“A ‘rut’ is merely a grave with both ends kicked out.” ~Zig Ziglar
By: Martin Grunburg
In a RUT?
Chances are good you could be… after all, we are all creatures of habit, right?
As we approach summer, those new year resolutions and goals seem to slip, ever more, into a distant future and our old habits take root. Summer time; vacations, family trips, BBQ’s – one party after another.
Here’s a little secret; I’ve been playing The Habit Factor® G2 (Group Game) (details forthcoming) for a few years now — refining the process with a group of local executives —and, I’ve noticed a fairly consistent pattern. That is; our behaviors (and scores) tend to wane, beginning approximately the month of May right on through August. I’m sure, this may seem a bit anecdotal but my hypothesis has another, larger reference point, the corresponding download and sales patterns of related productivity apps (and books).
So, the question begs; is it our determination, commitment, or maybe is there something a bit larger at play?
What do you think?
“You can observe a lot just by watching.” ~Yogi Berra
In this case I believe the answer tends to lie in our habitat or environment. Recall, you can’t spell habitat without first spelling HABIT and when it comes to outside influences and the forces controlling our behaviors one aspect that is consistently overlooked is our environment. What constitutes our environment? Consider anything impacting our energy levels, that is: our relationships, our physical surroundings and yes, even the time of year (calendar) influences our behavior. (Spring break anyone?)
From my experience, the best way to counter these outside influences is TRACKING your critical behaviors! What are those critical behaviors? Any key behavior when repeated drives you closer to your goal. By now, chances are you know, it is essentially the HABIT OF TRACKING that is responsible for the inception of the app, the completion of the book, and every other meaningful goal I’ve accomplished in the last 8 or so years.
Repeat after me, “The ‘T’ shall set me free.”
Yes, the “T” stands for TRACKING.
Tracking is so effective because it helps to counter the powerful environmental forces that are always at play. Tracking demands attention and attention equals focus. The beauty is, when you use The Habit Factor’s methodology, you must establish the success framework (targets, tracking period, minimum success criteria) ahead of time. By doing this, you are already (in my estimate) one-third the way towards your goal. You immediately position yourself for real momentum because you have setup the target!
The one constant I’ve noticed — observed over several years is that the highest achievers are religious in their documentation: they keep notes, log behaviors and it’s this tracking that reinforces their focus and helps to keep them on track! Consider Benjamin Franklin’s story and his personal tracking to refine his VIRTUES.
So, you say, “What about those executives who were playing the game and tracking their behaviors and yet their scores seemed to slip anyway?” Well, just consider what their progress might be like without the benefit of tracking. At least while tracking we can see the downward trend. Without it – we are flying blind! Plus, the theory here is that even under the influences of a more challenging environment, note that they still found some progress!
So, when you find yourself in a RUT
Ask yourself these questions:
How comfortable am I?
Note: this can be a tricky question because a lot of fairly unhappy people are in fact in a RUT yet, they don’t feel “comfortable”. The challenge is, they are confusing their misery for being uncomfortable when, in fact, it’s the consistency of routine/pattern (staying in their comfort zone/not changing their pattern) that is at least partially responsible for the current state of unhappiness. How can we know this for sure? Just ask them (you perhaps?) what their BIG Goal is at the moment? What are they fired up/filled with passion to pursue? What is challenging them, right now?
Are they challenging themselves with developing new skills and behaviors. Finally, do they have a BIG goal that SCARES them/challenges them? This is how anyone can get out of a rut.
When we can recognize a RUT for what it truly is, it can represent a tremendous gift‚ an awakening and an awareness. (just keep it positive / do not beat yourself up!)
So, the next time you notice you or a loved one seems to be in a R.U.T. Use the term as an acronym to both diagnose and resolve. Note: in this form they also deliver a very powerful question — Do you really understand tracking? Chew on that one.
- “R” Do you have a Really, really BIG goal?
- “U” Do you Understand how you got here and the factors contributing? (routine, patterns, environment)
- “T” Are you Tracking any NEW behaviors/habits to drive you toward your new goals?
Until next time. Peace. ; )