Self Growth is one of the main jobs all leaders have and should seek to model good habits to those around them.
You can go blue in the face trying to tell people that they need to grow and improve, but no one’s going to put in any effort if they don’t see you doing it first. However, leaders who model positive behavior—like striving for self-growth—will find that their followers respond far more easily even without having to say anything.
The problem is: self-growth is always easier said than done!
Any sort of meaningful change is going to take time and effort. For most leaders with busy schedules, the idea of tacking on one more thing might feel like too much, or too heavy a burden.
Time for you to try our simple five-step process for guaranteed self-growth!
The formula works, provided you work it. But if you follow the steps properly, you’ll find you will see self-growth in no time—and you’ll be able to share your formula for success with everyone on your team.
Self Growth Step 1: Write it Down
Whatever you want to do, write it down!
Ideas that remain only in our brain can easily disappear and be forgotten. But when you write it down, two things happen:
- You have physical evidence that reminds you of what you intended or thought.
- The act of writing it down locks it more firmly in your memory, making it less likely that you’ll forget.
Think about the goals you want to work toward, the progress you want to make. Even if it’s just one simple thing, give it some thought and figure out what to boil it down to in one simple statement.
Here are a few examples:
- “I want to complete X course “
- “I want to improve my physical health in X specific aspect”
- “I want to focus on my mental health by X and X”
- “I want to manage my time better by making X changes”
Keep it simple and actionable. Make sure that it’s a goal that is realistic, too, something you are capable of doing given your busy schedule. You want to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance of success, so set goals that you know you can fulfill.
Once you have that goal, write it down and post it EVERYWHERE: on your computer screen, your desktop background, in your bedroom, next to your bathroom mirror, and anywhere else you can think of. The more places you see it, the easier it will be to remember to do it.
Step 2: Set a When
The big mistake many people make when setting a goal is stopping there. They set a goal but don’t put a timeline on it—both a timeline to start and a timeline to finish.
Regardless of what your goal is, you need to set a date to begin working on it.
Using two of the examples above:
- “I want to enrol in X course on X date, to complete it by X date”
- “I want to improve my physical health by spending X hours per day/week engaged in X specific activity, for X days/weeks/months consecutively”
By giving yourself a schedule, you’ll make it that much more real in your mind, and something you’ll need to start taking action on now.
Step 3: Share Your Goals
Sharing your goals and action plan serves two purposes:
- It shows others around you that you take self-growth seriously, leading by example.
- It makes you accountable to them because you have to follow through with what you decided to do.
Find someone you can trust, someone whose opinion you respect, and share your goals with them. Enlist their help to keep you accountable by following up on you daily, weekly, or monthly to see how your efforts are going.
Step 4: Shift Your Self Growth Habits
This is the really tricky part, but the most important one!
The first half of this is to make your desired activity easier to do. Let’s say your goal is to start studying and improving your education. You’ve already enrolled in the course and taken action, but now it’s time to actually do the work of studying. To make it easier, set aside a chunk of time during the day—time that used to be taken up by other activities—to give your new goal primary focus.
Make it as easy as possible to carry out this new desired behavior. Reward yourself for doing what you set out to do or for reaching milestones. Shift your daily and weekly work and life habits so it is as easy as possible to fulfill your goals.
The second half, then, is to make undesirable activities harder to do. If you’re trying to replace your existing video game time with new study habits, the simple option would be to make it harder to play video games and easier to study. Lock up your video games, uninstall them from your computer, or sell your console. The harder it is to engage in undesirable activities, the easier it will be to push yourself to engage in the desirable activities.
Step 5: Work Until Self Growth is a Habit
Finally, and this step is absolutely crucial, just keep working until it’s a habit!
It takes an average of 66 days to form new habits. 66 days until behavior starts to feel “automatic” and it no longer takes as much effort. However, some people have found that it has taken up to 254 days (around 8 months) to form new habits, especially for things they find difficult or challenging.
Work toward your goal until it feels automatic and becomes a habit! Don’t give up until it gets easier. You’ll be glad you kept pushing through the hard times.