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Have you heard the tired (and untrue) mantra that it takes 21 days to form a new habit? That’s rubbish. And it’s not just my opinion!

Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at the University College of London aimed to find out how long it actually takes to form a habit. Their findings, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, showed it takes more than two months on average before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days, to be exact. (The study also found that “missing one opportunity to perform the behavior did not materially affect the habit formation process.” Meaning, it doesn’t matter if you mess up every now and then)

Focus on the 90 Days

Creating a new habit is not an all-or-nothing process. Yes it takes more than 21 days, but it is well worth it. When we stop the habits that are getting in the way of being intentional with our attention, our attention will pay big dividends both personally and professionally.

Do you ever have trouble focusing? Do you procrastinate? Do you find yourself busy, but not productive? Do you cross things off a list, but secretly wonder if the right things are even on your list?

Same, same.

I see you. I get this. If you ever find me organizing my office files or a label maker in hand, call for help because you know that is me procrastinating in the biggest way. I am simply distracting myself and NOT focusing on what is most important, I am choosing easy over hard.

Someone in my life I deeply admire, has such a brilliant and beautiful brain — his ability to hyper-focus blows my mind. I wish I was wired the same, but I’m not, so alas I focus on 90 day cycles.

When working with my executives 1:1 or with their leadership teams, we often find ourselves wanting to increase revenue, build new advocates, innovate processes, and elevate talent. It’s often a balance between the long term goals, while keeping the board and stakeholders happy with deliverables and implementation requiring short term focus. How do we achieve success? We think in 90 day cycles. Easy peasy.

90 days is the key. It’s a system. You can adapt this for your personal and professional life. In 90 days you can improve business development, launch a new product or offering, change behaviors, form new healthy habits, strengthen relationships, feel more confident, even write a book (ridiculous, yes, but doable).

And when you break things down into 90 days, those big projects can suddenly seem a lot more manageable.

How manageable? Let me take you inside a recent strategic planning session, sitting in their stunning corporate office and surrounded by whiteboards, flip charts filled with mind maps, lists of action items, so many questions, and a loooonnnnggg timeline — we were all so mentally exhausted but so deeply happy!

We had a plan to achieve something monumental in their industry — and it would take all of us working together for 18 months to do it, or as I reminded them, “only seven quarters, easy peasy.”

The Luxury of Time

Time might feel like a luxury to you, some days you feel you have all the time in the world and other days you turn around and wonder how it’s the second quarter when we were just celebrating the holidays.

We all get 1,440 minutes in a day, no matter what. Time is the great equalizer. Time doesn’t care what is on your to-do list, how overwhelmed you feel, what your title is or how long you have been doing your job. Time will happen whether you like it or not.

You often hear me say that leaders set the standard. Luxury experiences are the ultimate in exceeding expectations.

To lead at a luxury level, give yourself the gift of strategically focusing your time, attention and energy and begin thinking in 90-day cycles to see a bigger impact on your short and long term goals.

When working with a luxury travel advisor using this model, we were able to grow his book of business substantially, he focused his energies on Italy, a country he knew and loved and as a result he also increased his referral business dramatically.

When working with a pharmaceutical leader on her personal brand using this model, she elevated her executive presence, delivered an engaging keynote address at an industry event, found new confidence in meetings, gained new respect from her peers and her leadership told me the work we did together was “transformational.”

If I can help you or your team using our 90-day system or Luxury Leadership Model, please let me know — I love this work!

Like this content? Did you know that provided specific tips for framing your 90 days in my newsletter? Be the first to read Notes from Neen, my bi-weekly newsletter, where I share content like that, as well as practical recommendations and more bonus content! Sign up here.

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