Good habits, bad habits, old habits and new habits

personal development word cloudHave you noticed how much easier it is to fall back into old habits than it is to maintain new, positive habits?

So often, we know exactly what it is we need to do in order to be stronger and healthier, physically and financially, personally and professionally and yet .. we either don’t make the changes necessary or we don’t maintain positive, new direction.

Why is that? Personally, I think it’s because a lot of times, we don’t really buy into, believe or want the results the change in behaviour or attitude will bring. Other times, quite frankly, we get a rush or a kick out of the results our “negative” behaviour provides.

For example:

Unless you truly believe that taking (making?) the time to connect with your team in the morning is more important than checking emails, that change in behaviour won’t last more than six weeks.

Unless you truly believe that taking a break and stepping away from your computer screen and going for a walk or joining the table in the lunch room is going to improve relationships and productivity, that change in behaviour won’t last for more than six weeks. The same applies if working through lunch feeds your ego and makes you feel indispensable.

We make a lot of promises to ourselves and those around us because we’ve read blog posts, research paper, or participated in workshops, etc but unless we believe that the change will provide a personal benefit (yes .. sometimes, being selfish and looking after YOU is absolutely the right thing to do) … we quickly fall back into old habits.

Or perhaps we’ve just decided to make too many changes all at once. Outside of one person I know (whose New Year’s Resolution list generally tops 20 bullet points!) most of us need to focus on change in one, two or maybe three areas at at time.

Whatever the reason … if you’re finding yourself falling back into old habits, ask yourself why and refocus. Find YOUR reason, not anyone else’s or, take your list, prioritize and focus on one, two or three at at time. The others aren’t lost .. they are just on hold.

The Power of “I Appreciate You”

Rewards, accolades and applause are gratifying.  Public recognition of hard work, well done, is flattering and humbling.

And yet, for me, moments that I treasure are the smaller, more intimate and personal comments that some very kind and generous people have shared with me.

It’s the unexpected email that says “You’ve been on my mind today.  I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you” and then goes on to detail how I have made that person’s day just a little brighter or better.  Or a comment shared by a friend that says “Thank you.  Your words give me new perspective.”

These comments are real, they are personal and they are meaningful because someone made a conscious decision to let me know how they felt. And they generally relate back to something that I don’t necessarily think worthy of special mention. They relate to things I just do.

Sometimes we get so caught up on looking for the superstars to applaud and reward, that we forget to appreciate the consistent day-to-day delivery of the necessary.

Imagine how much better our work environment could be if we let the receptionist in the front know that her bright smile every morning made our own day just a little brighter. Let the accountant know how much you appreciate their timely responses or their error free work .

Not everyone is a superstar, but everyone is a contributor.  Let them know the value of their contribution.  Taking the time to let someone know how much you appreciate them is a small, inexpensive and yet effective way to build employee morale.

What do you think?

 

‘Tis the Season for Resolutions

“New Year’s Day now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” ~ Mark Twain

It’s that time of year again, the time of year when many people start thinking of all the things they can and should be doing to make their life, their business, stronger and better than it was the previous year.  All too often, the resolutions are a repeat of previous year’s failed attempts at change or progress and this time next year, will be pulled out again to try just one more time.

Perhaps it’s because so many resolutions, both business and personal, are made because someone has told us we should, not because we have any passion or desire to make the change.  Now, sometimes those people may be right, but unless we can find a way to personalize the benefit of change, the chance of success is slim at best.  Instead of resolving to be better at promoting the business, clearly identify the personal benefits of doing so.  Better promotion = more business = a week away with the family during the  holidays.

Another reason resolutions fail is because they are ambiguous. What does “better at promoting the business” mean?  Is it more sales calls?  Is it different marketing activities?  A clearly defined goal or resolution provides direction and purpose.

Perhaps it’s fear that  holds us back.  We may not like where we are, but it is at least a place we are familiar with. There are no guarantees of success when we try something new and failure hurts.

And, last but not least, perhaps it’s because we make the list so long we have no idea where to start. Which changes have the potential to make the greatest positive impact on your life or your business?  Focus on those first. And plan how to achieve them.  Identify who can support you in the process.

What are your thoughts? Do you make resolutions and if so, what do you do to increase the odds of success?

What’s Your Happy Pill?

When my children were young, we always had happy pills on hand. If I’d had a tough day and wasn’t feeling my mommy best when I picked them up after work, I’d ask them for a happy pill before we got into the house.  Or if I noticed one of them wasn’t quite their exuberant self, I’d hand them a little happy pill to take on our way home.  Sometimes the pills were invisible; sometimes they were candy coated.

Of course, there isn’t a pill that magically takes away the bad and replaces it with goodness and light and as my two children grew up, we stopped playing the happy pill game.  Sometimes, I miss that silly little game.  It was such a great way to say “ I’ve had a bad day” or  “I see you’ve had a disappointing day.”  Our small happy pill ritual opened the door to hugs and further discussion.

I’ll admit that sometimes I think it would be nice to solve all the challenges, the disappointment of half successes or full on failures with a happy pill, but looking back on all those moments, I’m glad it wasn’t that easy.  If it was, I may never have learned I was strong enough to overcome challenges. I would not have learned how to pick myself up from failure and find a new or different way of achieving success.

Having said that, I believe that in some respects we do have happy pills available when we are feeling down, when things aren’t working our way, when we’re not sure we are on the right path.  My happy pills are memories that bring a smile to my face.  My happy pills are the many people in my life who bring me joy; my husband, my children and the rest of my family and family-in-law.  Instead of getting caught up in my problems, I choose to pop a happy thought into my mind.

 What do you do when you feel the world is against you? How do move your attitude from negative to can do?

Laughter is Seriously Good for Business

When your customers walk into your business, do they see genuine smiles and hear infectious laughter?  Or are the people you rely on to create memorable moments for your customers so focused on getting through their to-do list, they forget to smile and have fun?

There are some people who believe that work is serious business; that time spent having fun, sharing a laugh with a co-worker or going on a slurpee run is a waste of time.  And in our politically correct world, I think some people are a little scared that their laughter or their sense of humour will offend someone.

Here’s what I think. When work is fun:

  • Your team members will like coming to work more and their stress levels will be reduced, two factors which decrease absenteeism and turnover.
  • Creative solutions for challenges are easier to discover.  Being too serious limits creativity; playing with a problem invites creativity.
  • Team members laugh together and shared laughter strengthens relationships and helps promote group bonding.
  • Your customers benefit.  When the people you rely on to create memorable moments for your customers enjoy their work and like their co-workers, your customers receive genuine smiles, friendly greetings and perhaps share a moment of infectious laughter with their service provider.

So what can you do to make work a little more fun for you and your team?

  • It starts with you!  Get out of your office, smile and share a laugh with your team members.
  • Put “FUN” first on the agenda for all meetings.
  • Create a laughter bulletin board at work.  Encourage people to post jokes and cartoons. Yes, some guidelines will be required to ensure the jokes are not offensive to others.
  • Create fun events for your team, either in the workplace or off-site.  Plan a bowling night or if going out isn’t an option, purchase an inexpensive bowling toy set, set up a lane in a hallway and let the games begin!

Laughter is good for business!  What are some things you have done to make work fun?

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Laughing babies make me laugh every time.  This one is a sure fire winner.  Perhaps you’ll like it too.  Enjoy!