So what does it mean to be a victim of your habits? Well, it's kind of like when you just lost a whole bunch of weight. And then one day you step on the scale, only to realize that somehow 17 pounds just magically appeared.
Or if you're a business owner or a sales leader or a manager or seller and you're looking at your year-end numbers and you're wondering where did those deals disappear to? Then you know that feeling of being a victim of your habits.
Bad Habits! Bad!
Now, in the past, this is normally where the time of year comes around and I talk to you about setting goals that are personally motivating. But as the scale reminded me, it's not just about the goals that we set.
That is why I've been reading James Clear’s book, “Atomic Habits”… again. If you haven't read it or you haven't read it recently, I highly recommend it because if there's one thing that I took away from this book, it's that he says,
“We don't rise to the level of our goals. We fall to the level of our systems”.
And our habits. Well, they are our systems. We can either be the architect of that system to get to our goals, or we can become the victim of them. We all have habits, it's just whether or not those habits actually help us or hold us back.
So, how do we change our habits?
Well, first we need to objectively evaluate our habits.
We have to identify the ones that we need to repeat and the ones that we need to stop. Sounds simple, right? But it can be really difficult to be objective about what those habits are thanks to the Dunning-Kruger effect where we overestimate our strengths and we underestimate our weaknesses.
Having a peer group or a coach to help you see, clearly, which habits to change is extremely important. Even better, if you're in sales, get an objective evaluation of what habits or repeated behaviors are holding you back, or your team back.
Now, in my case, I overestimated, my ability to resist Pringles chips. I thought that I could handle just having one or two. Not realizing that I had likely had much more than that. I'm not totally sure actually how many I had because well, I let go of the one thing that would keep me from my bad habits.
And that one thing is a tracking system.
When I evaluate sales teams, personal goals & a system to track progress are just some of the many things that we measure for. Because the data shows that those who have goals and a system to track their progress have 32% more skills and are 298% more likely to be elite sellers.
The best of the best.
The research also suggests that tracking makes our habits stickier. Because it makes it harder for us to forget to do them because we're tracking them every single step of the way.
Now, I had let my daily tracking slip, either not doing it at all or not entering everything in. And like interest in the bank, it compounded… right onto my hips.
Seek out accountability
So to help myself get back on track. I sought out some accountability like kids who behave well because Santa Claus knows that they've been naughty or knows if they've been nice. Or when you have a friend who meets you at the gym, you're more likely to show up.
I needed to stick to my good habit building.
Now behavioral experts call this, “Creating a commitment device”. So by sharing my tracking and my behaviors with others that were close to me, it was easier not to give in to the bad habit. They told me to skip the chips. Go for the banana.
I would love to hear how you apply these things to your day to day, or with your team. So comment below with one habit that you're going to track and a commitment device that you're going to create for it.
Until next time, keep learning, keep sharing out there.
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