Honing New Habits In Four Easy Steps

Honing New Habits In Four Easy Steps
  1. Identify and repeat behaviors that are working well for you at present.

Versus looking for things to fix about your poor or missing behaviors, try the reverse and look for things to repeat and re-apply about your positive behaviors.

For example, I, personally, get much more thinking and planning work done in the mornings. This was an awareness of mine early in my career. So, when I have planning or designing work to do, I get up early and schedule my planning, problem solving, designing and other computer work for mornings. It helps me focus and concentrate for longer periods of time without becoming distracted.

This means my phone calls, colleague interactions, collaboration, meetings and physical work are scheduled for the afternoons and evenings. This works for me because, I enjoy working with others and being with others, and they seem to be more available in the afternoons and evening than in the morning.

  1. Focus on strengthening one behavior at a time.

Don’t try to change every behavior at once. You’ll burn out from the intensity required to stay focused on more than one behavior change at a time,

Behavioral change requires that you stay in the moment while consciously and intentionally focusing on how you are feeling, what you are doing, and the consequences or impacts of the behavior change you are undertaking. This requires some insightful analysis on your part to determine if the behavior changes are achieving your desired outcomes.

Psychologists say that our behaviors are solidified based on the consequences achieved. Are you satisfied with the consequences your re-applied behavior is achieving? Only you will know. Nobody else can tell you the answer.

So, exert some self-control and consciously focus to learn if your behavioral changes are really resulting in your desired outcomes.

  1. Identify triggers that initiate repetition of the behavior.

Trigger your awareness of the opportunity to use the new behavior by identifying times, situations, people or events that could benefit from application of your new behavior.

For example, I identified the morning hours as the best time for me to work on mental/ cerebral projects. So when 6:30 am came along, I consciously and intentionally sat down at my desk to work on these types of projects. Secondly. I triggered focusing on these types of projects by listing a couple of them in my calendar as morning projects. Together, these two triggers helped me remember and focus on applying my new behavior.

After a few weeks, I found that I automatically scheduled my mental and thinking projects for the morning and set my clock earlier to wake me so I could work on these projects. As a consequence, I felt good about what I was accomplishing, and eventually incorporated these triggers into my daily routine.

Others use specific meetings they attend as triggers to apply and practice a new behavior such as asking more questions, or interjecting possibility thinking, or giving positive feedback, etc. They initially trigger these behaviors by scheduling them in their calendars every time the meeting is scheduled. Others have asked a buddy (who is also in the meeting) to remind them of their desired behavior. One friend, wrote on a sticky note and posted it on his computer; “Turn off email notification until after 10:00 am”. He reinforced a positive behavior that helped him focus to get important and critical work done earlier in the day.

Triggers are identified and implemented in order to remind and assure us that we practice the behavior until it becomes a habit based on the positive consequences recognized from using it.

  1. Build new habits through repetition.

If the consequences of the behavior you are focused on are positive for you, repeat them, schedule them, improve them, and discipline yourself to continue using them.

As you develop trust and confidence in yourself to reapply the behavior, you will find that you spend less time focusing on the new behavior. It has become more comfortable and familiar because it is delivering to your expectations; and you like the outcomes of repeating the use of it.

The behavior has become a habit and requires very little maintenance to be sustained.

Congratulations!!!!! You have honed a new habit!!

Call or email me with your success stories!! Chad@cookconsulting.biz or 330-329-3137.

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Chad is a proven Catalyst for businesses, from Global 50 Powerhouses to Mom & Pop Shops


  • Transformational Change
  • Organizational Behavior Analysis
  • Strategic Planning & Deployment
  • Annual / Operational Planning & Deployment
  • Merger & Acquisition Integration

Personal Growth

  • Behavior Change – Habit Building
  • Career Growth
  • Executive Coaching
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  • & Much More
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Micro-actions That Have Micro-impact

I read an article by Bauback Yeganeh and Darren Good a while ago that has been sitting on my desk reminding me to blog about it.

They wrote that micro-actions are little slices of behavior that we intentionally use for gaining greater impact with others.

