Habits are the daily disciplines that determine if you will end up with a positive mental image,vibrant health,and financial freedom.
Here’s an important fact to remember.Successful people have successful habits,unsuccessful people don’t. It’s that simple.You can apply this strategy to any area of your life that you wish to improve,and reap wonderful rewards.
First,let’s define habits. Simply put,habits are something you do often,until they become easy. The longer you repeat the behavior,the easier it becomes,until eventually you do it unconsciously. For example,I wanted to increase my water and fruit intake. I would get off to a good start for a couple of weeks and then I’d forget. The problem was that I was too sporadic- I needed a plan. I decided that each time I went to the gym I would bring a large water bottle one piece of fruit,with the promise to myself that they would both be gone before I returned home. This worked like a charm. That habit is now two years old.
We are all creatures of habit. Most of our normal daily behavior is habitual. The first ninety minutes of my morning,from the time I wake up until I’m in work mode,involves habits which are automatic: bathroom,shower,makeup,dressing,preparing breakfast,reading,washing up,checking the to-do list. None of these habits require major decisions.
What about you? When you wake up,do you immediately think,”I wonder what my habits will be today?” Of course not. You simply do what you do,and get on with your day.
The consequence of your bad habits can be heartbreaking. You may end up in poor health or working during the years that you planned for retirement. For some people, it’s even worse- destitute and broke,they end up requiring assistance to survive. To avoid these nasty scenarios,here’s what you can do:
List Your Bad Habits
You know what they are,so you write them down. Consider each area of your life- fitness,relationships,work,money,eating,driving,sleeping,communication, punctuality, following through on your promises etc.
Be specific about each one of them. For example, I hit the snooze button five times in the morning before I finally get up.
Select one habit that you really want to change.
Access The Consequences
Opposite your bad habit,write the long term consequences if you continue this behavior.
For example,sleeping late on a workday can get you off to a bad start. You are rushing,you miss breakfast,your stress levels increase because traffic is backed up. You arrive at the office tensed,out of breath and still fuming at the stupid guy who stalked when the stoplight turned green.
Repeated tardiness may get you fired and you are labelled unreliable.
Think about the long term consequences of your behavior, not the outcome tomorrow or next.
Clarify Your New Habit And Take Action
Defining a better habit is easy. Just write down the opposite of your bad habit.
For examole,get up on time. Do not hit the snooze alarm once,never mind five times.
Along side your new habit, write three action steps that will turn this desired behavior into reality.
For example,Immediately swing your legs out of bed when the alarm goes off.(I know this sounds simple but it works!) Have a friend phone you at the exact time you want to get up. Buy a new clock with a horrendously loud alarm bell on it ,and place it on the opposite side of the room. The point is-do something that will jumpstart your new behavior.
Finally,list all of the positive benefits you will enjoy once your new habit is well established. In most cases,this takes thirty to ninety days. Getting up on time soon becomes automatic, and you won’t need an alarm. You will be more relaxed and can ease into the day,instead of being jolted into it. Reducing stress affects your long term health,and being on time for work shows your integrity. You will be thankful for making the adjustments.
Exercise The No Exceptions Policy
The longer you have maintained a bad habit,the harder it is to break.
Creating new habits,especially exercise programs,are difficult at the start. The first few weeks will really test you. There will be times when you want to quit. Don’t! Develop a No Policy and stick to it. If you do,the rewards will far outweigh any initial discomfort.
Daily discipline combined with desire and a No Exceptions Policy pays off,no matter what habit you want to change.
American writer,Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”