It takes 66 days to form a new habit, research suggests. With 2020 coming to an end, many of us had a lot more than that to settle into our new routines.
Some people have practiced making bread, playing board games, or scrolling through endless social media feeds. Others have ventured into new endeavors – whether it was learning a new language, signing up for a virtual workout program, or developing a new line of business.
We each approached this year differently, but it’s the consistency of our actions that will make a difference in the years to come.
So, what are the best habits you’ve adopted in 2020? I asked five CEOs to share their stories with me. Here’s what they had to say.
“You endeavor to finish everything on the list, every day.”
“One of the things I have read that is a habit of really successful people is making a list at the beginning of the day of things to accomplish that day.
You don’t put anything on the list that you are not pretty darn sure that you can get finished before you quit work for the day. But most importantly, you endeavor to finish everything on the list, every day, for sure.
This is my new habit and I stick to it.”
— Gene Massey, CEO of MediaShares
“More time in nature and less time spent reading the news.”
“I realized the powerful effect nature has on us. When anxiety hit everyone in March and April, we all started looking for sources of calm and stability. For my wife and I, it’s getting out in nature as much as we can. I’d always enjoyed it, but now I’ve come to appreciate it more.
With most gyms being closed in our area, I’ve moved my workouts outside. I noticed you can do just as much out on the beach as you can in a gym – only you’re not in an air-conditioned environment and you’re breathing fresh air. Plus, you can watch some incredible sunsets while you’re out for a run.
Also, when I sit too much at the computer, nothing helps me more than taking a long walk with my wife and our dog.
So, more time in nature and less time spent reading the news – this is the best habit I’ve developed this year. It’s brought me calm and clarity, and that’s helping me make better decisions for my team and our company.”
— Liviu Tanase, CEO of ZeroBounce
“I decided to leave all news catching up for late in the evening.”
“The best habit I developed in 2020 is keeping a positive attitude.
As a leader, your team looks up to you to guide them. It’s very important to maintain their motivation high. I changed a few things to accomplish that.
Like probably everyone else, I dedicated too much time initially to watching depressing news on social media or TV. One day after another. But I quickly realized how much it was affecting my productivity.
I decided to leave all news catching up for late in the evening, and maybe only two or three days during the week.
I filled up the time I used to spend on that with 1) bike riding with my kids which I hadn’t done before 2) listening to business books and podcasts during our bike rides.
My positive attitude has been contagious and I haven’t seen my team as motivated as they are now.”
— Hamlet Batista, CEO of RankSense
“I wanted to learn something new on a regular basis.”
“The best habit I’ve developed in 2020 is learning something new every day.
Since COVID-19, with everybody working from home and little contact with the outside world, I felt like there was this risk of getting into a rut and living the same day over and over again.
In times when people are isolated in a bubble, and mainly interacting with just themselves, they often lack a challenge. That’s why, after the first few weeks of the pandemic, I wanted to learn something new on a regular basis.
First, I did this without any plan or agenda, and not as frequently as I had originally intended. Today, I have a daily 30-minute block in my calendar for it – always after work!
The things I look into are super diverse: it might be listening to a podcast, reading a book, or watching YouTube videos about newly released gadgets or social trends.
What I do, specifically, depends on how stressful my day has been. When I’ve had an exhausting day, I prefer listening to something. On a stress-free day, it’s easier for me to actively read or watch something. I really enjoy these 30 minutes, because this time is for myself only.”
— Tobias Knobl, Co-founder and CEO of Mailbutler
“Business adaptability isn’t something you build in a month.”
“Adaptability is the word that best characterizes our business processes in 2020. The COVID-19-forced lockdown taught us the importance of resilience and fast adjustment of strategies. Today, how fast you adapt to rising challenges and new market demand determines your further performance.
Once again, we realized how important it is to have a well-thought emergency plan that covers both long-term and short-term concerns like rent, salaries of your team, financial balance, obligations to partners and clients. What’s more, it also should be flexible. Fluid marketing strategies are imperative to survive in the post-COVID market.
Of course, business adaptability isn’t something you build in a month; it takes way more time and effort to organize your operational process in such a way that they could be adjustable to whatever issues. The more important it is for any company to start looking ahead and developing a Plan B before another crisis hits.”
— Aleksey Danchenko, Ceo of eSputnik