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How can I create some quick-win habits?

Six unusual (but powerful) habits you can do in six minutes or less

It seems like everybody is talking about New Year’s resolutions right now.

On one hand, I love that new year energy, when we’re all thinking about how we can develop ourselves.

But when I ask great leaders how they make big things happen, they don’t talk about their resolutions.

They talk about their habits.

Habits are powerful forces. In fact, nearly half of our actions are something we repeat each day. We can’t create true transformation – either at work or at home – until we pay attention to our repeated behaviors.

So today, I want to share with you some of the most compelling habits I’ve heard from the great leaders I know. 

Some of them drive personal growth. Others will grow your business. But they’re all simple, specific, and doable in a few minutes.

(Also, nothing on this list is about nutrition, sleep, or exercise. I know you already know about those. And nearly every leader I talk to mentions them, too.)

So check out these six ideas – straight from world-class leaders – and kickstart your best year yet!

Meditate before work.

When you wake up, do you reach for your smart phone and check your email first thing?

I know it’s tempting!

But you might rethink it after hearing this habit from Al Carey, the former CEO of PepsiCo North America.

Before he goes to work – before he even checks his email – he meditates.

It’s a habit he formed after Deepak Chopra taught him the importance of managing his personal energy.

That habit (plus exercise) helps him start the day right. “If I miss out on those two things,” he told me, “I default to all the emails and negative energy.

It’s such a simple shift, but it can reframe your entire day.

“Be” your client.

If you want to get great at delivering value to customers, adopt this habit from former top sports agent Molly Fletcher.

Every day, she would stand in her office and spend two minutes “being” each of her clients. She tried to get inside their heads and consider life from their point of view.

The goal, in Molly’s words, was “to drive that deeper connection and to serve them better.” She was often able to pinpoint a client’s need before they even recognized it for themselves.

That habit of empathy doesn’t just work with clients or customers. Try it with anyone you want a stronger connection with.

>>Catch my whole conversation with Molly Fletcher – especially if negotiation is part of your job.

Review your purpose every day.

It’s easy to get swept up in your day, only to climb into bed that night wondering what you actually got done.

If that sounds familiar, you’ll love this idea. It comes from Steve Reinemund, the former Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo – and my former boss!

He always carried a little leather-bound notebook. He used it to jot down ideas throughout the day.

But that wasn’t all. In the back, he kept a card with his personal purpose.

“I take it out every day,” he told me, “and reflect on the purpose of my life. Why am I here? And what should I be focused on?”

What a powerful way to stay connected to your big purpose as you go through all the small tasks in your day.

Start a gratitude drive

I love this from Eric Wood, the retired NFL center for the Buffalo Bills.

He says, “It’s hard to be anxious when you’re extremely grateful.”

And Eric found a clever way to develop a habit of gratitude during his playing days.

Instead of listening to the radio during his daily drive to the stadium, he had a drive of gratitude. He quietly reflected on all the things in his life he was thankful for.

The trip only took him about five minutes, but that was all the time he needed to create a positive mindset for his day.

What five minutes could you spend in your day to simply reflect on what you’re grateful for?

>>Check out my full conversation with Eric – winning habits come up a lot! 

Write notes of recognition

Eighty percent of people wish their supervisor would recognize them for what they do.

If you want to recognize great work more regularly, adopt this habit from Becky Frankiewicz, President of ManpowerGroup North America.

She keeps a supply of note cards handy. And when she sees great work from someone, she grabs one and recognizes that work with a quick note.

“The idea of someone taking the time to write a handwritten card is still, in my view, priceless,” she says.

It’s a simple strategy you can use to recognize your team more often, right at the moment you see something worth highlighting.

>> Get lots more insights from Becky when you listen to our entire conversation

Jot down 10 ideas every day

Imagine you’re at a baseball game, and when the pitcher walks out to the mound, he’s on … stilts?!

That’s one just of the wacky ways the Savannah Bananas – a small coastal league baseball team – keep fans entertained.

And many of those wild ideas come from the notebook of their owner, Jesse Cole.

But behind that creativity, there’s a powerful habit.

Every day, he writes down ten ideas in a notebook.

By his own admission, most of them are terrible. But by making it a daily habit, he creates space to come up with winning ideas, too – like pitchers on stilts.

If you try this for yourself, I bet you’ll be surprised by how creative you really are.

>>If you need inspiration this year, don’t miss my full conversation with Jesse!


I’ll never forget what Tom Brady told me when I asked him if he had a feeling about the Buccaneer’s Super-Bowl-winning season as they were in the middle of it.

He said, “I was more focused on the process of improving on a daily basis, rather than the final destination.”

That’s a fantastic mentality for YOU to adopt as you create new habits in 2023.

Don’t overlook your small daily actions and routines. With the power of repetition, they can become some of the most impactful things you do.

January 10, 2023