When we decide that we are willing to put in the effort to apply success principles in our lives, we realize that there is more involved than adding a 15-minute meditation to our morning routine.
Our personal development journey is an adventure that includes great moments of joy and not so great moments of disappointment.
It is when we are confronted with a challenge that we learn how well we’ve done our internal development work.
If we’ve done well with our personal development work we will handle a life or business challenge with confidence in our ability to ask questions, find a solution, make a decision, and take action.
On the other hand, if we’ve simply skimmed the surface by reading numerous books and relying on social media memes to keep our outlook on life a bit more positive, we will not be able to handle the challenges of an ever-changing world. Our life and our business will always be a series of great ups and great downs.
To achieve a balance between internal and external lives we must commit to taking daily action to change the habits that are holding us back and causing the imbalance. This is when long-term, transformative change occurs. This is when we stop reading about success principles and begin living them.
We reach an understanding that the results we want in life and business are contingent on the daily maintenance of our spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health.
That daily maintenance relies on our habits. When our habits are in line with the success principles we want to live by, we experience peace of mind because we know the decisions we make are the correct decisions.
What You Do Every Day Matters
What will set you apart and ensure that you achieve your goals and are successful in life and business are the habits you do every day.
Successful people have positive, powerful habits. These are things they don’t even have to think about because they happen on autopilot.
Because habits are done on autopilot they can be difficult to recognize as being helpful or harmful to you.
When you can identify the habits that are stopping you from practicing the success principles in your daily life, you can change them.
Make a decision, right now, to pay attention to your everyday habits. List them on a piece of paper. It could look something like this:
Go to the bathroom
Drink a glass of water
Turn on television and change channel to the news
Get a cup of coffee
Get the second cup of coffee
Prepare and eat lunch
Drink a glass of water
Turn off television
Work on projects
Prepare and eat dinner
Attend a social meeting/gathering
Help children with homework
Now take a closer look at your list. You will see that included in this list are activities that you consciously make. They are not done on autopilot. For instance, prepare and eat lunch requires you to make the decision to feed yourself.
Another is “work on projects.” That means you set aside time to review your task list or calendar and select the project to work on.
And another is “attend a social meeting/gathering.” This requires you to plan for the outing.
None of these are habits. They are scheduled activities. Remove them from your list and think through your day again. Recall what you did after you brushed your teeth. Don’t remember? Plan to do this again in the morning.
Remember, habits are what you do on autopilot. They are actions you do without thought. They are how you respond to something happening.
Twirling your hair when reading a book.
Crossing your legs when sitting in a chair.
Drinking a glass of water before you drink coffee.
Adding sugar to your coffee.
Getting on your knees to say a morning prayer.
Sitting on a pillow while meditating.
Grabbing an apple on the way out the door.
A habit is a shortcut from want/need to achieving the desired result. In the beginning, the result was a conscious desire that required some thought to determine how to achieve it.
For example, as a child, you were told to brush your teeth every morning because the goal was for you to have healthy teeth throughout your life. Sometime between then and now you decided that brushing your teeth as the first thing you did after getting out of bed was a good idea. You continued to do it. Now, it is done without thought. Likely you do it when you are half asleep and when asked, don’t remember if you did or didn’t.
But, if you were to run out of toothpaste or were rushed out of bed, you would notice that “something isn’t right”. After some thought, you might realize that you hadn’t brushed your teeth.
Forgetting to brush your teeth isn’t life-changing in and of itself. Repeatedly forgetting and eventually stopping brushing your teeth is. It would result in bad teeth leading to loss of teeth and leading to bad physical health. This habit is an excellent way to see how doing something small, every day, can have big results.
Now, go back over your list or start another one. When you have a better list, think about each habit and ask if it serves to move you forward or hold you back. Does it support your spiritual/emotional/mental/physical health goals? Does it move your closer to achieving your life or business goals?
If you say Yes, keep it and move to the next. If you say No, write it in a column to the side. When finished, look at the No column and make a decision to replace those habits with something that will support your life or business goals.
For example, you may have a habit of checking social media while you’re working on projects. After some thought, you admit that this doesn’t serve you at all. There is no reason to check social media while you are working on a project.
Make a decision to replace that habit with one that does serve you. Instead of checking social media, stand up and stretch your arms and legs. If that isn’t enough, do some deep breathing exercises. Then get back to work on your project. Continue to do this every time you find yourself checking social media.
It won’t be long and you will realize that when you are working on projects and need a short break you will find yourself standing, stretching your arms and legs, and doing a bit of deep breathing.
Habits That Support Living Success Principles
When you pay attention to your everyday habits, you’ll be closer to achieving your life and business goals. Little things add up to big things. Seemingly small habits and small daily tasks stack on top of each other to become something big.
When you look at what successful people do every day you will see that some habits support you as you consciously begin living success principles. Here are a few examples of what this would look like:
Accept Ownership of Behavior
Avoid Jumping to Conclusions
Doing Something Because You See It Needs to be Done
Kindness to Others
Personal Inventory/Review the Day
Planning for Success
Developing better habits is a one day at a time effort. The most effective way to do it is to change one habit at a time.
Select one habit you want to change. Decide what the new habit will be, what you will do instead. Practice doing that one new habit every day. Soon it will be easy and won’t take much thought. That is when you can start changing another habit.
Sometimes you can simply add a new habit to your day because you haven’t been doing it anyway. An example would be meditation. Many people have tried to add meditation to their morning routine and find they just can’t seem to stick with it. What if they added that meditation at the beginning of a habit they already have in place?
It could look like this: Morning Coffee > Review the Task List for the Day > Meditate on the Task List.
By adding the new habit to support an existing habit you are setting yourself up to succeed. Look through your list of habits you want to change. When do you do them?
What new habit makes sense to add after an existing habit? Now do it.
Living your life by following proven success principles will result in you living a life you want. It puts you in control of the decisions you make, the people you have in your inner circle, and the work that you do. All because you changed your habits so you could change your results.