When Good Habits Aren’t Good Enough
I recently went on a hiking adventure with my son, Clay. We first traveled to New Mexico, where we met up with my nephew and his girlfriend and hiked to the top of Wheeler Peak. At 13,115 feet, Wheeler Peak is the highest point in the state.
Clay and I then drove to Colorado, where his girlfriend (now fiance), Jess, joined us, and the three of us summited Mt. Elbert, the state’s highest point standing at 14,433 feet.
At one level, hiking a mountain is a straightforward task. Pack food and water, get a good pair of shoes, and walk. Easy enough. My daily workout routine should suffice to make it through a trek, but it doesn’t.
My home in Nashville is about 500 feet above sea level. Oxygen is plenty. My daily walking habit is good, but not good enough. More strenuous, higher-altitude trips require me to upend the good practice and gain some altitude.
The same is true for you and your team when tackling bigger goals. The good habits that serve you well can prove not good enough.
We fail to see and address the challenge of not-good-enough habits because of the binary way we frame them. We label habits as good or bad. Although this assessment has a degree of truth, it can be overly simplistic. If you want to take yourself and others to new heights, you will need to disrupt your routine. When a good habit isn’t good enough, you must establish a great one.
This might sound simple, but it’s not.
Disrupting a good habit comes with sizeable resistance. People will question why you are changing your routine and challenge you to rethink the goal you’ve set. The voice in your head may also push back on your decision, especially when the inertia of your current habits kicks in. That’s the nature of disruption; it comes with built-in critics.
Fortunately, your ability to resist the critics and overcome the inertia is stronger than you can imagine. Because of that strength, you can persevere, move forward, and turn a good habit into something better.
A Few Questions to Consider
What good habits have you fostered in your work?
How have those habits served you well in the past?
How might those good habits not be good enough based on your current challenges?
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.