How do you keep doing what you *know* you should be doing long after the fun and excitement of a new project or a new routine starts to wear off? Or how do you stop doing something you know you should *not* be doing? For me, it’s accountability.
I love listening to podcasts or reading books on leadership, productivity, and self-growth. I spend my commute, to and from the office, each day consuming content on self-improvement and business success.
Even with success and personal growth top of mind, I developed a habit without even realizing it. I wish I could say I had this great epiphany where birds starting singing and sunlight was shining down on me in a glorious fashion. What really happened was… I didn’t like the way my jeans fit one morning. Simple as that. I put them on and I was mad about it. I saw myself as a healthy person, but I was able to recognize my habits had subtly changed over time. Then and there, I put into action what I had been hearing on podcasts and reading in books. I decided to make myself accountable. I wrote down every single thing I ate – every little snack, cup of coffee or glass of wine.
I didn’t want to see this as a punishment or a negative thing. To make it fun for me, I bought a cute journal and new colored pens – the planner in me LOVES buying notepads and pens. I carried that journal in my purse for a month straight so I could have it handy at a moment’s notice. Let me tell you, the thought of writing down that I had caved into cravings and ate Cheez-Its or a bag of M&Ms made me think about what I was doing. Let me be clear, the journal didn’t stop me from doing anything, but the habit of writing everything down kept my internal commitment of being healthier front and center. The accountability of putting pen to paper stopped me from unconsciously snacking and eating at home and at the office. Did I miss out on some yummy desserts? Yup. Did I want to have a glass of wine with a friend, but I decided not to do so? Of course.
The real lesson for me was that I could fall into bad habits without even realizing it. It also reminded me that I have control to change something if I don’t like it.
I still have the journal with me, but I don’t feel the need to write everything down. I’m back to a place where I feel like I have this under control.
Is there a place in your life or your business where you’ve let your habits slip a little bit? This doesn’t have to be health related. Are you doing the most important revenue generating work for your law firm or are you tinkering with the computers because you enjoy that as a hobby? Are you working so hard on the day-to-day items in your firm that you’re not working ON your business, you’re just working IN your business? Are you not as committed to a daily habit or task as you used to be?
I challenge you to take a hard look and then do something about it! Set up a system to keep yourself accountable. It can be a calendar where you make a big red checkmark each day the commitment is met or it can be as simple as sharing your goal with someone on your team so he/she can check on the progress with you. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just start it today!
Associate Director, Projects and Event Planning
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128