Habits, Not Goals

Turning goals into habits, being a better manager, and the lasting benefits of moderation.

Victor Saad

Founder

Welcome to issue No. 25 of Work Different — a weekly summary of the top articles focused on workplace culture and career development.

On Building Habits Instead of Goals

Habits are simple. Whatever we do repeatedly becomes a habit — from brushing our teeth to how we schedule meetings. Sometimes, thinking of our tasks as goals to check off can bring us unnecessary stress. My friend and coach, Eric Nehrlich and I have talked about this at length over the years. In this post, he recommends we start thinking of our tasks as habits instead. For example, instead of making a goal of writing a “blog post” each week, think of developing the habit of “writing for 30 minutes” each week. “Building the habit of writing without thinking about posting is paradoxically going to get more results than focusing on the output of posts alone.” Turn your goals into regular habits so you can see them as a part of your daily or weekly routine, rather than sources of stress and anxiety. LinkedIn. (Illustration credit above: Timo Kuilder)

PS: If you need inspiration on a writing habit, here’s an old post from my archives.

On Being A Better Manager

An effective manager can make or break a team. Molly Graham shares her top rules for how to step up in your role as a manager. 1. Management is not leadership. Management isn’t telling people what to do. “Management is about investing in people, figuring out who they are, what they’re good at, what motivates them, and then aligning the work a company has to do with their role and their growth areas.” 2. Avoid micromanaging. The best-performing teams are made up of talented individuals who each have their own workflows. The manager should direct the team towards the collective goal, and not micromanage each member’s work style. 3. Spend more time with high performers. It makes intuitive sense to focus on working with low-performers, but as a manager you’re looking to bring out the team’s maximal potential. Check in with your team’s top performers to see how you can help them do even better. 4. Be direct. Do not wait to have hard conversations. Offer honest feedback as early as possible. First Round Review.

On the Lasting Benefits of Moderation

What is the secret to a long and healthy life? In Okinawa, Japan, there are 68 centenarians (people over 100 years old) — more than three times the number found in U.S. populations of the same size. Why is this so? The Okinawans eat with mindfulness, intention and awareness. The Japanese phrase “Hara hachi bu” is a reminder to stop eating when stomachs are 80% full. The American culture around food could benefit from this mindset of mindfulness. In the US, “We gain weight insidiously, either by stuffing ourselves or by eating a little bit too much each day — mindlessly.” To change this, start by paying attention to what you’re eating, how fast you’re eating, and don’t worry as much about caloric intake. Make It.

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Victor Saad

Founder

I’m an author, educator, and community builder living in Chicago. I started Experience Institute, an organization helping college students and career professionals learn and grow through short-term, real-world experiences.

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