Don’t give all your habits an even break. Some will serve you far better than others. But to know which is which – start always with understanding what you wish your personal brand to stand for. How do you wish to differentiate yourself? In what way will you add value? What will be your most defining attributes? Yes, all foundational questions to be answered for your personal brand.
Assuming you do the core work around defining your personal brand then it is a matter of understanding how best you deliver on that proposition. Your habits will either serve you well, or work against your aspiration. ‘High return’ habits can be described as keystone habits and if you are going to adopt only one new habit, it should be one of these – they distinguish themselves because they have a compounding effect. If we have leant one thing in the area of statistics during COVID, it has indeed been the power of compound growth.
Charles Duhigg, author of ‘The Power of Habit’, explains that keystone habits change more than our behaviour, they change how we see ourselves. They positively move us in the direction we would like life to take us. That is why a clearly articulated personal brand works hand in glove with identifying keystone habits – it helps to articulate what the end goal is.
For example, if your personal brand aspiration has you positioned as a thought leader in some domain, then you will need habits that grow your knowledge and expand your thought. What habits best set you up for such activities? Is one of your keystone habits a 5.30am start each day framed by an hour at the gym (because physical activity makes you feel better about yourself and gives you the energy to think deeply during the day). Do you
then compound the impact of this time by making it a key time to listen to stimulating podcasts in areas relevant to your thought leadership domain. And if you embrace the keystone early gym start habit, do you derive the other benefit of having it as a nudge to self to head to bed a little earlier and get the re-charge sleep that your body craves? Understanding both the upstream and downstream impacts of your habits is powerfully informing.
Regardless of whether one embraces the notion of identifying keystone habits or not, how we move forward into the future should be based on conscious thought. At the very least work out what is your desired destination and which of your habits serve you well and which ones work against your aspiration.