Awareness of how you are “spending” your life will change your life and add effective tools faster than anything else you can do. When you are aware, you get to choose that which is most important to you. When you are not aware, or habitual in your behavior, life just slides along and your get what you get. Stress increases, effectiveness decreases.
Interrupting your habit cycle to see what is possible changes everything instantly. You are either really good at the change or you balk at having to do something differently. It is in your face and can bother you a great deal.
Need some examples of habitual unaware behavior?
- You have a dental appointment and the dentist thinks if you brush your teeth differently you will have less plaque. He/She shows you a new technique to use while brushing and you try it. Not easy. Not what you are used to. Does not feel comfortable. Takes too long. Pretty soon, unless you see great results almost instantly, you are right back to brushing your teeth exactly as you did before.
- Recycling. Remember when you did not recycle and you threw everything in the same trash bucket? Then there was the recycle bucket for bottles, paper, cans and you wanted to make an effort to recycle cause it was a good idea and you wanted to be part of the new culture. And how many times did you have to dig out from the trash, your bottle from a drink; a stack of paper from cleaning off your desk; a can from a soda?
I have an exercise that I conduct with teams that are working on their strategies and communication. I ask them all to move their trash cans to a new location for one week and report back at the end of the week. Not many people like me or the exercise. Yet, we have a very humorous discussion on “learning” new things vs habitually doing what we always do. The members of the team and my clients have a small example, right in their face, of how habitual they are.
As we participate in change and don’t like it or it is not easy, it can feel like resistance, anger, frustration and belligerence. And several of my team members felt this way about moving their trash cans.
So let’s translate that into real learning and see how easily we are challenged by simple change.
- Mindful change that we want to accomplish can be hard and frustrating
- Your habits of how you conduct yourself, when not working, mean you need to change your actions
- Pointing at a person or situation that is not creating success because they or it is not doing what you want, could easily mean your habitual way of communicating instructions is not working
- Immediate results and successes during change are based on who is realizing the success
A brief example of leadership frustration with communication: A CEO that I worked with was very frustrated with his team’s inability to communicate and support each other in what he considered to be the standard for teams working together. We examined his conclusions and his methods for working with his team and discovered that he “told” people information and expected immediate and successful results. He did not support his telling with examples; books; written communication or discussions.
When I spoke to his team about the way he communicated, each member expressed a frustration with the CEO’s methods. You know what the CEO said when I shared this information with him? “Why didn’t they tell me that?”
We all know why: you assume that the boss is right and giving feedback in doing it differently probably does not feel too safe. By the way, his team is doing well now; communicating; creating excellent results and working well together. The CEO had to learn that his habitual ways of communicating were not effective and was mindfully open to communicating differently. Simple yes. Easy no. Creating success through changing habitual behavior can feel confusing and impossible unless you are committed to different outcomes and strategies.
You can call your habit changes, “pattern interruption” (contributed by Dr. Brad Eldridge)
You can call your habit changes, “lifestyle shifts”.
You can call your habit changes, “damnit, this is a pain in the neck”. (contributed by some of my clients)
Habits are often mindless and create big stress. You just do what you do. Like eating a bag of chips watching TV when you were not going to eat any more snacks.
Or, picking your cuticles; or clicking a pen during a meeting; or interrupting people because you got an idea; or walking away from someone while they are speaking; or you stop listening because you have heard enough; or checking a text during a conversation because it might be important; or being late for important situations because everyone else will be late.
So what is it you want to shift, change or do better? Stress is reduced when change is accomplished especially if it is something that pleases you; helps you become more aware and begins to help diminish negative outcomes.
Do not change everything at once!!!
Pick something that would please you and create effectiveness for you.
You can’t change your food; communication; behavior; body size and how much money you make all at once. However, the changes you make will influence everything in your life in a positive way. Habit change is sweet that way.
Reduce your messy stressors…your habits, by increasing your awareness about how you are operating in your life. Be kind to you. Be fair. Watch the negative self-talk, because it will be there.
You might want to try the “moving the trash can idea” for a week to see where you are in your habitualness. It will give you a good place to start .
Another good place to start is with the 3rd Wednesday of the month, 12:00 noon EST. We discuss our stressors and what actions we can take to eliminate and improve that which is stressing us. You get to change your messy stress into wealth, health and joy! Sign up for the call on Wednesday, July 16th so we can send you the call in information.
Be well. Know that you are loved and I am here to help you create the life that is most important to you, faster than you ever thought possible.