We often set ourselves aspirational goals when we are feeling highly motivated and energised, only to find later on that we do not possess the tools needed to reach those targets. This can lead to feelings of self-doubt, or perceived inadequacy in our own capabilities. In turn, we lose motivation to act in pursuit of our goals and we stop making progress. Reducing the scope of our goal setting however, is not the solution. After all, developing leadership excellence requires clear and ambitious goals. To achieve those goals, we need to give ourselves the advantage of having the right tools in place that allow us to succeed.
Turn Goals into Habits
An issue that often arises when setting goals is that we want – or even expect – that we will be able to achieve them in a short timeframe. Even when we understand that logically, lasting change takes time and effort to accomplish. The number one way you will reach your goals is to create habits around them and build them into regular actions. It is about transforming the idea of what we want to achieve into actionable behaviours that contribute to greater, long lasting changes.
The formation of entirely new habits makes them inherently difficult to stay consistent with because we are not used to performing that behaviour. In order to affect change, the best course of action is to anchor the habit you want to create to a specific time, location, or both. Using this method, the time and location become a trigger for you to implement the new habit you are forming. The Actionable Habit Builder calls this the New Habit Formula:
When (trigger) happens, instead of (current behaviour), I will (new habit).
When building new habits, specificity is important for establishing a metric by which we can measure our progress. The Actionable Habit Builder is a useful tool for senior leadership training because it encourages us to create specific habits that lead to effective behavioural changes.
Our motivation to complete tasks is one of the most unpredictable factors in reaching the formation of new habits, even ones we want to initiate. When we experience high levels of motivation, it is more likely that we will enthusiastically commit to immediate action. However, if we are constantly waiting to be in the ‘right’ frame of mind before we take action, we simply don’t; and our behaviours do not change. It becomes a question of how we overcome feeling demotivated in order to make positive changes.
One of the benefits of executive coaching is that it is an opportunity for participants to explore their goals with someone who understands their underlying motivations. Working with an executive coach reveals the deeper thought processes that go into decision making and habit formation. In coaching leadership excellence, you are given a deeper understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. The relationship you form with your coach allows them to identify key factors that may be getting in the way of consistent habit practices. They can then assist you in creating strategies that overcome those roadblocks. Through regular coaching sessions, you and your coach work together to implement those strategies and hold you to account. Forming new habits takes time and effort to succeed. There will be times when your self-motivation depletes. When this happens you need to understand why that is happening and what you can do to overcome it so that you are still able to make progress.
Making lasting changes in our behaviour can be a daunting and difficult undertaking without the right support in place. Habit building tools and executive coaching programs provide support by allowing us to dig into what it is we want to change and why it is important that we do so. They hold us accountable so that we can see for ourselves the progress we are making. Forming good habits has many positive benefits on our behaviours and when tied to larger goals, helps us take regular action to achieve them sooner.
For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.