I applaud your efforts, but know that it will take discipline and self-awareness for this process to be successful. In reality, change is hard to make, as you’ve experienced. Expect discomfort. Expect unruly questions that pop up to persuade you to go back to the old habit. First, you need to commit to making the change. Do you want this or does your team want this for you. Perhaps you can compromise on the type of change with team members or your managers. But the truth about changing patterns is:
“If you do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.”
If you follow your habits and go through the day on autopilot, nothing will change. You can read blogs, books and watch Youtube videos, and gain all the knowledge in the world. But if you don’t actually put then new habit into action, nothing will change in your decisions, habits, thinking, environment and life.
You may even read the response to this question and not take action. That’s where self-awareness comes in.
Design a Game Plan for the Change
When you want to change, then you have to game plan to support the process. Otherwise, it’s simply a wish.
To setup your game plan, answer these questions.
Do you have a plan? Do you know how many times a day/week/month that’s required to practice the new habit? Do you have a way to measure success day by day? Is there a time that’s needed for you to master the new habit, and a consequence if you don’t? What support and resources do you need from others? Have you effectively communicated your process and goals? (To improve your communication, read this article from Life Hack.) How will you reward yourself when you’ve put the new habit in place?
Apply, Rinse and Repeat
It’s not what you know that makes a difference. It’s what you do and what you apply over and over again until it causes you to transform new knowledge into a new autopilot response pattern.
If you want to learn something new, then try it. What’s the outcome? Was it what you were expecting? Anything new come to light? If not, try again. Remember, you’ve been acting out a patterned response for many years. It may take up to five to seven times to get a new habit right. Exercise experts say that it takes at least 21-days to create new patterns, such as incorporating a half-hour stationary bike riding regime in your busy schedule.
So be patient and take notes of the lessons along the way.
Learned Not Failed
If you still cannot transform the habit, then you’ve learned something from the outcome. Not failed, but gave it your best shot and have some interesting data. What did you learn about yourself along the way? Can you tweak the process to ensure success the next time you want to change a habit? How can you support others who are trying their best to put positive habits in place? This is useful for problem-solving whether the change was—or was not successful. The outcome may cause you to find new ways to innovate.
When you change, you have the opportunity to put lessons into place. You can put new strategies in place that keep you moving forward, which would not have come about if you stayed stuck in the old patterns.
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