativity and, in most cases, opinion and conjecture.  And it was completely unproductive.

I have now shifted my morning to begin with how I want it to start and I have the content of each morning begin with what I want to achieve or experience first.  Then, the rest of the world can be let into my day. This includes ancillary items like email, texts and other social media channels.  I even sleep with my iPhone docked in another room to complete the challenge.

And it’s been glorious.

Changing habits can be tough.  Our current habits are basically giant “grooves” in our brain that over time become that preferred “decision.”  We never really get rid of a habit. We just stop using it. It doesn’t go away. We fight having to move, create and use another groove. Especially when it’s so easy to drop back into that old habit hence negating the new one we are trying to build. Note: There are many many great books about habit.  The be-all-end-all trailblazer among modern business experts is Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit”.  (Mr. Duhigg’s book has an exalted spot on my current Coachee’s Reading List)

So, change your behavior.  Give yourself two weeks notice.  Be intentional. And if it doesn’t take, find the next way to shift that behavior, and give it another two weeks. Because your goal isn’t to get your groove back; your goal is to create a new one.  Groovy baby.

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