One lesson we have learned from working with our clients is that the path to developing high performance habits (or any change for that matter) is never linear. There will definitely be setbacks. At first glance, these setbacks can appear to be moments of failure. They can appear to be proof to yourself that you don't have the discipline or the commitment to really change, but nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, research has shown that one of the best indicators of future success in developing new habits may be how many times you've previously failed. This is because each time you try to change yourself, you learn something new about yourself, you become more motivated, and you get closer to success. Therefore, a quick reframe of previous failures is to see them as practice sessions for making the real change.
And, as we affirm again and again, you are only one day away from being right on track!
Seth Godin, in his book The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit, clearly identifies the dips in a change process as expected and necessary for exceptional performance. In fact, he identifies several reasons that people may fail to make a change:
_run out of time (and quit)
_run out of money (and quit)
_get scared (and quit)
_are not serious about it (and quit)
_lose interest or enthusiasm (take your eye off of your vision) or settle for being mediocre (and quit)
_focus on the short-term instead of the long-term (and quit when the short-term gets too hard)"
As you can deduce, the common element here for all these failures is quitting. But remember, quitting is a choice. Sometimes it can mean that the benefit you were chasing wasn't that important to you, but many times quitting is the wrong choice. The truth is that almost everything in life worth doing is controlled by the dip. The dip is the long slump between starting something new and mastering it. It's the long stretch between beginner's luck and real accomplishment.
The reality is that setbacks are actually an opportunity for change, and it's really all about how you perceive and respond to those setbacks. Successful people don't just ride out their dips. They don't just buckle down and survive. No, they lean into it. They see each setback as an opportunity to push harder, to change the rules, to develop better skills, and to win at all odds. The confidence that comes from this approach is remarkable and so is the momentum and experience. This doesn't mean that you enjoy the dip. It just means that you don't quit- you do everything that you can do to whittle it down. We have found that our clients who have learned to push on and conquer their setbacks have always become more confident, more impactful, and better performers because of it.
It is vital to always remember that personal, and organizational, sustainable performance is an ongoing work in progress. This is completely normal since nobody can be on the top of her/his game at all times. The nature of change and of improvement is that you make progress, you have small setbacks, you re-inspire yourself (by revisiting your benefits and best vision of self), and then you get back to your new habits.
Would love to hear how you lean into your dips.