This morning I was reviewing some notes from a talk I heard Henry Cloud give at the Leadership Summit way back in 2005. He was speaking about how to take your good intentions and make them a reality.
Among the nuggets:
- Self discipline is the fruit of other discipline, structure, and processing pain properly
- We rarely if ever fail in new ways; we repeat the same patterns
- Life only changes when we bring structure and discipline from the outside
- Learn the gift of grace which is the gift of process
This aligns so well with the change process I describe in my book Release.
- Establish goals to clarify where you want to go
- Develop daily or weekly habits which support those goals.
- In the areas where you are not making any progress, find partners to help you maintain those habits which contribute to your goals.
For example, a common category of goals relates to personal fitness. Let’s say my goal is to run a marathon within a year:
- I decide which marathon I am going to run in and register
- Then I download a marathon prep plan and put it into my calendar. The required workouts are the habits
- If I find I am not keeping to the workout plan, I need to bring in a partner or a group of partners. So I join a running group that consists of people also preparing for a marathon.
This is the process I used to complete my first book:
- For years I had the goal of writing a certain book but made very little progress
- Then I established the habit of writing for a set block of time every week
- To help me maintain this habit, I partnered with a friend of mine who wanted to paint more than he was. Each Friday at 3:00 pm I would head over to his house, we would drink a cup of tea, and then he would go into his studio and paint for two hours while I stayed in the rec room and wrote for two hours. My book got written and he moved from being a graphic artist into being a full time painter.
What do you want to change in your life? Here’s how to do it:
- Establish a clear goal of what things will look like once you have made the change
- Think through and establish the daily and weekly habits that will move you towards that goal
- Where you find you have trouble maintaining a habit, find a partner or partners to walk with you and hold you accountable
- And one more thing: Celebrate key milestones and especially the ultimate achievement of your goal