Have you made resolutions to avoid certain temptations, or achieve particular goals this year?
Now that we’re nearing the end of the year, hands up if you’re among the many who have made resolutions for the year ahead. Next, if you’ve developed a plan to achieve those resolutions, use one or both those hands to pat yourself on the back; you deserve it. For, while resolutions generate great attention each December, it’s a disciplined approach to habit formation that supports the success of such resolutions – or, in other words, the achievement of goals.
Think about this in the context of any job search you’ve undertaken; it’s likely that you did much more than simply resolve to secure such positions. Many assistants who work their way up the ladder to EA, MA, PA or Office Manager roles do so by mapping out and then acting upon career plans that involve a series of incremental goals, discipline and good habits.
So, how to move from a resolution or goal to incorporating habits that increase the likelihood of success?
There are many theories related to successful development and maintenance of habits; some suggest that commitment to a new or modified routine for x number of days leads to effective development of a habit. As you sift through various approaches before deciding what works for you, it may be worth considering business coach Tom Bartow’s thoughts, below, on three phases of habit formation.
The honeymoon: Riding a positive wave of intention or inspiration, perhaps at the beginning of a new year or following a conference with peers, we begin work on making positive life changes.
The fight-through: After the first blush of inspiration, we may find it difficult to block the return of former habits and maintain new practices. How to work through this stage? Be prepared; anticipate that there will be struggles and choose how you respond to them.
Second nature: While we may encounter disruptions (holidays, illness) that can imply a temporary return to fighting through struggles, daily commitment leads to development of habits. Be aware of the potential for seduction of success (“I’ve got this!”) or discouragement; here Bartow suggests reverting to the successful strategies tapped into during phase two.
This article first appeared in Exceptional EA, a globally respected professional development resource for administrative professionals. Visit https://exceptionalea.com/ to find out more and tell her we sent you