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  • Writer's pictureMary Beth Henderson

The Habit of Excellence

“We are what we repeatedly do. EXCELLENCE, then, is not an act, but a HABIT.” - Aristotle

Habits, especially those at work, are tricky things and we all have them—good, bad, and ugly. The good news is that if we take time to understand how they work in our lives, they can be changed for the better.

Step One: Identify the Routine

Routines are the behaviors you want to change.

Negative or self-sabotaging routines can be anything from eating or drinking something you wish you wouldn’t to procrastinating at work to overspending. Identifying a routine like this should be relatively easy; just think of something that you regularly do that you wish you wouldn’t. Alternately, take a look at the habits or routines that you are proud of. What makes them positive and successful?

Step Two: Experiment with Rewards

Rewards are what satisfy a craving or urge.

Rewards are often very personal and can be difficult to determine. Therefore, it is best to collect your own individual data related to rewards and go from there. Experimenting with four or five different rewards and changing up routines can help determine what behaviors or cravings are driving our habits.

Step Three: Isolate the Cue

Cues are what trigger a routine.

Habitual cues almost always fall in to one of five categories: location, time, emotional state, other people, and an immediately preceding action. Since it is often difficult to remove our cues (such as job stress or a difficult client) from the equation completely, we need to focus solely on our response to them.

Step Four: Have a Plan

Write things down in a journal, set alarms, avoid getting discouraged, persist, and ask people to hold you accountable. Once you have a better understanding of your behaviors, the cues that trigger them, and have shaken up your routines a bit, you will have all the information you need to make positive change.

Could you use some guidance in establishing a positive routine or developing an actionable plan for your small business? Let's chat! We would love to help.

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