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March 7, 2003

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
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"It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and THEN do your best."
--  W. Edwards Deming
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CHANGING HABITS
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We all have habits we'd like to change.  Many of us face repeated disappointment and frustration as we try, year after year, to improve the same familiar territory.  We KNOW what we need to do, we WANT and PLAN to do it, and yet, over and over, we run into that same mysterious gap between intention and reality. 

To successfully implement change, we must first become aware of our behavior so that we can discover what it is we need to adjust or correct.  Since our auto pilot is usually engaged, we need to deliberately, consciously and continually choose to set our intention in this direction.  The key is to disrupt the usual patterns of behavior in a way that nudges you awake.  Smokers trying to quit will put their ashtray in one room, pack of smokes in the garage, and lighter in the freezer.  The time it takes to gather the paraphernalia from all over the house creates a shift into consciousness. 

I've always needed to improve my productivity.  A few years ago, I developed a simple one page time tracker that divides the day from 8 AM to 9 PM into 15 minute increments.  Of course, I haven't been using it!  Last week, when I was feeling inefficient, overloaded and overwhelmed, my coach suggested I take notes on exactly what I was doing and when.  How convenient to already have a tool for this in my files!  I was surprised to find that simply slowing my pace every 30 minutes or so to jot down what I was doing at that moment, along with reviewing my notes at the end of the day, enabled me to shift my perceptions and awareness rather quickly.  Patterns began to emerge; I could more easily see how I might make adjustments to work smarter rather than harder.  How often I was making things more difficult for myself became more obvious.  I also saw how much I WAS accomplishing, and how silly it is to berate myself for not doing "more" when most of my time is already accounted for.  With a small change in behavior, I have begun to gain an awareness that has long eluded me.  The challenge is to continue to use this tool daily to remain conscious and continuously on track. 

What long standing behavior pattern do you want to change? How can you diffuse your auto pilot and become more aware of your actions? By Nancy Gerber, Professional Certified Coach, President of Stepping Stones http://www.sstones.com
Copyright 2003 by Nancy Birnbaum-Gerber
All rights reserved.  Used with permission.
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COACHING CALL TO ACTION
CHANGING HABITS
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1.     What habit would you like to change?
 

2.     Did you hear/feel resistance inside when you asked yourself
        this question?

3.     Note those feelings . . . where are they in your body?
        Note those thoughts . . . what are they saying?
        A key step in change is to identify the forces we have in place
        that "protect" us from changing.  They have done a good job
        getting us to where we are.  Is it time to let go of them?

4.     Take your new actions for your new habits and at the same
        time be aware of your thoughts and feelings.  They may
        represent the biggest hurdle in adopting your new habit.
        And, identifying them will not only help you change this
        habit, but all habits

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