I moved my trashcan from the right side of my desk to the left side three weeks ago. Yet each time I go to toss something in it, I immediately bend to my right, remember I made the change, and then pivot and toss it to my left. (No kidding, as I was writing this, I did it again.)
Even if the habit is something as dumb as the position of our trashcan (or kitchen plastic wrap — another recent change I can’t accept), they're hard to break. Usually changes you want to make are much larger personal and professional goals: losing weight, keeping to deadlines, packing homemade lunches, building on your pipeline, working out, training your staff, quitting smoking, having consistent outreach, remembering to turn on the dishwasher. (Or is the last one just me?)
Since change is hard even when it’s easy, changes that are actually difficult can sometimes feel impossible or futile.
We all start with the best intentions and come out like gangbusters. New workout gear. New employees. New computers. New Tupperware. In most instances, though, the change lasts for a few weeks. Or a few days. Or a few hours. Or it has a million false starts.
There is one a simple, but huge, thing getting in your way: your ability to talk yourself into or out of almost anything.
You’ll workout tomorrow. You’ll have that staff meeting next week. You’ll quit after your next pack. You’ll start making calls to prospects next month. You’ll turn on the dishwasher when you go to bed because it’s so loud…and before you know it, Netflix has called your name, or it's raining, or a friend, relative, client, or colleague has called with a problem and taken over your day or evening, or you start thinking of things you should implement to your business before you start calling on those prospects, or you straight up forget to turn on the dishwasher. Every. Single. Night.
This all does not mean you are doomed to live a life without change or progress. It just means that you're the type of person (and most of us are) who needs outside accountability to reach your goals.
Experiment and find out what works for you and your particular goals. Maybe it’s announcing an objective or deadline on social media or to a professional group. Maybe it’s finding friends and colleagues to check in on your progress. Maybe it’s using a productivity app or old-fashioned list. If one method doesn't work, find another.
Your best friend might give you a pass if you miss a workout, but a fitness coach will call you out on your excuses. Find an accountability partner for your various top goals — someone who can relate to your struggles, or at least empathize with them, but not let you succumb to them.
What is the one thing you’ve struggled with changing and who can help you take the leap?