The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Holidays

This article is adapted from the original written by Randy Lisk in December 2008. I hope you enjoy this year’s version of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Holidays.

History Lesson
This year marks the end of our 29th year in business. Did you know Lisk Associates originated because of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? My dad (Randy Lisk) was an engineer at IBM for 20+ years in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1991, IBM was bought by a company called Lexmark which manufactured computer printers.

As part of his buyout, he was asked to establish a business and become the facilitator for this new workshop. Every new Lexmark employee had to attend the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People workshop. At the time, Lexmark had 10,000+ employees and Lisk Associates was born.

We don’t offer that workshop anymore, but the principles still apply, especially during the holidays, and especially for the year 2020. With credit to Dr. Stephen Covey and Randy Lisk, here are the 7 habits for highly effective holidays.

Habit #1: Be Proactive
The habit of personal choice

Being proactive means that no matter what circumstances you face (and many are facing tough times right now) you still have the power to choose your own response to those circumstances.
You are able to choose your attitude and your effort.
You can be thankful for what you have vs. what you don’t have.
Reactive people tend to focus on what’s being done to them; proactive people focus on their options, freedoms, and possibilities.

Habit #1 Thought-starter: What are you focusing on? What one proactive action item could you take on something you may have been putting off?

Habit #2: Begin With The End In Mind
The habit of goal setting, planning, and visualization

You can only predict your future, when you have first visualized it in your mind. Once you have visualized it, be proactive and write down your goals for 2021.

Habit #2 Thought-starter: Picture this…It’s January 2, 2022 and you just had your best year ever…what happened? (Did it make you smile? Did you write it down?)

Habit #3: Put First Things First
The habit of time management and self-management

Dr. Covey said, “Do not get caught in the thick of thin things.” Make time to be fully “present” during the holidays. Richard Carlson wrote, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”.

Habit #3 Thought-starter: Considering all of your current roles, Are your priorities in order? What is truly most important to you? What could you do over the holidays to be better focused on what is most important?

Habit #4: Think Win-Win
The habit of cooperation

Help others: family, friends, colleagues, even strangers. The holidays are stressful, and if you’re feeling a little down, go help somebody else out. There is someone out there who could use a boost from you.

Habit #4 Thought-starter: Who would you be willing to help before the week is over? What are you going to do?

Need some ideas? Check out the December Kindness Calendar

Habit #5: Seek First To Understand, Then Be Understood
The habit of communication

You can’t really understand somebody else without listening and asking good questions. Listening to understand vs. “fixing them” or “straightening something out” helps you know what’s important to the other person. And they will most likely appreciate you asking them one more question vs. just telling them what to do or giving them advice.

Habit #5 Thought-starter: Take time to listen to someone you know well as if you were listening to a stranger and ask that one extra question. How did that feel?

Habit #6: Synergize
The habit of creating

The concept of synergy says the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Holiday choirs, and decorated streets are a couple holiday examples. Tis the season of magic. As we get older, some of our belief in the magic of this season may fade.

Habit #6 Thought-starter: If your “belief-o-meter” is running low, go find a kid under the age of 10 and ask…”What are you looking forward to this holiday?” Try following their answer with…”And what else?”

Habit #7: Sharpen The Saw
The habit of renewal

Dr. Covey suggested, “Spend one hour per day in the private victory.” His private victory meant a person’s physical, mental, social, and spiritual self. You can only go 24-7 so long without feeling “out of balance”.

Habit #7 Thought-starter: What are you willing to do the last 14 days of this year to sharpen your saw for one hour per day?

I wish you all a happy holiday season filled with wonder, awe, magic, good times, and belief. I look forward with hope to a healthy and prosperous new year for all of us. Thank you for your partnership with Lisk Associates.

2 replies on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Holidays”

Ryan, this is so relevant and rich advice this holiday season! I did not know that “Every new Lexmark employee had to attend the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People workshop. At the time, Lexmark had 10,000+ employees and Lisk Associates was born.” Man, I wish I could have attended that training. Of all the books I’ve read, I go back to 7 Habits the most. I’m going to read this to my family tonight and embrace Randy’s sage advice, some 29 years later! God bless you all!

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