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Fewer resolutions, better habits

A bonus issue with a quick way to turn your New Year intention into action

Sara Lobkovich
Sara Lobkovich
3 min read
Fewer resolutions, better habits

Happy New Year, all!

In case you missed it over the holiday, I wrote my opus on how coaching teams around Objectives and Key Results-based goal-setting and management has rewired my brain for the better. That issue also includes an “OKR builder” that I created for one of our workshops that I found helpful to speed the ramp-up for folks new to OKR planning. It’s buried in your inbox by Happy New Year promotional messages, but this button will take you right to the post:

Read the last issue

Why the off-schedule email?

The reason I’m actually hitting send on a note to you this morning even though it’s off schedule is that one of my practices popped up this morning in my own life and I couldn’t wait a week and a half to share it with you.

I spent some time this morning thinking about a few habits I’d like to make and change. This morning I had three specific things on my mind:

  1. Resuming the morning routine that I know works best for me but I’ve gotten out of the habit of (meditation, writing, dog walk)
  2. Doing a better job of staying up on household chores (which I don’t love), and
  3. Spending more of the time I currently spend in front of screens in front of books instead.

Last year, I read a book I can’t wait to share with you (again, for subscribers who’ve been here since the beginning):  The Coaching Habit, by Michael Bungay Stanier. Thanks to The Coaching Habit, instead of vaguely thinking about those things and then letting them drift out of my mind with no action, I sat down with my stack of sticky notes and wrote out three quick statements for each intention:

  1. When this happens …
  2. Instead of …
  3. I will …

and then pulled three sticky notes off my “habit change board” that lives on the wall behind my desk so I see it every time I sit down to work, and replaced them with these three new ones. I may have up to six active habit change projects at a time … I tuck completed or abandoned habits into my journal, and they tend to change infrequently (the last time I made an update to my board was probably four months ago, for example).

I find this practice SO HELPFUL in actually achieving behavior change for myself — it’s been one of the ways that I’ve made (some) progress on some unexpected, otherwise hard to tackle areas of life (cough, work-stress-induced-anxiety).

So if you’re thinking about how to translate your intentions for the New Year into action, instead of thinking about vague resolutions, try distilling your intention down to a couple of new habits to make or break: with an actual plan.

If you find this issue helpful, I’d love for you to share it with a friend or colleague so I’ll make it super easy:

And if you aren’t already a subscriber, let’s make that super easy too:

Sign up now

Thanks, as always for reading. Best of luck for a smooth re-entry for my knowledge-worker friends returning to the office, your brain full of cobwebs, trying to remember what it is you do for a living today. And for my service and retail friends who’ve just survived one of the longest, darkest, hardest parts of the year: may this New Year bring you some rest and recovery and a little time to take care of yourself.


PS: If what you’ve seen here (or here or here) piques your interest (even if it sparks more questions than answers), I’d love to get on the phone for 30 minutes to hear what you’re working toward for 2020 and see if I may be able to help or point you in a helpful direction. The link below takes you to my robot meeting scheduler: she’ll take care of the calendar wrangling and make it easy for us to connect:

Let's chat

And now’s the time: I’ve got more flexibility in January than usual, and am excited to to fill some of it with serendipitous connection. I look forward to speaking with you!


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