As promised, here’s my first month recap on my quest to incorporate the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, into my life, one month and one habit at a time.
I started out with May where I dove into Habit One: Be Proactive. To incorporate this habit, I did a couple things to help me stay focused.
1. Made “Be Proactive” one of my monthly goals
To do this, I simply wrote it down in my May bullet journal monthly spread. I then ensured that I would see it and think about it every day.
2. Re-read a small portion of the Habit One section of the book every morning.
As part of the Miracle Morning you’ll see I was also trying out (more on that in a future post), I just reread a small section of the Habit One chapter every day. Some days it was a couple sentences or paragraph, other days a page or two. Nothing major, just a way to keep the goal present on my mind throughout the month. Here are some quotes from the chapter that really resonated with me:
“We are not our feelings. We are not our moods. We are not even our thoughts.”
“The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of a proactive person. Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment. Proactive people are driven by values- carefully thought about, selected and internalized values.”
“It is our willing permission, our consent to what happens to use, that hurts us far more than what happens to use in the first place.”
“The language of reactive people absolves them of responsibility.”
“The proactive approach is to change from the inside out; to be different, to effect positive change in what’s out there- I can be more resourceful, I can be more diligent, I can be more creative, I can be more cooperative.”
Throughout the month, I would take some time throughout the day. This was usually not substantial- just on the way to work or at the end of a day or even just after reading my daily section in the morning. I’d use the time to think about past experiences where I was reactive instead of proactive and how I could have responded more proactively. I would also think of current circumstances in my life where I could be (more) proactive. I especially focused on my internal language, and whether it was reflecting what Steven Covey describes as reactive language versus proactive language. I think the reflection piece is important but it is really about what this habit means for you in your life. How can you apply it? How could you have applied it? How will you apply it?
As the month progressed, I really noticed myself pausing in challenging moments, moments when I would have been reactive in the past, and thinking about how I really wanted to respond. In calm moments, I thought about what I can do improve situations I was in, monitored my thoughts about what I “have to” do and what’s in my control to do. I really noticed a big shift in my mentality. It’s really empowering to understand the amount of control we have in our lives and even our emotions. We can make positive, thoughtful choices about how we want to move forward if we allow ourselves the space. Now that’s not to say that it’s easy or that there won’t be moments that we’ll still be reactive. But increasing our proactive capacity I think allows us to increase proactive moments, and shorten those reactive ones when they do come along.
So, what do you all think? How do you live proactively? Or how do you struggle living proactively? (I know for me it certainly isn’t an easy mindset shift!) What helps you keep a proactive mindset in the day to day? Do you think being proactive is a useful or helpful strategy for personal development? Leave me a comment and let me know, I’d love to talk with you about your thoughts! For June, I’m working on Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind. I can’t wait to share with you all my impressions and thoughts on this one!
“Sometimes the most proactive thing we can do is to be happy, just genuinely smile.” -Stephen R. Covey
Thanks for stopping by! Get home safe 😉