Creating New Habits That Stick

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This is part two in a series on leadership. My last article talked about the importance of building small, good habits and dropping bad habits. Let’s start the habits that will increase your leadership impact.

Change your habits if you want to improve your life.

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you do need to start to be great.” — Zig Ziglar

According to a study by Duke in 2006, 40% of the actions you do every day are the result of your habits, not your decisions. That means that if you want to be a better leader, you need to start by changing your habits.And the best way to change your habits is to start small.

In his book “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg talks about how important it is to build new habits one step at a time. So which habit should you start? It depends on who you want to become.

Make your new habit small.

I warned you about the urge to build some massive “super-habit.” It’s better if your new habit is a small habit. That way, it’s more likely to become a part of your routine. Newton’s first law of motion states, “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion…”

In order to change your momentum, you need to apply an “unbalanced force.” In this case, that force is your new habit. It needs to be strong enough to overcome the inertia of your old habits.

If you try to change too many things at once, you’re likely to fail. You’ll be fighting an uphill battle against your old habits. But if you start small and gradually increase the intensity of your new habit, it will be more successful.

Small changes over time create big results over time.

Some examples of small habits include:

  1. Putting your phone far away from you while you sleep so you have to get up out of bed to turn its alarm off in the morning.
  2. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  3. Calling one client every day.

Charles Duhigg calls these keystone habits. They’re habits that have a ripple effect on other areas of your life. Once you’ve mastered these small habits, they’ll help you build bigger and better habits.

Make sure your new habit is relevant to your goals.

Your new habit should be relevant to your goals. That way, you’ll be more likely to stick with it. If you want to read a chapter of a book every night, leave the book on your pillow when you wake up. If you want to remember to take your vitamins, set them next to your toothbrush every night. Gosh, now I’m really hoping you brush your teeth every day…

Giving yourself a visual cue will reinforce the change you want to make by building a habit loop. The more often you do the desired behavior, the stronger the habit becomes.

The cue is the trigger that initiates the habit. The routine is the behavior itself and the reward is the satisfaction you get from completing the habit.

Make your new habit automatic.

You live so much of your life on autopilot. You drive to work without thinking about it. You brush your teeth without having to remind yourself. That’s because you’ve turned those behaviors into habits.

Your new habit should be the same way. You want it to be so ingrained in your routine that you don’t have to think about it. The less thought you have to put into it, the easier it will be to stick with it.

However, without intentionality, what’s automatic is rarely what’s most productive. So make sure your new habit is something you want to be automatic. We tend to gravitate towards what is easy, not what is healthy.

It’s important to be aware of your autopilot behaviors and make sure they are aligned with your goals.

So there you have it — start small, make your new habit relevant to your goals, give yourself a visual cue, and make it automatic. If you can do that, you’re on your way to changing your life for the better.

But don’t forget, you need to be intentional about it. Habits are not magical; they don’t happen on their own. You have to put in the work if you want to see results.

Decide when you’re going to do it

“Excellence is never an accident. Excellence is always the result of intentional and consistent habits.” — Craig Groeschel

Since it’s so important to be intentional when focusing on a better version of yourself, you need to decide when you’re going to perform your new habit.

Some examples could be:

Remember to keep it small. Small, consistent habits determine who you will become as a leader.

Leave some feedback in the responses.

  1. What new habit are you going to develop?
  2. How will you make the habit automatic—when will you do it?
  3. What could hinder you from following through?
  4. How can you make sure that doesn’t happen?

How To Become An Exceptional Leader In Your MSP

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Today, more than ever before, MSP business owners need to be exceptional leaders in order to succeed. But what does it take to become an exceptional leader? And how can you ensure that your team is following your lead and producing results? In this post, we’ll explore some of the key traits of exceptional leaders and offer tips on how you can develop them yourself. So read on and learn how you can become the driving force behind your MSP’s success!

“I can predict the long-term outcome of your success if you show me your daily habits.” John Maxwell

Your habits play a pivotal role in your effectiveness as a leader.

You’ve heard the phrase, “you are what you eat.” Here’s a different way to say it: “you are what you repeatedly do.” This is even more important when you’re leading people because they’re going to be a direct reflection of your actions.

“The potential of your leadership is a direct reflection of the quality of your habits.” Craig Groeschel

Here’s a direct example for you to wrap your head around. We began fostering our daughter when she was 9 years old. She moved in and was very skinny, active, and a bubbly, happy little girl. I’m a very sarcastic person and always crack jokes. I would say that I’m serious 25% of the time. I’m also very overweight.

I’m going to make an assumption here that every father should: my daughter idolizes me. She really looks up to me, you know? So there’s no surprise that she may have a super sarcastic tone 90% of the time and has added a couple extra pounds.

Avoid Chasing “Super-Habits”

There are many leaders (notice I didn’t say successful ones) that think there’s some magical “super-habit” that will make them a great leader. Stop it. This is a myth.

You’ve heard of “cause and effect?” One event can influence the production of another event. If you’re chasing one habit that’s highly difficult to accomplish, there won’t be a positive effect.

Small, wise habits are going to be the best way to make a big impact. Most successful people aren’t great at everything. They’re simply highly disciplined with a several small habits.

“Successful people do consistently what other people do occasionally.” Craig Groeschel

A sheet of paper with a pen next to it for you to create your New Year Resolutions.
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92% of New Year’s Resolutions people set don’t last. Let’s look at three reasons you might not successfully act on those good intentions and how to lead through healthy habits.

1. We focus on the “what” without understanding the “how.”

It’s great to set goals, but don’t waste time focusing on creating goals without how you’re going to achieve them.

“Goals don’t determine success. Systems determine success.” James Clear

Stop thinking about changing the result. Start focusing on building systems that produce the results.

2. We’re trained to expect immediate results.

Here’s the big secret you’ve never thought about: a new habit isn’t going to generate immediate results. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if it’s a good or bad habit! Whether you decide you’re going to workout for 60 minutes every morning, or eat a half gallon of ice cream three nights a week, it’s probably going to take a few weeks for you to start seeing results. Unless you’re diabetic — the ice cream may have a more immediate result if you’re diabetic. 😅

3. Our negativity sabotages our success.

We all have leadership insecurities. I’ve been going through a bout of “imposter syndrome” over the past year. Negative thoughts like this will create a dangerous cycle in which you make poor decisions based on your negative thoughts.

Example Time!

I love examples because they’re going to take what I’ve taught you and make sure you understand how it works in the real world. A while back when I was going through some severe depression, imposter syndrome, and doubting my own self-worth, I stopped marketing the RocketMSP peer groups and haven’t gotten as many new members as I used to. I also stopped developing new resources for my members which resulted in higher church than usual.

Do you see how all of those negative thoughts had some pretty impactful results that ended up hurting my bottom line? Because I didn’t have systems in place to continue providing great content, I stopped marketing because I had doubts about my value. Since I never did anything to fix the problem, I started making less money.

You didn’t come this far to only come this far.
Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

How do you want to be remembered as a leader?

How do you want to be remembered as a leader? Nobody wants to be known as the leader that never developed processes so things always got missed during projects or routine jobs. In contrast, some people want to be the leader that would find people just as passionate or invested and build new leaders.

Do you want to be a leader known for being honest with your team? How about a leader that helps build new leaders? Maybe you’re a leader that’s known for always doing the right thing for your team members and your clients.

Leave some feedback in the responses.

  1. What good habits do you have right now that you need to continue?
  2. What bad habits do you have right now that you need to stop?
  3. How do you want to be remembered as a leader?