I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about habits and their impact on our lives. It is interesting how life works out sometimes, as my brother and sister-in-law purchased me a book by Charles Duhigg titled The Power of Habit, which has helped in conducting research! It discusses the habit loop and how to change behavior, as well as, recognizing keystone habits that cause residual change in other aspects of life. It’s a great read and I highly recommend it.
Habits have a profound impact on our lives, after all, we are creatures of routine. If I placed Donald Trump in an experimental situation where he worked to develop unproductive life habits, would he become more successful or less?
Staying up late gaming and watching television. Eating junk foods. Gambling. Gossiping. Sleeping in versus waking early. Stop reading. No written goals. No to-do lists. No understanding of his life-purpose. Smoking. Drinking too much. No exercise. Lack of financial responsibility.
When typed out these habits seem obvious that this person probably isn’t going to be the CEO of G.E., nor is he going to be successful by most standards. This example clearly shows the impact life habits can have and why you must focus on them in order to find success and wealth.
In the winter of 2010 I weighed in at 210 pounds. It was the heaviest I had ever weighed. I made the decision that I needed to lose weight and started working out. Exercising started a small wave of change that i had not counted on. The exercising caused me to start evaluating how I was eating and I started eating better.
And as I started losing weight I gained more self confidence which resulted in me wanting to be outside more, which resulted in me watching television less. I found myself reading a little bit more and participating in activities that were much more productive than before.
My exercise routine allowed me to lose 25 lbs. and I can remember how much better i felt. The only habit I intended on implementing was exercise, but other positive habits followed. This habit is considered a keystone habit; one habit that when changed causes other changes that were not initially expected. Think of it as having a ripple effect.
But how do you get the ripple effect in play? Meaning, how do you change habits? Often times, people fail changing the simplest of habits for one reason; they focus on stopping the habit. The only effective way to change habits is to replace, not stop, an unproductive habit.
I remember a point in my life when I had horrible life habits. I had to completely reconstruct my life, replacing my bad habits one by one with those I knew would bring success. I had to identify and replace dozens of habits, which took a long time, but was worth all the hard work. I did it and so can you! Just remember that once you identify the unproductive habit you must find a productive habit to put in its place.
I have a friend that works out of her house and could work in her pajamas. Yet, each morning she makes herself shower and dress for work as if she were going to the office. Her explanation is showering and dressing puts her in a “work” state of mind and allows her to be a productive employee. Her habit of waking and showering creates a successful work environment. I know an instance where making the bed first thing in the morning changed a procrastinating persons entire life. Why? Because the first thing they did every day for weeks was take a disorganized bed and organized it. One positive habit change snowballed. I read a story online where 12 overweight guys were asked to keep a food log for 1 day per week for 1 month. Ten of the men developed in to logging all of their food and began making better food choices. One simple habit of logging food for one day per week turned them into more responsible eaters, thus allowing them to lose weight.
Remember how often I have said success doesn’t just happen, it is designed?
This is how you design success: start adopting and implementing habits that breed success. And I know this because of my own personal experience. At one point in my life I was a little lazy, fearful, did not manage my money well, watched a lot of television, did not read, and was generally unmotivated in life. Once I started to believe in myself and started developing productive, positive life habits, my rate of success began to increase. Get to bed early, wake early, exercise, develop to-do lists, be slow to speak, live within your means, surround yourself with positive, forward thinking friends, read for self-improvement, stop watching television and instill in your thinking the fact that productive habits create a productive life!
I want you to spend some time thinking about your life habits. How do you eat? How much time do you watch television? How much do you exercise? How much time do you spend talking about others? How much do you smoke? How much do you drink? How much time do you waste dealing with the drama created by unproductive friends? Are you a credit card abuser? Are your finances under control?
Once you have analyzed your habits I want you to write them down and read them out loud. If the habit is a detriment to your success I want you to scratch through it and write down the positive, productive habit you need to implement. Remember, you cannot eliminate bad habits, you can only replace them with a different action! This is how you turn your life around! Once you have your amended list, pick one habit change and take action at once.