Your life is made up of habits, routines and rituals. Habits happen with the least effort and awareness. This is great if what you are doing is serving you and not so great when what you are doing isn’t. As we head towards the end of 2021, this is a great time to take stock. Maybe it’s drinking too much coffee (“Is there such a thing?” I hear you say 😉), grabbing unhealthy snacks, multitasking, nail-biting, being hard on yourself, taking on too much, getting caught up in gossiping or complaining… Whatever the habit, you know you’d be better off without it. To break and replace our tendencies, there are six simple steps you can follow that make all the difference. The best way to really do this thoroughly is to take these steps in stages. This week we will take Steps 1 to 3, and then tackle the rest next week to…


‘be the difference that makes the difference.’

  1. Identify ALL your habits, not just the ones you perceived to be ‘bad’. Habits can be a useful comfort zone that make us feel safe, but they can also keep us stuck. The problem is that our subconscious kicks in and these tendencies take over without the least thought on our part. Monitor yourself for a full week as you go through each day. Jot down the habits that you have no matter how arbitrary they seem. Whether it’s crossing your legs, always trying to park as close to the shops as possible, getting a coke or coffee at the same time every day, sitting for three hours straight, drinking water, prepping ahead of next week’s meetings, reading before bed, saying you’ll do something but not remembering to follow through, saying I love you to your partner and/or kids every day, grabbing a handful of crisps while waiting for dinner. The list will go on and on. Put everything on your list. The point here isn’t to change every habit, but simply to identify them and bring them into conscious awareness. You might even want to ask your colleagues or family for their input and support. What do they see you doing over and over, day in and day out? Then you can…
  2. Identify what works for you. What habits are serving you and key to your success and happiness? This could be a myriad of things like…
    Wearing sunblock. Getting 7 hours of sleep every night. Exercising 3 to 4 times a week.
    Leaving your phone far from reach when you engage with you family. Saying I love you every day.
    Scheduling a 5 minute buffer between all meeting so you can stretch and clear the highway of you mind.
    Minimising all distractions, including closing Outlook, when you are in a key meeting.
    Having courageous conversations regularly and not waiting for problems to go away.
    Genuine listening with empathy (no interrupting or steering the conversation).
    Giving your family as much attention and energy as you give your key clients.
    Maintaining work and home boundaries and aiming to stop work at a dedicated time every day.
    Daily… Prayer. Meditation. 4:7:8 Breathing. Journaling. Laughter and so on…
    (Hopefully the above give you some good ideas! 😊)
  3. Identify what is not working for you. What negatively affects you the most? By the end of this week identify the tops three habits that you know you need to change to improve the quality of your life. Maybe add it to your calendar now as a task for Friday morning.
    It could be…
    Interrupting. Multitasking. Wasting time on social media. Sitting for too long.
    Analysis paralysis. Worrying about what you can’t control. Procrastinating.
    Putting papers on your desk instead of filing. Checking email too often / too seldom.
    Drinking too much coffee. Going to bed too late and so on…

Look at the short-term and long-term picture and prepare to face your worst habit head on next week and make a plan to really bring about deep and last change so you can…

‘be the difference that makes the difference.’ 


NOTE: The information in my blog may be freely shared and re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line: This was written by Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, and originally appeared in her free weekly  ‘Key Steps Food for Thought Blog’ available on the Key Steps website.

Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

About Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

Sharon is a dynamic facilitator, speaker and executive coach with over 20 years’ experience in leadership and organisational development and transformation. She is a registered Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP), holds an Honours degree in Psychology and practices as an NLP master practitioner. She is also one of only three women in South Africa to hold the title of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – it’s the Oscar of the speaking business.

Sharon’s PhD thesis contributed a framework for holistic and sustainable leadership development that has been published by Rutgers University in the USA. She is faculty of Henley Business School and highly sought-after by leading corporates because she works hand-in-hand with them to create sustainable results and long-term success. Sharon has become known for her practical approach, useful tools and genuinely caring manner. She is really looking forward to working with you and taking Key Steps to ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’