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Tim Lloyd Wright

The mighty telephone – hard to beat for keeping habits and reaching goals

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buddy call
I want to hear my buddy’s voice – the daily buddy call Pic: Daniel Wirgård

So why do I tell people that support for your new habits and personal goals is best delivered by the humble telephone?

Well, I’ve skyped. I’ve FBd. I’ve Linkedin. I’ve Joinedme. I’ve Loopedup. I’ve Webbexed. (could go on… you get the picture). Some of these chat and video services work great. And yet, pretty much all of them are one step less direct and simple that just picking up the phone.

And as I’ve said before, efficiency is everything when you’re repeating it daily.

So I check my watch, observe the seconds counting down and then press dial on my phone. It takes 14 crackling seconds before it rings. On a good day, before it rings a second time, Jan-Erik has picked up and it’s exactly the time we said.

That punctuality ritual is partly for the challenge of it. It’s also the highest energy way to start a call. It’s a signal sent before we’ve opened our mouths that says, hey, this matters, let’s do this great, and I’m willing to make an effort to be a great support to you.

There’s another benefit of playing this simple game. When we aren’t so sharp, it shows. And of course it happens: we’re sometimes late. We sometimes forget.

Here again, before we even open our mouths for our short call, we can both sense something’s not quite as we intended.  It’s a useful signal in the spirit of the aphorism ‘the way you do anything is the way you do everything’. Keeping habits, reaching goals and keeping appointments on the phone are actually pretty similar challenges.

We’ll generally let it go once or twice when we slip up on our call times, but if we get into a run where things are messy, we both know we need to talk. That talk usually starts: “so, what’s going on?”. Those are some of the most important conversations two buddies can have. No judgement, no criticism, no advice. Just two people, in the same boat, on similar journeys.

Sometimes our calls and agreements are sharp. We’re surfing on a wave and cheering each other on. Sometimes we need to stop and listen to each other. We’re taking on water. We’re looking for the leak.

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