Habits are subconscious routine behaviours that we repeatedly exhibit everyday. These are little decisions and actions we carry out daily without any conscious thought. Happiness, success, health, relationships and practically every outcome in our lives are as a result of habits. Your life is basically a sum total of your habits. Whatever we repeatedly think or do everyday eventually shows up in our lives.
Habits could either be termed good or bad depending on the results they produce. Don’t take anything for granted no matter how little because in the long-term they eventually affect our results. Certain habits are like strongholds and appear difficult to break, but in reality there is no habit we have learned that we cannot unlearn. Since we were not born with these habits but learned them over time, there is hope for us that we can also unlearn them. For example, a habit that was formed over a 10 year period cannot be broken over night, it usually requires patience, focus and discipline. Many people would like to form a new habit, but they are not ready to do what it takes to achieve that. Take for instance an overweight person who knows that he needs to practise restraint, avoid certain kinds of food and exercise more but choose to rather indulge. Yet he wonders why he is not losing weight. Perhaps an athlete who wants to win in an Olympic but doesn’t put in the required discipline of diet and exercise and expects to win the race, might just been daydreaming.
Sometimes it might appear daunting and challenging to make the necessary changes, but if we commit to daily simple habits we will be amazed at the progress we can make.
1. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step
Pick out the smallest or easiest of the habits you would like to change. Things like eating an apple a day or using the staircase instead of an elevator. Jim Rohn says “Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.”
2. Keep a daily journal
Set up the discipline of keeping record of the daily progress you are making. You might also want to documents failures made along the way, and then try to see a pattern or understand why you failed. It has been said that failure is a better teacher than success. At the end of each day, make it a practice to ask yourself what you can or could have done better. Like Plato the Philosopher said “an unexamined life is not worth living”
3. Get back on track as soon as possible
In your journey to your desired destination, you will get off track and make mistakes but do not allow this deter you from pressing forward. Identify the triggers that get you off course and make a deliberate attempt to avoid, overcome or deal with them.
4. Learn something new everyday
It has been said that not all readers are leader, but all leaders are readers. Perhaps, the question to ask might be “what is the quality of information you are feeding into your mind?” Are you feeding on the right stuff? I often talk to people who ask for advice on how to progress in their careers and I ask questions like “what are you reading at the moment? What personal development program are you on at the moment?” Some would usually tell me about how busy they are, how much time they spend in traffic and perhaps lack of financial resources to take certain courses they would like to study. When I mention to them that there are actually tons of free or very low-budget online courses from reputable universities in the world they can take at their own pace in the comfort of their homes or office, they are usually surprised. I have benefited a lot from this and would like to share it with those who might not be aware. Do you know you can take some of the world’s best courses online and earn a certificate which you can proudly showcase on your resume or CV, visit Explore 1600+ online courses from top universities. Join Coursera today to learn data science, programming, business strategy, and more.Coursera.org for example today and start learning and improving yourself. You will be glad you did.
“If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge pays the best dividend” – Benjamin Franklin
5. Surround yourself with positive people
Deliberately look for friendships that will enhance your life, challenge you and motivate you to reach for greater heights. Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with people who will uplift, cheer you and help you to achieve your dreams. Stay away from mediocre relationships – if you are the smartest person in a room, you might be in the wrong room. While I was in high school and in the university, my strategy was always to look for the brightest students in the class and make them my best friends. I also applied same principle when I had a career change to a completely different industry. I found out who the best employees were, got close to them, asked them to mentor me and in three years I was the national best in the company. Since you are only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with, be courageous enough to let go of those who do not bring out the best in you, but weigh you down.