In his essay The Power of Habit,
productivity consultant Brian Tracy describes how you can use the process of creating new habits to be more successful in your field of work.
First, identify the 5 to 7 key skills of success in your field.
Once you have this list, ask yourself: Which of those skills are you weakest in?
Take that skill and follow the 7 steps below to improve.
For example, if your weakest skill is writing, here’s what the process might look like:
1. Specific action: Be clear and specific about the new behavior that will support your new habit (e.g., doing a writing exercise for 20 minutes every morning).
2. No exceptions: Making exceptions is at the root of all failed attempts to develop new habits, so don’t rationalize any excuses to practice your new habit during the formative stage.
3. Spread the word: Letting other people know about your new habit has a few benefits:
- First, you’ll be more disciplined and determined when you know that others are watching to see if you’ll follow through on your resolution.
- Second, you’re more likely to stay on track with the support of those who want to see you succeed.
4. Visualize success: The more often you imagine yourself acting as if you already have the new habit, the more easily this behavior will be accepted by your subconscious and become automatic. What will happen when you’re writing more effectively?
5. Talk to yourself: Create an affirmation that you repeat to yourself (e.g., I will become a better writer). Because what you focus on grows, you can intentionally change your thought patterns and increase the speed at which you adopt the new habit.
6. Resolve to persist: Commit to doing the new habit until it’s automatic, and not doing it makes you feel uncomfortable.
7. Reward yourself: By rewarding yourself each time you practice the new habit, you reinforce the behavior. Even if you feel devoted to your goal, this can act as “insurance to keep you going even in face of obstacles.”
Note: We wrote about another one of Brian Tracy’s personal development tools, the “Seven Rs of Simplification,” in a previous issue.