Success habits – small steps to creating lasting change
The individual who wants to reach the top must appreciate the might of the force of habit – and must understand that practices are what create habit. He must be quick to break those habits that can break him and hasten to adopt those practices that will become the habits that help him achieve the success he desires. – J Paul Getty
“Successful people are the sum of their successful habits.” – Unknown
What is a habit? A habit is something you do so often it becomes easy. In other words, it’s a behavior that you keep repeating. If you persist at developing a new behavior, eventually it becomes automatic.
Studies have shown that 40% of the actions a person takes each day are habits, and people tend to do them subconsciously.
We are therefore to large extent creatures of habit. To demonstrate this, have you ever driven home on autopilot? Someone has asked you to run an errand on your way home and you totally forget because it takes you out of your everyday routine? That’s because we have become programmed to take the same route home everyday.
Where you are at this point in time, whether for better or worse, is in large part due to the habits you have adopted. The habits you adopt now will determine the quality of your future.
With an initial amount of discipline you can reprogram yourself to overcome bad habits and establish good habits at anytime. According to a 2009 study from University College London it takes on average 66 days to create a new habit.
5 steps to creating a success habit
- Write down your new success habit and list the benefits
Writing down your new success habit will help you get more clear on what you want to achieve and why. Your why is important as it will help you stay motivated.
- Two month challenge
Setting your new success habit as a two month challenge takes into account that it takes on average 66 days to create a new habit and it’s easier to fit into your calendar. This timeframe will give you the best chance of creating a good lifelong habit. A two month timeframe is also short enough to keep yourself motivated.
- Do it daily
Being consistent and persistent is how you make a habit stick. Activities you do less often are harder to establish.
- Start simply – start small
In the beginning you maybe over motivated and want to take on too much. For example, you may want to be able to run 5 miles daily however it is better to start off by setting a goal of walking/running for 15 minutes only as at this stage you are trying to establish a daily habit not reach your ultimate goal. It is much harder to re-motivate yourself on day two if you failed to achieve the 5 miles on the first day. However, if you found walking for 15 minutes no big deal then you are far more likely to continue the next day.
- Don’t give up
It may not be easy to create a new success habits but it will be worth it. If you miss a day, then start again the next day. If you have fallen off the bandwagon and had an unhealthy meal then just make sure your next meal is healthy. You don’t have to wait until 1stJanuary to make changes or to start afresh. Live is not perfect – just don’t give up! Keeping going, after all – practise makes perfect!
Two month Success Habit Example:
Success Habit: Exercise regularly.
- Be fit
- Be healthy
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Have more energy
- Set a good example for the children
- Feel great and vibrant
- Clothes feel comfortable and look good
- Feel more confident
- Increase my life expectancy
Two Month Challenge: Every day for the next two months I will walk for 15 minutes as soon as I get up in the morning.
I have made my challenge daily; I am starting off slowly by choosing to say that I will walk for only 15 minutes. My ultimate goal might be to walk 10,000 steps a day or run 5 miles daily but in the beginning I am only looking to create the habit. I am looking for consistency to keep going and not looking at performance. Once I have created this daily habit I can then look at improving my performance by increasing my distance, the number of steps I take or how fast I run but to start with I just want to create a good habit. By saying that I will do the activity as soon as I get up in the morning, I am working on establishing the new success habit as a part of my daily routine.
Over to you – which new success habit do you want to establish first?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle