6 Habits to Help You Choose How to Navigate Challenging Times

how habits give you choice in challenging timesWhen you find yourself in a challenging situation, like a divorce, layoff, health crisis, bankruptcy, or even a pandemic, you may believe you lack choice. In fact, you always have a choice about how you approach what life throws your way.

Indeed, life will hand you situations you do not like or want. When that happens, you can choose how to respond. And that choice makes all the difference in how you navigate the challenge.

Your Habitual Ways of Behaving

Unfortunately, most people react to situations in the habitual way they have in the past. And these habits don’t typically help them deal with challenges easily or quickly.

Your habitual ways of dealing with challenges may feel out of your control as well, but they aren’t. As a Certified High Performance Coach, I can assure you that it’s possible to change old habits and develop new ones. However, for that to happen, you have to be willing to change.

You may be willing to change the situation, but are you willing to change yourself?

If you want to experience life differently—no matter the situation in which you find yourself, you have to work on yourself. Call it personal development or personal growth, one thing is certain: to better handle challenging situations, you have to transform your habitual reactions into intentional responses. Over time, your deliberate responses become new habits, which help you feel confident, enthusiastic, joyful, and positive, no matter what life throws your way.

Habits that Help You Succeed at Life

You can choose to develop any number of new and supportive behaviors. However, I’d like to challenge you to develop high-performance habits. These habits, which Brendon Burchard wrote about in High Performance Habits help you succeed at life.

The six high-performance habits are:

  • seek clarity
  • generate energy
  • raise necessity
  • increase productivity
  • develop influence
  • demonstrate courage

If you develop these six habits, you will find yourself able to thrive—rather than survive—in any difficult situation. Actually, they will help you choose to respond well even when life seems easy.

Your Situational Performance

Think of “high performance” as your ability to perform well in any situation—even the most challenging ones. If you aren’t sure if you are a high performer, rank your situational performance.

Consider a challenging situation you are in right now. On a scale of one to ten, with ten being your highest possible score, how would you rank yourself? Are you angry, judgmental, blaming, and unhappy? If so, you might rate yourself one or two. If you are positive, accepting, responsible, and happy, you are nine or ten.

Your performance affects your experience—how you feel, what you perceive, and how your behavior. It also affects the experience of those you encounter.

You can change your ranking, though, just by changing your habits. Develop new habits that support, rather than hinder, your ability to deal with life—including relationships, health, work, finances, or a shelter-at-home order. As you grow personally, you gain the power to choose how you show up and respond. That ability provides a heightened feeling of control over your experience—no matter the situation.

Let’s take a closer look at these six habits and how they help you respond to the situation in which you find yourself right now as well as in the future.

Seek Clarity

The highest performers in the world intentionally look for ways to increase their level of clarity about a situation. That clarity helps them make decisions and choose how to proceed.

Even if you can’t know what the future holds, ask yourself what you do feel clear about and what the next level of clarity might be for you. Journal about where you are unclear and where you are clear. In the unclear areas, explore how you might gain a higher degree of clarity.

Maybe you need to do some research or speak to an expert. Possibly, you need to have a conversation with a friend or family member. Perhaps you need to brainstorm ideas and then choose one to pursue; then, create an implementation plan. Or, you might need to spend time in personal reflection to determine how you feel or what you want.

Do these things consistently, and you develop the habit of seeking clarity. With greater clarity, you can make choices, such as how to move forward, how to feel, what to believe, and how to behave.

In challenging situations, lack of clarity leads to insecurity and fear. Clarity gives you confidence and a greater sense of peace.

Generate Energy

When faced with a challenging situation or condition, like the Covid-19 pandemic, reduced income, or a difficult marriage, it’s easy to become depressed and lethargic. This happens when you allow a situation to determine how you feel rather than choosing how you want to feel.

If you wake up feeling low on emotional, physical, and mental energy, you may decide to remain in your PJs and binge watch Netflix while eating chips and ice cream. You may even go back to bed for the entire day.

Or you can decide how you want to feel, and then choose to do whatever is necessary to raise your energy. Like a power plant, you can learn to generate the energy you want to have each day.

Maybe a walk or run will generate a higher level of physical energy. As a result, you will feel a positive change in your mental and emotional energy. Maybe watching an inspiring documentary or listening to an uplifting podcast changes your mental and emotional energy, which, as a result, gives you a boost in physical energy.

You can choose in every moment what type of energy to bring to the situation. As you develop this habit, you determine how you feel energetically—and the effect your presence has on others, too.

