Habits To Propel You To The Success You Want
As a high performance coach, I talk about habits with my clients during each and every coaching session. We discuss the importance of habits, how to build them, and which ones are important for them personally. Embracing positive change and developing the right habits to move your life and career forward is a founding principal of high performance.
According to best-selling author and founder of the High Performance Institute, Brendon Burchard:
“The right habits have the ability to help you achieve long-term success and vibrant well-being no matter your age, career, strengths or personality.”
Developing good habits takes time and effort. The Oxford Research Encyclopedia indicates that within psychology, the term “habit” itself refers to a process whereby context or circumstances prompt action automatically, through activation of mental context-action association learned through prior performance. In fact, there is so much scientific research about this topic, I could write a book on the findings of various scholars and experts.
However, today, I want to focus on 4 key habits that will propel you to the success you want — and need. There is no doubt that during the past 15+ months, we all developed some habits in our lives — both good and bad. I want to challenge you to truly evaluate your daily habits and work to remove the bad ones, strengthen the good ones, and add more positive habits to your every day.
But as we move forward, it’s important to remember that to build a habit and make it permanent requires a lifestyle change. During my research from this column, I discovered the 21/90 Rule — it takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 days to make it a permanent lifestyle change. If you commit to the goal for 21 days, it will become a habit. Commit to it for 90 days, and it will become part of your lifestyle.
The 5 habits I’m recommending you start (or continue) including: Exercise, Read, Journal, and Celebrate.
As simple as it sounds, most people just don’t do it. They make excuses as to why they can’t focus on their physical health once each and every day. I know because I was part of this group for a long time. I’m too old, my knees hurt, I don’t have the energy, and so on my excuses went. We’ve all done it, but as I watched my disciplined, teenage children get up every morning and head to a workout at 5:00 AM, while I sat in my office working and drinking coffee — I knew something was out of balance.
So, I decided to do something about it. On June 14th I started walking with a group of friends at 5:00 AM for an hour. Each day, I walk about 3.5 miles, and embracing this habit has already had a tremendous impact on my day. So much so, that I look forward to the walk and talk each morning! We created an accountability group to support and encourage each other, and it’s working. It hasn’t been 90 days, but I can tell you, this is a new habit that I really enjoy. And so can you!
Start small. Make a commitment to yourself to improve your physical health with some form of exercise, and turn that into a habit. When you master it, add to it and keep going. You will thank yourself later for implementing this lifestyle change.
I’ve written about the power of reading in multiple columns, so if you are a loyal reader, you’re likely tired of me sharing my thoughts on this subject. As such, I’ll keep this brief.
Just like your body needs fuel to make it through each day, so does your mind — but your mind needs more than social media posts and Netflix. It needs to be fueled with information and ideas that challenge us to grow — and reading is a great way to do that. If you read for just 10 minutes a day, you’ll be amazed at the growth that will happen in both your life and career. So start today by committing 10 minutes to reading.
It takes an average of 8 hours to read a book that is between 200-300 pages, so if you commit to 10 minutes a day, every day, you will complete, on average, 8 books per year. Think about the power in that much information, and all that you can learn and grow in just 10 minutes per day!
As simple as this sounds, most people just don’t do it. Again, I know, because I was one of them. I had all the excuses as to why I would not embrace this habit, and I’m sure most of you are thinking those exact thoughts right now. But there are so many benefits to journaling every day. In fact, according to an article published on the Positive Psychology website, there are 83 benefits from journaling, including stress reduction, improved mental health, as well as reduced anxiety.
But there are even more benefits for your mind, body, soul, and spirit. I’m not a fan of writing out every detail of my day, but I am a proponent of capturing my thoughts on certain situations, conversations, events, and circumstances — especially new ideas that are constantly coming up in my thoughts, as it seems my entrepreneur brain never sleeps! However, I make sure to start every journal entry with gratitude and what I’m thankful for that day and why I’m grateful for it.
Don’t overthink this. Just like with the other tips above, start small, and work your way into this amazing new habit. You’ll develop a cadence that works for you, but the important part is that you’re doing it!
All of these tips can be very beneficial to you, but to me, celebrating you and all your accomplishments each and every day is the most important. As we go through our day, life and work can throw us some curveballs, and as humans, we tend to dwell on these more than all of the success we have each and every day! And, it’s not only important but also powerful to acknowledge and celebrate our wins, regardless of how big or small they are.
Yes, we celebrate when we convert a prospect to a customer or win a big job, but do you celebrate when you learn something new? That new short cut you learned in your software program that saved you 30 minutes on a project, do you celebrate that? If not, you need to start.
Acknowledging all the wins we have each day creates a mindset shift. It changes how we view things, how we show up, how we act towards a colleague or client. Gratitude has so much power, but most of us don’t practice it, we don’t see the value in it. Again, start today! See how this impacts you.
Celebrating your wins does not mean you have to go out and purchase a nice bottle of wine or treat yourself to a fancy dinner, it simply means you acknowledge it (even journal it) and then share it with someone. A simple hi-five or a pay on the back with “good job” goes a long way.
It took me a long time to realize the power of celebrating wins, because I associated celebrating with buying something. But my journey as an entrepreneur has taught me the value of small acknowledgements, so I share my wins big and small. Sometimes on social media, always with my family and friends — but I share so I can celebrate all the great things I’m doing, and you should too.
Success does not come easy. We have to work at it every day. But I'm willing to bet that at some point in the last 5-10 years, you once hoped to be sitting in the circumstances you are in today. Acknowledge the wins it took you to get where you are today in your career and in your life!
We have to create our success over time, and embracing these tips will help you continue to move forward to craft your journey to the success you need and want. Be sure to visit my blog at www.sidmeadows.com/blog and share your insights on this important conversation.