The Habits of Excellence

Your quote for the week:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle

It is easy to think there is some magic act that we might figure out and take that would change our lives and our results.  But the truth is more mundane.  For you may take that magic act, say exercise or take vitamins or stretch yourself to bravely talk to someone you have avoided, and it will certainly make a change for you.  But lasting change and excellence in your business and your life is created by doing what works; doing that which is within your purpose and leads to your desired outcomes regularly – daily, weekly, always.  This is how change is created and sustained.

I once heard it said that 95% of what we do is either part of an old habit or part of a new habit.  It is interesting to break down your actions daily and see what habits you have.  The likelihood is you sit the same way most of the time; youhabit speak to people the same way; you have the same routines in the morning and the evening; you approach your time and your work in the same fashion day after day.  Habit can be used for your good or it can take you down, or at the very least keep you in mediocrity.

So for this week, become aware of your habits.  You might ask, “Is what I am doing right now part of an old habit or a new habit?”  And either way, “Is it a habit want to continue?”  This last question will help you to become conscious of your habits.

Next, think about a particular goal you have and ask yourself, “What habit would support this goal?”  And then start it.  Because habits are fairly unconscious, you may wish to put up a note or reminder in your environment when you are either stopping or starting a habit.  And, by the way, the most effective way to stop a habit is to start a new one.  One client stopped drinking wine in the evenings by starting to walk each night during the same timeframe.  This was easier than keeping the same routine and battling herself over whether or not to drink the wine.

Finally, start one habit at a time so you don’t overwhelm  yourself.

A great resource for this and other concepts related to habit-building is called The Power of Habit, Duhigg.

the power of habitHave a great week!


About the Author

Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching attorneys and management since early 2008. She wrote a book, published by the American Bar Association, "Coaching for Attorneys: Improving Productivity and Achieving Balance." She coaches attorneys and managers one-on-one, and provides in-house training designed to improve productivity and bring accountability to the organization.

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