• Anna Conrad

How to Change Behavior




I work with a lot of high achievers who come to me with lofty goals. But big goals, such as “have Executive Presence" or "get comfortable with conflict," are often more oppressive than sustainable.

Behavior change takes time. The only way to achieve big goals is to start small with micro-habits. The small, achievable habits build upon one another to help you achieve that larger goal over time. These habits should be small, like practicing an Executive Presence paragraph for one minute every day or identifying three things you are grateful for each day. To minimize effort, piggyback on a daily task. Perform your new action simultaneously as (or right before) something you already do every day. For example, practice the Executive Presence paragraph while brewing your coffee. Identify what you are grateful for before you get out of bed.

An essential part of changing behavior is tracking your progress. My executive coaching clients use technology for this, but you don’t have to get that elaborate. A simple table with the action, date, and yes/no option to track if you completed the task will work. Once you’ve accrued several weeks of Ys, increase your micro habit by a small increment, such as 10%. Continue these tiny, incremental adjustments until the new habit is part of your muscle memory. By starting small, you can achieve significant results.

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