Design Effective Practices – Make them Simple, Sustainable and Supported
Practices can be powerful tools for shifting habits and bringing lasting change to your life. For this reason, practices are a key element in any good coaching programme.
So why is it that some practices work and others don’t?
For a practice to be really effective it must be Simple, Sustainable and Supported.
Let’s look at what that means.
Keep it Simple
Take a first step
Start your practice with a first step… NOT the final outcome…
The objective of a practice is to:
- Break a habit that no longer serves you, or
- Introduce a new habit that will help you make a meaningful shift in your life
We want the final outcome but if we start there we may never get the outcome we want…
Imagine if you tried to run before you learnt to crawl and stand… your body wouldn’t have been ready. You wouldn’t have built the muscles you needed and you’d be pretty much doomed to fail.
Taking a simple first step means we can get it right, build our competence and confidence and then once we’ve got it we can take a next step from there.
Make your practices Sustainable
Practice is by definition an action that is repeated again and again with the intention of improving.
It takes time to develop a new habit so the practice must be something that you can sustain for a period of time.
Sure it’s sustainable?
So how do you do that?
- Make sure you are very clear how your practice will fit into your daily routine.
- Practice at a time or in a way that will work for you every day.
- Be gentle with yourself. If you don’t manage to complete the practice on a particular day – just pick it up again the next day.
- If you see that your original practice design is not working – tweak it and then get going again.
The key here is to keep going and sustain the practice…
Support your practice
One of the key reasons why people don’t manage to break a habit or introduce a new habit is that they don’t have support…
Support may be given by people around you:
- Tell a friend about what you’re trying to achieve. Have them ask you how it’s going.
- Get your family to practice with you.
- Ask a colleague to help track your behaviour.
If your practice is something you don’t feel you can share, start by supporting yourself:
- Set an alarm to remind you that it’s time to practice.
- Track your progress
- Incorporate a key phrase about your practice into your screensaver as a reminder.
- Reward yourself for getting it done.
You’ve come to practice because you want to change your life. Making your practices Simple, Sustainable and Supported will make these effective tools to shift habits that no longer serve you and bring the lasting change you desire.
Want to see an example?