Your habit of generating the type of energy you want helps you make the best of challenging situations. For example, you can choose to show up with positive, happy, and enthusiastic energy. That’s a powerful way to get through just about anything and to thrive while doing so.

Raise Necessity

Necessity is a powerful driver of behavior. If you don’t think it’s necessary to do something, you won’t. For instance, if you feel no need to change your habits, you will continue behaving as you have in the past.

However, when you raise your level of necessity, you feel driven to make changes that help you achieve a desired result. And you are more likely to take action.

Think of all the things you do because it’s necessary. Maybe you provide for the well being of your children to keep them safe or fulfill your work obligations, so you can pay your bills. A parent finds the strength to lift a car because doing so is necessary to save her child, who is trapped under a tire.

Necessity makes you feel as if you must change your habits for the better if you are to succeed. In any situation, raise your level of necessity, so you feel pushed to do and be your best.

A challenging situation can raise your level of necessity. However, when you habitually raise necessity, you find yourself more able to do what is needed when a difficult situation arises. It’s a bit like training for adversity.

Increase Productivity

When times are tough, you might want to hide and do nothing. You know…sleep most of the day, read 20 novels, binge watch Schitt’s Creek, or watch every Oscar-winning movie from the last five years. You might leave all your dishes in the sink, not clean your apartment for two months, or stop showering daily. Maybe you don’t pick up or read your mail or respond to texts.

Productivity, however, increases your physical, emotional, and mental energy. And productivity helps you gain clarity; as you accomplish goals or tasks, you declutter your mind. Therefore, at some point, no matter the situation, deciding to get things done becomes enormously helpful.

What tasks have you been putting off? Pick one. Get it done. Then choose another to complete. Then notice that you feel better. This is how you develop the habit of increasing productivity.

The task you take on could range from cleaning the bathroom to walking the dog, from finishing an online course to making dinner. Maybe you work in the garden or start a knitting project. You can accomplish any number of things, and each one will increase your level of productivity.

Remember, you have a choice. Decide to be productive on a consistent basis. See it as a necessity, and you’ll find it easy to be productive when life challenges you in some way.

Develop Influence

There are two types of influence—with yourself and with others. I want to talk about the first.

If you have no influence on yourself, your habits won’t change. You won’t be able to persuade yourself to do something different. And developing new habits requires new mindsets and behaviors.

When you are no longer satisfied with the way things are—yourself, your situation, your life, the world, increase the level of influence you have with yourself. When you feel a high degree of necessity for things to change, you will do something different.

It doesn’t matter what you need to change—your attitude, how you treat your spouse, how you eat or exercise, where you live, or the type of work you do—you have two choices. You can allow outside circumstances to force you to change, or you can choose to change. When you choose, you are in control.

Keep in mind that as you influence yourself to change, how you deal with any given situation changes as well. Also, your behavior impacts others. You become a role model of how to deal will challenging times.

Demonstrate Courage

The last habit involves courage. When times are tough, you need courage. However, you can’t wait around for courage. Courage is bold action, like the parent lifting the car to save the child.

How will you demonstrate courage, given your situation? How will you act boldly?

Maybe you will move your business to an online model or apologize to someone you hurt. Perhaps you will brave the grocery store during a pandemic or tell your boss honestly how you feel.

Challenging situations necessitate courage. However, acting boldly becomes more comfortable if you make a habit of practicing courage regularly. Then, when you are faced with a scary situation, bold action is second nature.

Habits for Successful Living

These six high-performance habits will help you thrive in any type of situation, whether it is challenging or not. But if you develop them now, no matter what life throws your way, you will ready to respond in a manner you choose.

Success at life is up to you. It’s your choice to approach each day as if life was happening to you. But, if you don’t want to be a victim, develop the habits that allow you to respond to life. Then you actively create your life with each choice you make.

How will these habits help you in your current situation? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with anyone you think would benefit from reading it.

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Are you struggling to feel as if you have choice or can thrive in our current situation? Give me an hour of your time, and I’ll help you begin mastering your mind, emotions, and behavior. In the process, you’ll take huge strides toward fulfilling your potential and purpose, realizing your dreams, and becoming the best version of yourself. Apply for a FREE Coaching session. Fill out this application.

Or register for my Certified High Performance Group Coaching program here. This is a great option if you don’t feel ready for one-on-one coaching and want to enjoy the power of group learning. This program features the connection provided by community and requires a lower investment than one-on-one coaching. 

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