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Posted on July 31, 2017
We all have bad habits we want to break… biting our nails, overeating, or what about that nasty habit we slip into around “throwing together some slides”? We know these things are bad for us, so why don’t we just do something about it? It turns out that our brains go into a kind of autopilot to conserve energy and take the path of least resistance. We continue to do things that we know are harmful because it doesn’t take much thought or require significant consciousness from us once we start.
In a Psychology Today article, they say elements of breaking a bad habit are (i) to get specific about your goal, (ii) embrace the fact it’s going to be hard, and (iii) have a contingency plan for when your willpower breaks down. The last point is a good one because we often tend to overestimate our willpower anyway. Once you have your goal, here are 3 proven steps overcoming the old autopilot:
Step #1: It’s about the mindset.
Dictionary.com defines MINDSET as “an intention or inclination” which is a teeny shift from a GOAL STATEMENT, which is “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed.”
Look at the difference between “I promise to start flossing my teeth each day” vs “my goal is to floss my teeth every day.”
Maybe it’s because “I have a goal” is a passive statement, whereas “I promise…”, is an active statement.
So let’s get back to our last-minute crappy slides; how about this as a mindset? “I promise to have visual slides that convey my message for my next lecture.”
Step #2: You have to make a decision.
The part we often overlook in changing a habit is making a conscious decision. Making a decision is empowering ourselves. To decide is to create a sense of leadership in your own life.
“I’ve decided that I will no longer have text heavy slides as a result of procrastination and self-sabotage.”
Or even better, “I’ve decided that I am the type of speaker who will not procrastinate and end up with text-heavy slides.”
Or, “I’ve decided that I am the type of speaker who focuses on my A game and key priorities, before I take on activities that are less important or that distract me from my most important work.”
Deciding to decide can become a good, powerful habit in and of itself.
Step #3: Take action.
Finally, you take the intention and the decision, and you CRAFT ACTION. If you have good intentions and make good decisions, the action becomes much easier. Well let’s say it becomes much more aligned. You’ll know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and the benefit you get as a result.
“I know text and bullet points bore my audience and detract from my success as a speaker. I am going to use visual slides that will increase my effectiveness by over 80%.”
The final lesson of the day is this. There are times when the effort is so huge for me that I get discouraged and give up. My mentors have taught me it’s better to hire people to do things I don’t know how to do or I’m not that good at. Once I given them my vision for the outcome, I set them loose to do what they do best. As Steve Jobs said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” Our goal at Laser Pointer is to help you break bad habits and become the best version of yourself.
Let us know if we can help you keep your promise!