For the first half of my career, I found the results roller coaster to be a thrilling ride. Most of my work was project work, and when the project was successfully completed it was a high.
But then came the low. Project work can be exhausting mentally and physically. Inevitably what followed the successful completion was a period of lower productivity and a below normal response to people. I was not able to serve and support people well as I recovered and rebounded.
A better approach that I discovered, primarily guided by my business coach Mark LeBlanc’s brilliant quote, is this: “What you do every day is more important than what you do once in a while.”
Think about that for a second: What you do every day is more important than what you do once in a while.
What Mark helped me realize is how critical it is for us to have consistent day in, day out habits and routines. This is how we build our foundation on which everything else stands.
How can you smooth out your roller coaster? Watch the video below or read the rest of my blog for answers.
The first thing to do is to change your mindset. When you are more consistent, it will drive revenue and earnings, or whatever that is for you, such as pay raises, positive reviews, and other things that matter to you as far as your performance and how you are seen by others. Your performance will be more consistent. You will be seen as more valuable and bring more to the table every day for those you serve.
Call it a momentum mindset versus a project mindset.
The momentum mindset is about making sure that you have a foundation of routines and rituals that you implement on every single day. There are four essential keys to this framework: first, you’re going to identify; second, you’re going to attach; third, you’re going to track; and, fourth, you’re going to restart.
The first key is identifying. Here’s the key question to contemplate and brainstorm: what impactful habits, if I consistently execute them daily, can support me in multiple areas of my life?
Here are three buckets to consider:
- The Relationships Bucket. I would strongly encourage you to have a daily habit of some kind of intentional outreach in relationships. This is what my on belay principle is all about (belaying refers to a variety of techniques in climbing that in case of a mishap, a climber does not fall far). I’ve produced multiple articles and videos on that climbing metaphor. Think about the relationships that you need to build. This applies to both your work and persona life.
- The Health and Wellness Bucket. Many of my daily habits are around health and wellness. Exercise and meditation habits are two great examples. In addition, every morning I have a green juice of some type, so I have a nutritional daily habit as well.
- The Critical Business Activities Bucket. You have something you have to do on a regular basis daily. And you know when you do it consistently, everything else is easier. These are high leverage fundamental activities that may be simple; but, you know that when you do them consistently, everything is better. The clarity in your current climb is really powerful . This is a way of saying: “This project, of all the other things I’m doing, is the most important thing that I’m trying to move forward every single day consistently.”
What I want to encourage you to do is to identify foundational high leverage habits and routines that if you did them every day, it would impact everything.
Attaching is the second key. Attaching is based on an incredible resource and I have this in the newsletter for August 2018. Dr. BJ Fogg, a brilliant behavioral psychologist from Stanford University, figured out an incredibly important insight around attaching habits and getting habits installed into our life.
What Dr. Fogg found is that if you reduce the habit to its smallest size possible (minimal amount of time, so you don’t resist it), and then attach it to the end of the routine, you’re much more likely to actually execute it.
His great example is about brushing your teeth. He suggests you floss a single tooth until you get in the habit of always linking those brushing and flossing. I hope you already brush your teeth at least once a day. Then just attach the flossing routine at the end and then you’re on your way.
I would invite you to first of all look at your morning routines and morning routines are a critical, critical anchor to your day and your success. What are you already doing in the morning that you can attach at the end of those routines to build in these daily habits? Then chain them together. Next think about midday, PM, and evening routines as well.
The third key is tracking. I love the iOS iPhone app called Streaks. Here are a few quick tips on how to pick an app to track your habits that I used when I tested about 15 different apps:
- I want it to be simple and clean in the interface and easy, easy, easy to use. It must be easy to use or you will not use it.
- I did not want a subscription base. I wanted a flat fee, that I could purchase the Streaks for Apple iOS. It’s five buck one-time purchase.
- I definitely wanted it to be able to encourage and inherently push me into not breaking a streak, at keeping it going and maintaining it. That’s how I managed to meditate for 186 days and then I finally fell off the horse, which leads me to the fourth step.
Track your habits and try to keep the streaks going.
When you do fall off the horse, it’s okay. Just restart as soon as possible. The fourth key is to restart immediately.
Check out my August of 2018, blog article on this. It’s titled “Building the Momentum Mindset: The Art of the Restart.” The article goes into detail about the restart and just getting back on it immediately; not waiting until Monday, or the first of the month, or New Year’s Day, or anything like that. Just get on it right away. Restart as soon as possible.
Summing It Up
Once I started really focusing on the day in and day out habits and getting that routine and tracking it, everything started shifting. It really got me off that roller coaster. No more of the big project highs and then a crash.
I promise you it’s worth it. What I would love to do is challenge you for three things:
First, I challenge you to just share. I want to hear what are the daily habits for you that either you already are doing maybe or you want to restart. Perhaps you need to install them for the first time because you know they’re going to make a really fundamental difference in every area of your life.
Second challenge, what is maybe a habit-tracking app that you already use?
The third challenge is that you just share this concept with someone. If you think of someone you know in your life could benefit from it, please pass it along.
I would love for you to share so others can learn from you on how to get off the results roller coaster as well. Just leave your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks a lot.
To learn more about my 9 Vertical Lessons for Leading with Impact check out my new book Reaching Your Next Summit!
Your climb to excellence is never easy. The human drive within calls us to what is possible. The principles shared in this book will renew your commitment and inspire your quest for excellence. You will realize more of your potential as you sharpen your focus, act with courage, and generate momentum in reaching your next summit—and beyond.