There have been hundreds of books written on developing good habits. The authors attempt in various ways to explain why we do what we do, identify new habits that will energize us, show us how to develop positive new habits in as few as 21 days, and much more.
Though this broad approach is great for selling books, it provides little in the way of offering useful information. Why? Because specific ideas that work for one person may be of little benefit to another. And while it's easy to acquire a bad habit in as little as a few days, there is no prescribed amount of time for developing good ones.
Habits grow out of the things we consciously do every day. They are actions we choose to take, but the repetitiveness engrains them into our minds so that they become instinctive. This is important for sales professionals and their managers to remember. The behaviors that contribute to a vibrant business environment grow out of everyday experiences on the sales floor.
Cultivating good habits isn't as complex as it might seem, but it does take work. Once acquired, they are not easily altered. Psychologists say even occasionally missing a day while trying to develop a habit does not undermine the process. Developing positive habits, especially in a sales environment, begins with figuring out what it is you want and need to do well, consistently, and instinctively… then making it happen. Here are six moves you can make today to begin the process of developing habits that lead to success:
- Narrow your options. You can't do everything, so determine what's important.
- Don't attempt radical, immediate change. Try to fit new habits into old ones and expand on things you already do. Start with something easy, giving yourself more complex assignments as you progress.
- Try doing a little each day toward a broad goal. Set benchmarks to measure incremental progress. Practice by making a conscious effort to perform the acts you want to become routine.
- Create checklists and reminders to keep yourself on track. Periodically revisit your list to see how consistently you act.
- Coordinate your efforts with others who are working toward developing good habits to develop a circle of mutual support.
- Reward yourself in some small, but meaningful way. Anytime you've achieved a benchmark is usually a good time.
Making new habits stick, especially in a sales environment, requires coordination between managers and members of the sales team. Corresponding efforts in which people are working toward similar goals – or simultaneously toward individual goals – can make a difference for the individuals and the business as a whole.
Lasting change requires a change in environment. This doesn't mean finding a new place to work or new people with whom to work. It means changing the way you communicate and interact with colleagues on a daily basis, so that you and they are forming positive new habits together and each of you sees and benefits from the other person's development.