12 Examples:

  • Adjusting posture to engage more effectively
  • Maintaining eye contact
  • Smiling
  • Asking questions
  • Using silence before responding
  • Adjusting hand movements
  • Paraphrasing
  • Greeting others in the hallway and public
  • Varying your tone, volume and speed of voice
  • Thanking others
  • Using appreciative statements
  • The two-handed handshake or shoulder touch

They suggest:

  1. Observing yourself in thinner slices of time during interactions with others
  2. Identifying scenarios for new micro-actions intended to produce more impactful results
  3. Practice and update your micro-actions in front of a mirror
  4. Identify a couple of new ones to experiment with daily
  5. “Do” the action(s) in real time and observe the results

You have the opportunity to do 12 micro-actions in a minute, so your day is loaded with time and possibilities for improving your impact through the use of micro-actions.

Call or email with questions: chad@cookconsulting.biz 330-329-3137

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A Tool That Supports and Encourages Both Process and Behavior Change

Sometimes tools are used to support behavior change in teams.  If the team is a leadership team it can also support ongoing organizational change as an example of a process and behavior change tool for other groups within the organization.

The use of an agenda:

Use of an agenda brings structure and disciple to unorganized meetings.  Agendas provide a purpose and goals for the meeting that link the reason for the meetings and the outcomes of the meeting to higher level organizational strategies or goals.

The agenda also identifies the topics and time frames for each such that time is used wisely.  it also identifies the names of individuals accountable for leading the topics for the group present in the meeting.

If used, the meeting norms, or as we call them, contract for success, reflect the behavioral aspects of how we will work together during the meeting to accomplish our purpose and achieve our meeting goals.

If you look at each of these tools as a microcosm for the larger organization, you might see that they are parallel to the organizations vision, strategies, plans and culture.

Add to this that the meeting has specified participants along with a leader, timekeeper, notetaker, sergeant at arms, etc. as roles for supporting the efficiency and effectiveness of the meeting process.  These roles create discipline for adherence to the “how” the meeting is conducted.  The list of participants let’s others know who they will be working with.

Again, in a microcosm This is how we want our larger organization to operate; in an efficient, effective and disciplined manner with clear roles, accountabilities and metrics.

So, try using this agenda tool for your meetings by completing one prior to the meeting and sending it out to the participants for their pre-preparation such that the meeting runs smoothly and effectively achieves the desired outcomes.

For more information, examples, templates or support contact chad@cookconsulting.biz

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Leading Yourself – the Beginning of the Leadership Journey

No one really starts their career saying, “I want to become the best leader I can be!”.  They gravitate into an awareness of their desire to lead others through becoming experts in a discipline or technology or skill area.  Eventually, they begin to understand the value of leading and assisting others in support of achieving projects, changes, and endeavors they value.

The enduring leaders I meet began their journey of leadership (at whatever age) from an internal focus.  They, very early on in their awareness of a desire to become better leaders of others, crystallized their personal and career aspirations into tangible targets that held personal value for them.  These aspirations connected with their passion and logic drove them to pursue specific areas of learning, exploring and mastering aspects of personal, technical and interpersonal capabilities.

“Who am I?”, is the foundational question for leaders?  Taking the time to identify what makes you tick, your passion, your values and your priorities is not easy at any age.  And it’s what’s required to make tangible and actionable the internal drivers of your life.  In the absence of identifying these drivers, they control your life anyway in many irrational, spontaneous and sporadic ways.  So getting in touch with them gives you the ability to make conscious choices about decisions that will move your life forward.  Not doing this will cause you to swirl in continuous groundhog day cycles.

Ways to explore your inner self consist of:

  • Self-assessment instruments
  • Feedback from others (using an assessment tool, or not)
  • Career coaching or counseling
  • Enrolling in courses focused on self-awareness and knowledge-building
  • Working with a leadership coach

It’s not as time-consuming as it sounds, and builds a solid foundation for enduring leadership that others will engage with because of your insight, honesty and authenticity.

Call or email with additional questions or comment with your ideas.

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3Q Strategic & Annual Planning Assessment

3Q Self-Assessment for Strategic Planning

  1. We have a Vision and Mission identified for our organization.    Yes    No
  2. We have high-level Goals and Strategies identified for our organization.    Yes   No
  3. All employees are familiar with these strategic aspects of our organization.   Yes    No

What questions do you have about this topic?

  • Check my blog topics and search for options.
  • Call and let’s talk.

3Q Self-Assessment for Annual Planning

  1. Every employee is knowledgeable about the responsibilities and goals he/she has agreed to accomplish this year.   Yes   No
  2. We have posted graphs, charts and visual indicators of progress to plan in our worksites.   Yes   No
  3. Every employee is involved with creating the Annual Plan in some way.   Yes   No

What questions do you have about this topic?

  • Check my blog topics and search for options.
  • Call and let’s talk.
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