Machen MacDonald: Expand your habits to succeed | TheUnion.com

Machen MacDonald: Expand your habits to succeed

Machen MacDonald
Columnist

I think we can all agree how important forming the right winning habits are to a successful and fulfilling life. The Greek philosopher Aristotle professed, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."

Lately, a lot of people are coming to me to help them build better habits and dismantle the habits that are no longer serving them.

A habit is made up of a cue, a routine, and a reward. The work is in shifting up the routine which has become unconscious. You can use the same cue to trigger the new desired behavior to get a reward or pay off.

Let's say your cue is seeing a social media bug on your phone and the routine is clicking on it and getting lost looking at everyone's highlight real for 30 minutes, posting something and getting the reward of a few likes. You can use that same cue of seeing the social media bug and create a new conscious trigger for a different routine.

Whatever more productive routine you want you can tie it to that same cue. It could be seeing the cue and then drinking a glass of water. It could be to actually engage with someone live in person or on the phone for a deeper personal connection. It could be looking at your to do list and spending 20 minutes on an important project to make progress. You get to make it up. That's what you did in the first place.

'Expanding Your Brilliance'

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I'm going to share with you one of a bevy of habit bending strategies to help you lock in your desired habits. I call it Expanding Your Brilliance. Here's an example of how it works. Go ahead and raise your hand as high as you can and hold it there. Now, raise it just a little higher.

What just happened? Your hand went just a bit higher didn't it? You had a "little higher" inside of you didn't you? This is like anything in life. If we stretch just a bit further than we think we can go, and we keep stretching we will discover a new normal we never thought we were capable of achieving.

The universe we live in is ever expanding and it is our nature to want to expand. We seek to increase our knowledge, become better, run faster, jump higher, and in some way do and become more. In the sporting world we see this practiced on a regular basis. Athletes are always pushing their current upper limits to become stronger and faster and improve their personal best.

Success is being better today than we were yesterday and being better tomorrow than we were today.

This holds true in the work world and in our personal lives as well.

If your goal is to write a book and you haven't written a book before, you don't try to write it all at once. You may start with writing 500 words a day, which may seem like a lot in the beginning if you haven't done it before. However, if you keep stretching, you may find that you can get to 5,000 words a day and at that point the thought of writing 500 is no big deal at all.

If the habit you are looking to lock in is to make 10 prospecting calls per day to grow your business, try going for 20 per day for a week. After doing so, 10 calls will seem easy.

The bottom line here is to increase the bottom line. Whatever the behavior or habit you are looking to establish, expand it, double it for a few days to increase your capacity around it. By doing so, the habit you originally committed to will become way more achievable.

If your goal is to get up at 5 a.m. go for 4:30 a.m. If you want to exercise for 30 minutes go for an hour. If you want to eat healthier, throw out all the food in your home containing any sugar. If you want to make $100,000 in sales get on an activity track that can generate $200,000.

Get creative here. When we challenge and stretch ourselves we get more resourceful. We see more opportunity. We find solutions we otherwise would not.

Remember, you always have a "little higher" inside of you.

Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!

#1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonad, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at coach@probrilliance.com and 530-273-8000.

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