There's something so energizing about the first few days of September. Even after we leave school behind, this time of year still feels like a new beginning - an opportunity to learn new things, make new friends, and re-invent ourselves.
The week after about day is like the first week of a new year, but better: it's a symbolic fresh start, a chance to change our habits and start a new routine. All without the misery of January weather.
Spice! Leadership HQ has definitely gotten into the September spirit. After a thrilling first year, our team is hunkering down to plan how we can have an even bigger impact in 2018-2019. We're also practicing what we preach and applying a growth mindset to our own lives - fitness, finances, friendships and more.
If you've decided to make some magic of your own this fall, here are our top 3 tips for success:
1. Set SMART goals
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. In this instance, "specific" means that your goal should be clear enough that it helps you focus your efforts. "Measurable means that you have an objective way to know when you've achieved it. "Achievable" means that the goal is ambitious but achievable. It helps to think about what is within your control and what isn't. A "relevant" goal is one that matters most to you and will push you towards the life that you want for yourself (not the one that other people want for you, or the one that you feel like you should want). Finally, "Time-bound" means that you have a clear deadline. That creates a sense of urgency that will help keep you on track.
This technique is incredibly effective because it forces you to think about *why* the goal is important and how you're going to achieve it. You define what you want to accomplish, and you can see yourself making progress towards it. And if you miss your deadline, it's usually easy to assess where you went wrong and what you need to change next time you try it.
2. Make habit into a force for good
Most of our habits come with triggers that prompt us to do those things. For example, finishing dinner is a trigger for eating dessert, and getting ready for bed is a trigger for brushing your teeth.
When you're trying to get rid of a habit, the key is o disrupt your usual triggers. For example, if your goal is to stop social media from sapping your productivity, a browser extension like Leechblock, WasteNoTime or StayFocusd will interrupt your mindless browsing and remind you to get back to the important stuff. On the other hand, you can use your existing habits to trigger new, positive habits. Your morning commute could be a great time to listen to educational podcasts. Or, convince your friends to sign up for a fun dance class in place of your weekly happy hour. It's as easy as adding a new, positive behaviour on top of something you already do.
3. Use the buddy system
Misery loves company - er, what we mean is, life is more fun with a friend. Most of us are better at reaching our goals if we have to answer to somebody else for our success or failure. So find a (reliable) friend who has a similar goal, and promise that you'll hold them accountable if they'll do the same for you. Let them support, encourage and inspire you. Like pumpkin and spice, you're better together!
This isn't the only way that you can use peer pressure to your advantage. Research shows us that the people around us have a huge impact on our habits, so surround yourself with people who already do what you're trying to do.
Do you have any other tips to share? Let us know in the comments what you're up to this fall, and how you're doing to achieve it!
Oh, and one more thing: if you want to use the buddy system to improve your public speaking game, bring a friend to our September public speaking workshop (and save some $$$ in the process)!