Turning Motivation Into Habit

There is a sign on the wall at my gym that says: “Motivation got you here. Habit will keep you coming.” I stare at these words when I work out and think about how this applies to both life and organizations. When it comes to exercising, a person can’t even begin a program without the motivation to suit up and tackle the moves. Once we gain the inner drive to venture out to the exercise class or run on the treadmill, we can then build-in a routine to accomplish this goal. A funny thing about repetitive actions is that we oftentimes begin to enjoy the new habit. Additionally, we keep challenging ourselves to achieve at even higher levels. If we can move from enthusiasm to a new routine in our fitness habits, why couldn’t we do the same with our teams and organizations?

                        We can!



We can energize our team members to approach new ventures and try new ways of doing things. Through our excitement and direction, we can begin the process of introducing innovation and change. Let’s look at how to begin this journey.

1.   Know where you want to go: It’s hard to get others excited about something if we don’t see the goal clearly. So the first step is to decide on what is to be accomplished. What do you want your end result to look like? Write it out. Draw a picture. Develop objectives. Most of all, explain why you want to follow a certain path.

2.   Communicate clearly and often: As a cheerleader of your vision, now is the time to champion your cause with intentional word choice and transparency. Be specific and descriptive about the goal and your expectations for each person on the team. Don’t leave anything out in order to avoid any misinterpretation. Repeat everything you are sharing many times. Encourage questions or any concerns so each person understands their valuable contribution and responsibilities.

3.   Follow-up weekly or monthly: We all know that feedback is critical to an individual’s professional growth. Establishing routine sessions with set timeframes and agendas helps keep both our team members and us on track for nailing our goals. Each team functions differently and each person’s need for follow-up can vary, so the frequency of connecting is unique to each situation. Probably the best thing for a leader and team member to do is agree on a mutual period of time to review the milestones of a project. These meetings can become habit forming and a healthy way to monitor progress as well as challenges.

4.   Reward success: One great way to motivate others is to recognize and give credit to our teams. When we feel that those around us value our contribution, we are more likely to keep marching forward and continue working hard towards the team goals. Sharing achievements through emails or announcements during team meetings can propel our teams to achieve even greater end results. We can create a culture of recognition by encouraging each team member to appreciate each person’s talents, gifts and accomplishments.

 How have you turned motivation into habit?

3 thoughts on “Turning Motivation Into Habit

  1. Great post, Terri! I love #1. Too often leaders know that they want change, want to take things in a new direction, but that’s about all they know. That quickly turns into the flavor of the month and instead of turning motivation into a habit, it has the unintended effect of team members that “put up with it.”

    Your four points for turning motivation into a habit is a great guide for all leaders!

  2. Hi Alli,
    Thanks so much for stopping by to read my post and comment. I agree that having a clear vision and being able to articulate it is crucial to any change being successful. I have really enjoyed reading your posts on your website. You have so many insightful ideas about leadership.

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