Can One New Habit Change Your Life?

by Michelle Baker

The other day, I noticed my sister posted a Facebook status about a new habit my niece, Rylie, had acquired:

Congratulations to my daughter, Rylie! She has successfully gone one whole year (without cheating!) without using a spoon! She ate cereal and ice cream with a fork and slurped soup from the bowl, but when she puts her mind to something, she follows through!

cereal with fork
That’s Rylie, my quirky, delightful twelve-year old niece. I have no idea why she decided to do this. About a year ago, I vaguely remember her mentioning it, but I just figured she let it go!  Apparently, I was wrong.

Recently, I read a great article in Executive Travel magazine called, “When Small Equals Big: Could One New Habit Change Your Life?” The article tells the story about a hardworking executive who had a long, successful career, only to be surprised to learn that his team had the lowest morale in the organization. His boss suggested he work with a coach, who implemented a 360-review to capture deeper feedback from his team about his leadership style.  What he learned through that process was life-altering; he adopted a few small changes to his routine, which transformed his relationship with the team.

As HR and learning professionals, we often become creatures of habit, responding to the “urgent” needs of our organization. It’s easy for us to get into auto-pilot mode. Friends, I challenge you to take a lesson from this executive, but also from my niece, Rylie:

1) Look at your habits. Are they hindering your progress as an individual, as a team, or as an organization? While a 360-review might not be necessary, it is important to request feedback from your team and stakeholders. Often. How can you modify your own actions and behaviors to better align with your organization’s objectives?

2) Try something new. I’m not suggesting that you do what my twelve-year old niece did (unless that sort of thing suits you). But know this, learning professionals: It is okay for you to try new things. It is critical for us to be advocates for change in our organizations. It reminds me of the Tony Robbins quote, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Want a different result? Try something new. There is always room for progress!

Now, be honest…how many of you are going to try to eat your cereal with a fork at the breakfast table tomorrow?

Michelle BakerMichelle Baker is a Learning Consultant and Onboarding Strategist with phase(two)learning, a consulting firm specializing in developing learning strategies for small and medium-sized businesses. For more information about public workshops or custom consulting services, or to read the phase(two)learning blog, visit

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