“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
-Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy (1926)
Are your daily habits contributing to your success, or are they holding you back? This is a vital question that we must ask ourselves periodically if we want to reach our highest potential in our careers, our business, personal lives, and relationships. At first glance, the concept of changing your habits can be very daunting, but there are strategies to help you get started.
Public sociologist Christine Whelan recommends some of the following (source here)
- Start small and take one step at a time: Don’t try to change every negative habit all at once, it will be too overwhelming. Instead choose one piece at a time to work on, adding more new habits as you become comfortable.
- Stick with it: It takes around 90 days to form a solid habit. If you can make positive changes a habit that you don’t have to think about doing everytime change will be much easier to stay with.
- Figure out what you will need to give up: Adding things like time at the gym, or eating a healthy breakfast will mean time away from something you are already doing. Figure out what that is and decide for yourself if it is worth giving up to gain the outcome you want.
So what are some of the most effective habits to develop for increased success? Many are the simple every day things that you already know about: making a prioritized to-do list, getting all of your appointments on a central calendar, having a morning routine you stick to every day to get started on the right foot. But some habits of successful people might surprise you.
Dr. Randall Bell in his book Rich Habits Rich Life: The Four Cornerstones of All Great Pursuits (source) recommends:
- Making Time to Read: reading every day has been shown to improve brain function significantly. For instance, in one study, participants who read a detailed description of running, actually showed the same neurons being activated that are associated with the physical act of running.
- Take time alone to meditate and pray: whether you consider yourself spiritual or religious, taking time alone, away from distraction to think and reflect is a vital part of recharging your creativity and mental performance.
- Make your bed: IT may sound silly, but this simple task can go along the way to set the tone for an organized and productive day.
Take a fresh look at your daily routine and your thinking habits. Don’t worry about changing everything at once, but consider trying a few of these habits for excellence and success and see the impact it makes on your life!
Have you had good results from developing productive habits? Give us your best practices in the comments below!