Everything is going great. You know what you’re supposed to do and how you are supposed to do it. Things are rolling along pretty smoothly without any stress or strain. You might even say you’re on “automatic pilot.”

It’s a good thing, right, or is it? Sometimes we get just a little too comfortable and do things the way we’ve “always done them” without asking ourselves why and sometimes, what once was the “best” way, no longer is.

This can prove to be a problem especially when the competition is knocking at your door. So how can you avoid getting stuck in a rut (AKA routine) and continue to experiment, and search out new and better ways to do your work and, in general, keeps things fresh?

Identify one or two things you’d like to change

Take it slow and rather than look to make broad, sweeping changes in your routine pick out one or two things to work on immediately such as an internal procedure that has gotten a bit cumbersome, the schedule and methodology for your prospecting outreach, your use or misuse of social media or anything else that you feel open to changing. Set the goal, create the action plan for change and stay focused on the improvements that you would like accomplish.

Don’t quit too soon

It takes time to form a new habit so don’t “pull the plug” and go back to the “old” way if you don’t see immediate success. Depending upon what you are looking to change it may take weeks or even months for the new routine to gel. Stay focused and diligent and be prepared to re-engineer if you see important obstacles. It’s okay to make alterations based upon real results.

Acknowledge your success

Once you see that the new routine has taken hold you should take the time to recognize your success. Breaking from the “same old” routine takes self-discipline and stamina and you can reinforce the change by giving yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

Getting into a routine provides security and structure however it can also lead to being complacent and in a rut. Be prepared to change things up from time to time and your outlook will stay fresh.