How to be proactive? Developing the habit

‘Be proactive’ is the first habit of effectiveness as rightly laid out in the famous book ‘Seven habits of highly effective people’ by Stephen R. Covey.

The following text presents a step by step guide to develop the habit of “Being Proactive”.

The unlearning stage:

We have also often heard ‘old habits die hard’. The primary reason being we identify these habits (good and bad) as part of our self – our defining characteristics, and often are not comfortable with changing these. Sometimes we even secretly like to preserve our bad habits. This is a major hindrance to proactive behaviour.

To learn new habits it is also essential that we unlearn our old bad habits – we cannot fill a cup which is already full and overflowing! It is important to identify the things we have to get rid of first.

Stop playing the blame game:

  • The tendency to blame is hard to overcome
    • When we find ourselves in a tough situation the first thing we want to do is to absolve ourselves. Then automatically the responsibility to change falls on the person being blamed. We can now carry on cribbing about the situation and actually do nothing about it
    • So while we point a finger at others we must remember that three fingers are pointing at us.
  • To change our way of doing things is relatively easier than expecting others to change for us

Stop Negative Thoughts:

  • Law of attraction applies to negative thoughts.
    • When one embraces it, it brings with itself a host of others from all directions. This leads to a chain reaction. We first become irritated then unhappy and finally miserable.
  • The best way is to say no to the first negative thought.
    • It becomes easy once we nip the problem in the bud!

Stop thinking you can’t do anything about things:

  • What if Mahatma Gandhi thought he can’t do anything about throwing the British out of India?
    • He was a frail man without any resources then how did he mobilize the entire nation.
  • A lot of times we think we can’t do anything.
    • But the surprising thing is – the very little that we CAN do is usually sufficient to get what we want!

Stop Postponing: Do it now

  • How we love to postpone things!
    • It’s the laziness in most of us, that we do not wish to overcome.
    • But desire alone cannot bring change in us.
    • We have to stop leaving things to tomorrow if we want result.
  • The method is simple.
    • Self – Discipline: be a little strict with yourself
    • Don’t forget to reward yourself when you do things in time!

Try these simple things for two weeks and see, you will already be feeling much better about life! Now that 75% of the first habit is done – a few more things will come easy to you, and you will soon be the master of proactive behaviour!

Once we have unlearned – the ground is now fertile and we can sow the fresh seeds of change. We will come to the propelling stage now.

The propelling stage:

Remember the choice is yours:

  • Even in the worst of situations there is always a choice.
    • We often hear – I can’t do anything else, I don’t have a choice. The truth is we are not looking at the options because either they are too difficult to follow or because we don’t want to take the responsibility
  • Don’t let situations carve your path for you
    • It is always easy to ignore the choices and put it on the situation

Make a decision:

  • We mostly avoid making the decision in the first place. Making a decision always means
    • loading our self with some work.
    • gearing up for action
    • we will either do a job or will fail at it
  • When we make decisions we become answerable to our self
    • Its easy to make excuses to others but not to our self

Take the first step:

Thinking about what we want to do always gives us a surge of fresh positive energy and an enthusiasm to work for it. The important thing is to tap this energy and convert it into positive action. Delaying action may actually mean you never do things it at all.

‘A job well begun is a job half done’

The Middle Overs : Sustenance is the key

  • What keeps us going?
    • The initial interest and enthusiasm will only last for some time. Soon the difficulty may make you feel like leaving. Sustenance now becomes the key to winning
  • Sustenance calls for a prior commitment ( very important)
    • You will re-evaluate: was the goal actually worth it?
    • There will be negative energy this time around after facing the problems
    • This is the crucial phase – if you quit now it will be extremely difficult to start all over again.
    • The unfortunate thing is a lot of people actually come to this stage and give up.

Self motivate -The power is within you:

  • Overcome negative energy
    • Think back of the time you had just begun what had made you so enthusiastic
    • Think of the goal you wish to achieve – it is not as far as it was at the time you just began
    • You have already put the effort – you have to just pull through now
    • Success is just round the corner – try to visualise it
  • Have belief in your- self
    • You always knew you CAN DO anything if you only try hard enough
    • Why not try to do it then!

Winning with a flair – You deserve it!

  • If you have lasted you will win
    • Nothing can stop you from winning
    • Why else do you think it is said that winning is a habit!
  • This experience will make you win a lot of other things too
    • Is it so simple then?
    • Just try it and see it for yourself!

Wishing you all the best to master proactive behaviour!

Written by Yamini

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