A new year is a time to reflect, set goals and make changes. The question is, how do you avoid being among the 80% who fail to keep their new year's resolutions? Let's look at two strategies that can help you be one of the elite achievers.
Friction. In my quest to make my plans more actionable, I listened to a ‘Hidden Brain’ podcast by Shankar Vedandam titled, Creatures of Habit: How Habits Shape Who We Are—And Who We Become.
The podcast discussed a principle called friction. A habit becomes frictionless when it becomes the natural thing we do…good or bad. If you want to work out, the distance to the health club becomes friction…less distance, less friction. Let’s say you drink too much soda…and you want to stop. Relying on the concept of friction, you fill your car cup holders with water bottles so they are in easy reach when you are thirsty (less friction) and there is no place to put a soda can (more friction). None of this overcomes the cravings for your habit, it just makes it easier for you to do what you know you should do.
Internal Motivation. About 2500 years ago, Plato gave us an allegory of the chariot with two grand horses. One horse was passion…our internal urges and the other was intellect…our rational, moral mind. We are the drivers of these two different horses and they have a great tendency to fight against each other. It is our job as the charioteer to get those two conflicting thoughts (horses) to go the right direction…to where we want to go.
Psychologist Susan David uses this natural conflict to help us achieve our goals. By nature, this built-in conflict pulls us in opposite directions and we have to marshal those opposing forces to move the right direction and get the results we want. She posits that when we want to make changes, a lot of times we say to ourselves I have to change. This mindset often results from well-intentioned comments from others such as spouses, friends and even doctors. She recommends instead that we find things internally that motivate us to change and use the concept that I want to change instead. This motivation comes from the inside and is motivated by your personal priorities which tend to keep you going in the right direction and your passions aligned with your intellect.
A quick review ... we want less friction for the good habits and goals we want to obtain and more friction for those habits that stand in the way of our progress. Then chose goals/habits that internally motivate you and are aligned with your passions and intellect.
With all this in mind, my goal is to spend the next 11 months discussing habits/goals that can benefit you and your business. If a topic resonates with you, apply the friction principle and find ways the topic can internally motivate you--and you will see real change. At the end of the year, with our 2020 hindsight, I hope we’ll see the progress that we all want.
Discussion of Habits for Small Business will include:
- Have an electronics-free zone in your office.
- Back-up and clean-up.
- It’s madness I say…madness (take and deep breath and relax).
- Improve yourself and your career.
- Take your breaks and use all of your vacations.
- Find a podcast to like and listen to it each week.
- Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answer and ask for help.
- Embrace new, useful technology.
- Secure your business.
- Read more…lots more.
- Give Back.