Forming Successful New Habits
I am constantly amazed at the wisdom of those who walked the earth before us. I go back to their bodies of work often, Aristotle and Plato being favorites.
So, Do Habits Matter?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”Aristotle (384 – 322 BCE)
In the words of Aristotle, I’d say yes. Habits are tied to our business goals, our life goals. Forming successful new habits is the basis for reaching those goals. They do matter. One of my favorite things to say to my small business clients is: “Dream big. Execute small. Be consistent.” “Be consistent” is where habits play.
Oh, I always add, “And wrap it all up in a plan.” But, that’s for another day.
I’ve Tried to Change, But I Keep Failing
So, you’ve tried before and failed and you’re ready to give up. Don’t. New habits can be hard to form. Ready for Bad News, Good News?
The bad news: Your old habits are with you for life; they never disappear. The good news: You can form a new habit that overrides your old one.
How does that work? Think of your habits as neurological patterns. The old neurological pattern remains, but a new neurological pattern – your new habit – forms and sits on top of your old one. Mind you, this is a non-scientific explanation of a very complex subject. I use it to help you visualize what is happening in your brain. There are many books and articles that cover the science of it all, and I suggest you dig into those for a full explanation. But for our purposes, know that the more you strengthen that new neurological pattern, the stronger it becomes and the more likely you will have your new habit for life.
Why do people try and fail to form new habits? They don’t have the magic ingredient.
The Magic Ingredient
I believe that creating your new habit must be a priority for you. If it’s not, don’t waste your time even thinking about it.
Let’s say you have decided to make a change in your life, form a new habit. Great. That’s your first step. Now, you need to be serious with yourself and decide if you really want it.
Why? You will need to devote a lot of time, effort and resources to make your new habit a reality. I hear people saying all the time, “I’m going to – fill in the blank:
- build better business relationships
- become better at sales – and learn to love it!
- start blogging consistently
- get that big project done (whatever it is)
- be active on LinkedIn regularly
- work on my self-confidence
- take time for self-care regularly
And on and on and on.
Here’s the key: Their body language, their tone of voice, foretells failure. When they say it, I can often tell “it’s just words.” There is no emotion, no purpose, behind their statements. They don’t have the magic ingredient.
However, if you have the magic ingredient, no matter how many times you have tried and failed before, try again.
When you set a goal and decide to form a new habit to reach it, and you really want it, it is a priority in your life, you’re on your way to success. How can you increase your chances of forming successful new habits? Find ways to make it fun. Know where to look for inspiration and support. Figure out the resources you need to make your habit a reality.
I wish you the best of luck in forming successful new habits that support your goals! If you have questions about your business goals and habits, please join MEG (My Entrepreneurial Group) Community as a free Leaf member and reach out to me, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: MEG stands for My Entrepreneurial Group. MEG has now grown up to become a community! We hold 104 virtual meetings annually (POWER HOURs and Early Bird Cowork Hours), have several asynchronous focus groups and small business educational resources. We foster inspiration, support, education and collaboration that all lead to you ACTION.
About Robin Suomi, Founder, MEG (My Entrepreneurial Group) Community and Startup to Growth. Robin has worked with thousands of small business owners in industries from A to Z, from solopreneur to 4 employees, and from launch to $5M in sales. MEG Community is where small businesses meet to launch and grow their businesses.
Robin believes that success is rarely accidental and that results require action. MEG embraces inspiration, support, education, collaboration, and ACTION. Small business owners can join as a free Leaf member. They can choose paid monthly Branch, or quarterly or annual premier Tree membership, as they grow.