Did you see that? That thing that just whizzed by your ear? That was the last year waving goodbye! Time to embrace a new year and all that entails. Every year we learn new lessons. Surprisingly, the best lessons we learn are from the mistakes we make. I like to think of them as learning opportunities. Remember, we have always said that if you solve a problem, you have probably made a customer for life.

One Pivotal Change-Up can Re-Shape your Whole Life.

It’s time for analysis! What problem did you solve last year that inspired you to make changes in your professional or personal life? Which leads me into what makes us change? Every year we make resolutions or goals that are supposed to create better lives for ourselves and/or our families. I can tell you that over the years I have made hundreds of resolutions that have never come to fruition, usually because there are so many of them I can’t keep track of whether I have reached them or not!

Photo by Ian Schneider

The Power of the Habit.

I have just read a pivotal book, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, or at least, pivotal for me. The premise of the book is that it is habit that rules our daily lives and in changing our habits we can change our world. However, it isn’t by changing EVERY habit that can make a difference, it is by finding that one crucial habit that so many other behaviors revolve around. The personal example that Mr. Duhigg used was in losing weight. Hands up all of you who at one time or another wanted to lose weight! Been there, done that, still dealing with it!

Here is the one experiment that created the most significant result. A group of overweight people were asked to keep a food diary just one day a week, consistently. As the people moved forward and could see repeating patterns in their eating behavior, most started keeping their log on a daily basis and were able to make changes in their behavior by making their own assessments. No one else had to tell them, they analyzed themselves and made the necessary changes to develop better choices in their daily intake. By making that one small commitment, they were able to make changes with long lasting effects. One key factor fomented change in everyday behavior.

The Past President of Alcoa

My favorite example from the corporate world is the story of Paul O’Neill, a past president of Alcoa, the largest American producer of aluminum. When he became the CEO, everyone expected that the new boss would be focused on profit margin, productivity, etc. Instead, his focus was on worker safety. He put the safety of his workers as his main priority. Guess what? Profits went up! Think about the culture he created in his company – the value of a worker on the plant floor! It changed how everyone did their jobs.  That one pivotal change influenced how the labor force conducted their work and how management viewed their departments.

Photo by Martin Shreder

What pivotal change will you make in your personal life and in your professional life that will have an influence on how you conduct yourself? My pivotal change is going to be changing up my reading habit in the morning. Rather than listen to a novel when I am out for my walk, I am going to listen to a motivational business book. They inspire me and I know they will change how I run my business – with enthusiasm and inspiration! Your turn.