Your habits are often the silent predictor of everything that you do in life. I can tell if someone will be successful and get what they want in life by taking a look at a few of their major habits, and 95% of the time I would be right with my guess. How many times have you said you were going to do something, really wanted to do something, really TRIED to do something, but were unsuccessful anyway? You did your very best, yet within a few days you were right back to business as usual falling into your old ways. Habits are tricky, because we don’t often even know that they exist, yet they are the number one predictor of our success levels in life. Create positive habits and structure and you will be successful, indulge in negative habits and instant gratification and watch everything you truly want slip right between your fingers. There are many things you need to change if you want to start living better, and today I want to show you how habits can truly determine EVERYTHING!
There are 3 things that are required to change yourself or your life: desire, belief, and action. Desire is the logical first step in the process, if you are going to change, you will have to want it first. Second comes belief, you must believe in yourself or in the fact the you can change. It must not be an option, but an assured thing that you already believe you can possess in time. Last, but not least, is action. The last step in the process of changing is taking that first step and acting, but acting is many times the hardest thing to do, because we don’t know what to do as our first step.
When we act without a clear plan we are usually setting ourselves up for failure. We must first create a plan before jumping headlong into change, and that plan will consist of the new habits you will need to form to be successful. Just acting without any vision or purpose for your actions is just as meaningless as not acting at all. If you want to change, you will have to take a look at your habits and figure out what habits are tearing you down, and what new habits you need to form in their place to start building you up.
It is pretty simple: a man or woman is a product of their desires, beliefs, and actions; and actions are made largely of habit. Think about an average day in America. We almost all get up at the same time each day, drive the same route to work, eat the same types of foods for breakfast, engage the same activities at work, do the same things after work, and go to bed at the same time each night. Habits make life more comfortable, they give us security and safety, they allow us to feel some sense of control over the universe, but just because eating that twinkie everyday after work makes you feel good, does not mean it’s creating the life you want to live.
Many times the issue lies with creating habits unconsciously. With all of the temptations and chances to receive instant gratification in today’s society, it is easy to fall into the trap of making decisions off of what feels good right now. We learn to deal with a hard day of work with alcoholic drinks and junk food, stressful days with video games and television, low energy levels with energy drinks and sugary foods. It makes us feel good right now, and when we feel good right now on command, we will often repeat these choices over and over again. That is how most of us form habits, they just happen, a few choices towards immediate comfort repeat each day until each day becomes like the last day before it. Eventually our whole life becomes a cycle where we repeat the same self destructive behaviors over and over again, but it doesn’t have to be this way: when you realize the power that habits have over your life, you can take control and start forming habits that empower you and make you better.
Think of the old wisdom of saving money instead of spending it: when we make decisions seeking immediate comfort and entertainment, we make a dollar and spend a dollar immediately, but when we forgo instant gratification and choose habits that make us better over time, we take our dollar and invest in into a saving account with a high interest yield. Over time, the money we save pays us compound interest and someday we end up with a huge bank account instead of a bunch of meaningless crap we bought with each paycheck.
Life is the same way. You can either spend your time doing what feels good, what is nice and easy and convenient, or you can choose to do the things that will make you better tomorrow. As you get a little better each day, you gain more potential to get better tomorrow: you start compounding your growth.
Creating positive habits are like the tiny little improvements you make to your home before you sell it for a huge gain. People aren’t meant to live life in their teens and then slowly fade away into their 30’s and die. We are meat to excel throughout our entire lives, as we enter our 20s 30s and 40s we should excel in careers, love, and family. We are not meant to just work 9-5 at a dead end job and die a little more each day, so just stand up and do something different.
Take a look at your life, and understand that most of what you see is a product of your choices, actions, beliefs, and habits. Sure some things happen that are completely outside of our control, but each small habit and action you take each day will compound, and if you learn to love the process of improving each day, eventually you will become something great. The greatness exists within you already, you just have to find the right habits to allow it come into the world.
What are you doing each day that holds you back from your own personal greatness? What decisions have you made that are creating negative results, feelings, and experiences in your life? Start turning those negative habits into positive ones, instead of eating a twinkie, eat carrots and peanut butter, instead of buying useless crap start saving money, instead of watching T.V. 2 hours after work, start taking continuing education classes. Your life can change, but you must first start changing the habits and beliefs that have created it. Take the bad habits that don’t contribute to your future and start replacing those habits with something beneficial.