I need to build some new habits (or get rid of old ones) if I want to meet my goals. Like many guys, one of my goals is to get awesome-looking, lean six-pack abs. Vanity I know, but at least I’m honest about it. Unfortunately, my belly now looks more like “united nations” than having six distinct segments (I’m working on it!). Unless you’re one of those special genetically-gifted human beings, most people will need to do certain things consistently to sculpt and maintain such a physique. It’s about the food you constantly eat, the regular exercise, and the quantity as well as quality of sleep. It’s about what you do regularly, and not just for a short period of time – it’s about your Habits.
Strengths are developed through Habits
Let’s return to Gallup’s definition of Strengths – a consistent near perfect performance at a particular task.
What helps us to develop a set of six-pack abs – Habits – is also what would help us to build our strengths. Whether it’s becoming a better manager, a better speaker, or a better coach, there are some critical habits that will sky-rocket your effectiveness when you inculcate them.
In general, as a strengths-practitioner, one of the key habits to develop would be to focus on what’s right with people rather that fixating on what’s wrong with them. Naturally, there are many other habits you would want to build depending on your goals.
We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.
– John Dryden
How do we develop Habits?
Since habits are so important, how do we develop them?
According to Stephen R. Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we need 3 things in order to develop a habit, namely to:
- Know What to do – Knowledge
- Know How to do it – Skill
- Want to do it – Desire
The Link between Habits and Strengths-Development
Those of us familiar with the Strengths-Development Formula know this equation:
Strengths = Talent x Investment (Time in Practising Skills and Knowledge)
Can you see an overlap in terms of definitions between the two? The similarity is that both have a basic requirement of Skills and Knowledge. The difference with a strengths-based approach is that you take into consideration your natural talents, and desire isn’t explicitly stated, albeit somewhat implied. What if we now modified the formula? For the sake of labeling, I’ll just call it Habitual Strengths:
Habitual Strengths = Talent x Investment x Desire
I think that’s a sweet equation!
Developing Habits – Step-by-Step Guide
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to develop a habit:
- Build Desire
- Identify the outcome you want. How will you know when you have it?
- Dig deeper. Why is it important?
- Identify the consequences. What would you miss out or lose if you don’t take action now?
- Determine what sacrifices you need to make to make it happen.
- Identify the “What”
- Identify what you have to do to get it.
- Bridge knowledge gaps. If there is something you don’t know, where or from whom can you find out more?
- Identify the “How”
- Always begin that talent. What are your talent themes, and how can you leverage on them?
- Identify the existing skills you can build on.
- Identify the new skills you need to acquire.
- Take Action
- Break down the steps into smaller chunks.
- Identify the key thing you need to do consistently every day in order to build the habit.
- Do it!
Commitment is required for purposeful growth, and it is measured by the sacrifices you are willing to make for it.
– Alex Wong
What are some goals you want to accomplish? And what habits will get you there?