That’s the question that has been on my mind of late. Do my habits support or undermine my success?
In other words, do my daily routines and the things I do without thinking contribute to getting me to where I want to be? Our habits are things we do because we’ve pretty much programmed ourselves to do them. We get up in the same way, whether by alarm, sunlight, or by knowing what time it is without looking. We eat at the same time and places. We eat the same foods over and over. We drink coffee, soft drinks and energy drinks because we always do. Some people smoke. Some drink alcohol.
The vast majority of our habits are morally and ethically neutral, meaning they do no direct harm to ourselves or others. Cumulatively, many of our habits may do ourselves harm because we eat, drink and do things that are bad for us if done too much.
For those who are truly successful or are on the way to their success, their habits would fall into the generally good category most of the time. The truly successful have crafted a life that is built around good habits. These habits support their goals, either directly or as supporting habits. They get up on time, not necessarily early because that’s up to each of us, and they take care not to waste their time or others’ time. Their habits often include ways to stay healthy, expand their minds, grow their faith and being with their loved ones.
These things may not directly move you toward your goals, but they certainly can help. They can help create a life that makes it easier to focus on what’s important and what will help you achieve your goals. Habits are the underpinning of a successful life, however you define success for yourself.
Habits also are a major cause of stress or a major source of peace in your life. Good habits that keep you focused and moving forward give or enhance your peace of mind. Why? Because they are helping you achieve your goals. Bad habits are almost always a source of stress in life. Bad habits waste time and money. They treat others poorly. They treat you poorly. Bad habits are simply ways of doing harm to you and others on a small but consistent basis. This causes stress that is subtle. It creates a habit of stress that can permeate your life before you even realize it.
Habits are one of the things many people ignore when designing a new life or developing their visions of success.
Don’t. A set of good habits is just as important as a good set of goals. Without good habits, you will almost never reach your goals. Without good goals, your habits may give you a decent and peaceful life, but it will be one without direction or at the direction of others. Having neither good goals nor good habits will give you a life of despair and failure.
Pay attention to your habits. See what is creating peace in your life and work to make them better. See what habits are causing stress in your life and seek to eliminate those as soon as you can. Don’t try to get rid of all of them at the same time. Pick a smaller, less problematic habit first. Work on that for 2-3 weeks. Get a success under your belt first before you try to get rid of the biggest bad habits, because it will be difficult. Tackling the hardest one will take longer and you will often stumble and fall before you get rid of it. A little success and confidence built up by doing a few little ones first will go a long way.
Finally, don’t just get rid of a bad habit. That will leave a void that other bad habits might fill in. Instead seek to replace the bad habit with its opposite, good habit. Or replace it with some other good habit. This will make getting rid of the bad habit a lot easier. Nature abhors a vacuum and you will replace the bad habit with something. Just make sure it’s a good one.