Practice is Habit – Make This Your Year

“We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never so little scar.” – William James

Complex changes like realising the Responsive Organisation and developing the future of work need people to connect in communities and along networks of practice. Forming new habits will be essentially to developing the richness of practice required.

Habits are required in Practice

How are those New Year Resolutions tracking? A week into the new year and many people are already struggling with new practices that look like failed intentions. New practices struggle to embed unless we turn them into habits.

I was planning to write today about the need for habits to reinforce practice when tumblr served up the William James quote above thanks to the Explore blog and the work of Maria Popova. The article on William James says many wise words on the value of habit in reinforcing habit. 

However I can point out the serendipity.  Maria’s relentless and excellent curation is a habit. My practice of writing this blog is a habit.  Without these habits and many more the coincidence would not be possible.  Similar serendipity is found in the practice of working out loud.  These moments of encouragement extend the practice further. 

To create change we need to start developing suites of new future of work practices and turning them first into experiments and then embedding the successes as habits.  Through the long practice of habit will come innovations, solutions to problems and a richer connection with others pushing the practice forward. We need to create the habits and connections that enable the serendipity to power change for Responsive Organisations.

Habits bring time to Practice

Habits bring the gift of time to practice.  They ensure that our feeble new practices are not killed by lack of attention or effort. Habits sustain us through the hard days and the days we would rather not. We all love quick wins but focusing on new practices reminds us that not everything transforms immediately. There are obstacles, new skills and lessons to be learned in practice.

Successful practice takes time and learning. Habits are the key to winning that time.

This is Your Year

This year is definitely my year. I would like it to be yours too. That will take some new habits.

This poster first featured on this blog a year ago when its claims were decidedly uncertain. The poster celebrated that the obstacles are the work. It sits in my office in my eye line as a reminder that it is relentless practice and good habits that will deliver me the year that I seek. There are many ways I can ensure it will be my year:

  • If I practice what I preach consistently
  • If I experiment, to learn and to build new good habits
  • If I keep focus and avoid the distractions of the bright and shiny things
  • If I keep looking for ways to move forward, overcome the obstacles and achieve my purpose; but most of all
  • If I keep translating the believe that ‘This is My Year’ into action


This year is your year too. Like it or not, it will pass with every action and omission you make. The choice is yours to make it a year to remember. Create the habits required to own your year. The resulting practice will deliver great rewards.

Habits don’t have to be big things. Small steps accumulate. Small steps that can be consistently repeated in a process of learning accelerate success.

What would make it really your year? What do you need to do consistently to make it happen? What is your new habit?

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