If you are like me, at some point you read about Stephen Covey’s famous 7 Habits (see The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). I first learned about them over 15 years ago and have sought to apply those lessons ever since.
The difference in the first 15 years and the last one is that I now have a tool that helps me actually track how consistently I apply those principles…with visibility to a host of accountability partners…in a way that my old Franklin planner never did. I’ll tell you about the tool (irunurun) in a second, but first let’s recap those timeless principles…
- Be proactive
- Begin with the end in mind
- Put first things first
- Think win/win
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood
- Sharpen the saw
They sound easy, right? Which of these is complicated? None. The hard thing is living them.
So if you are pondering a resolution or goal for the New Year, consider for a minute how your approach this year will differ from times past. Will your resolutions die by February or will you hard-wire new habits that will power your progress for life? THAT is a meaningful resolution!
If you are like me, you are busy. Life-change sound exciting, but it has to fit into the confines of an overflowing list of other stuff that has to get done. Consider my approach to living the 7 Habits:
1) Establish purpose. Ok, a lot of people think change starts with goals. Goals are fine, but the best goals are powered by purpose. The “end” is more about a clear understanding of what matters and WHY you are trying to endure life-change than it is about hitting a sales quota or stepping up to a bigger mortgage.
2) Identify the fundamentals. What are the 5 to 7 behaviors that will be required to achieve the kind of success you have envisioned? Again, goals in and of themselves do not equal change. Behaviors must change. Actions must be sustained. Identify the specific actions required to achieve your goals and prioritize them. These are your “first things” to put first.
3) Get real. Covey never asked, but are the actions required to achieve your goals really sustainable? Meaningful change demands shifts in behavior that you can sustain for months or years. If you are planning to shift behaviors in a way that you never have before, break the shifts into VERY SMALL changes and consider applying the changes little-by-little (just 1 or 2 at a time) over 3 to 6 months…NOT overnight. If the changes are more than you think you can see yourself doing long term, re-evaluate your goal or your purpose. One of them has to give.
4) Secure some accountability. The 7 Habits didn’t specifically preach accountability, but if you are like me, you’ll need it. With a focused set of key actions defined, identify a few people who care enough about you to serve as accountability partners. This could include a coach, some teammates, or some friends; just don’t try to make yourself over without help. At some point down the road, you’ll need them calling you to the mat.
5) Go time! Start executing, and don’t stop…no matter what.
Sounds easy again, right? Well you know better, so rather than leaving your life’s purpose to chance, try this tool: irunurun. It’s a performance and accountability tool, nicknamed the greatness app.
When you are ready to get started, create an account in irunurun (free at www.irunurun.com or $.99 in the App Store) to track your new behaviors and share your progress with your accountability partners.
In less than 5 minutes, you can set up a dashboard with up to 7 key actions that you intend to perform on a weekly basis, weight each action out of 100 total points so your hardest and most-important actions get priority, and share your progress real-time, all-the-time with your accountability partners.
If this is really going to be a breakthrough year of lasting change for you, your team, or your organization, take the process of change seriously. Whether your goal is to grow your company or slim the waistline, plan carefully and equip yourself with the tools that can help you succeed.
What is on your agenda for 2012?