Change Your Habits and Change Your Life
We often talk about our good or bad habits but in reality our lives are steered and controlled by a multitude of habits, many of which we don't even know exist. But could changing something as simple as a habit affect our lives?
For a start imagine how it would be to wake up in the morning and get to work without the benefit of relying on our habits. How many decisions would we have to take just to get dressed, have breakfast and get to work? These habits are our security and ease the start to our day but even these can be a hindrance.
What if there is no milk for the cereal, or the normal newspaper isn't at the shop, or someone else is sitting on that seat on the train? What sort of emotional state will we arrive at work? A disturbance of our habits can affect our emotional state and one of those days' may be set in motion.
However, the situation can be much worse than just having one of those days' as our habits can actually be a hindrance to us achieving our goals on a daily and even life basis. The problem is that there are many habits which guide our actions and we don't even realise this.
A coach can help you to identify these habits and support your transition to new ones so that your life can be changed for the better.
Sometimes we can even have habits that could have potentially damaging effect on our career and a telephone coaching session I had with a client, let's call her Anne, revealed such a situation. Anne was located in Manchester as Regional Manager and her Manager was at the Head Office in London.
Anne was angry, I could hear that clearly down the phone. Her voice tone was shrill and her sentences short and to the point. It seemed she had heard that her boss had described her to a colleague as a strong cold hearted woman but her thoughts of him seemed equally confrontational. To get awareness of how this confrontation was being fuelled I asked a few open questions.
How would you describe yourself?
How are your relationships with others you work with?
How would they describe you?
Anne explained that she was a warm, touchy, feely person and I could hear the change in her voice tone as she laughed warmly describing the Tuesday Night Pub Quiz she attended with her office colleagues. When i then asked her to describe her feelings when she talked to her boss her voice tone and mood changed immediately.
After a few moments I interrupted and asked her to describe to me exactly what her body language was at that moment. I wasn't surprised to hear that she was pacing up and down in her office with head bowed forward and all muscles tense.
And how were you when you were telling me about the pub quiz with your colleagues?'
It seemed she was relaxed and almost lying across the desk with her chin resting on her hands. I asked her to return to that position and soon her voice tone softened and when I asked
What would be your dream situation with your boss?'
In the softer tone she described that she just wanted to be able to talk to her boss first thing on a Monday without being so stressed.
What could you do to achieve this dream?'
After I repeated the question Anne eventually suggested that the only thing she could think of was to phone her boss on a Wednesday instead of Monday.
How would that help Anne?'
It seemed that if she could call on a Wednesday morning instead it would be the morning after Pub Quiz night when her mood was always good. The habit of calling him on a Monday morning had started when she had been getting stressed about something over the weekend and had rushed in on a Monday to call and get things sorted out. After that it had just become a habit and now she wasn't sure if she was stressed at the weekend because of the call or vice versa.
Hopefully on a Wednesday she could cope with her boss better and not react in the normal way. And of course I could enjoy my weekends more with the family' she added.
This was good progress as Anne herself had realised the potential benefits of changing the day she called her boss. That habit was being changed but there was just one other that i wanted to address.
How are you sitting just now?'
Anne laughed and I knew she was leaning across the desk so I asked,
And what else could you do to improve the feeling in this call to your boss?'
There was silence as Anne thought about this question and suddenly she became aware that by changing her habit from pacing up and down with tensed muscles to leaning across her desk in a relaxed way she could maybe change her mental situation as well.
The combination of altering these two habits made a major impact on Anne's relationship with her boss and their professional relationship grew dramatically within weeks. I also heard from Anne later that weekends with the family were much more relaxed and fulfilling.
I never did find out the source of the problem between Anne and her Boss but as a coach my only interest is in the clients now' and to support and guide toward the future they seek. The now' in Anne's situation was bad and could so easily have deteriorated further but with the will to make it better and changing a few habits the future looked much brighter.
The new habits' of a Wednesday morning call and leaning across the desk to talk were in themselves very small steps but they broke a pattern and in themselves formed a new more positive situation which directly affected Anne's career and life.
Self Coaching Exercise
At some point towards the end of the day take a few quiet moments and write down in a journal all the things you repeat every day. Do this every day for one week.
Review the list and pick one of these that you would like to change.
Ask yourself, How would I like this to be different tomorrow' and write this down.
Ask yourself How can I remember to do this tomorrow?
The next evening reflect if you succeeded in changing and ask yourself either, How can I make sure I do that again tomorrow?' or How can I make sure I actually do that tomorrow?'
By: Ken CoeySource: http://livelookbetter.com/eng/ Change Your Habits and Change Your LifeBy: Elena