“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Choose your words, for they become actions.
Understand your actions, for they become habits.
Study your habits, for they will become your character.
Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
~ Unknown ~
Staying inspired and taking action isn’t just about having a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal). It also requires good – and sometimes seemingly small and inconsequential-in-the-moment – daily habits.
While I’ve been blessed with success in my life, I have to admit that breaking bad habits and creating new healthy ones for me is challenging more often than not. And as I’ve discovered from all the self-help and organizing books and systems on the market, it is for millions of other people too. How about you?
I still have to remind myself to stop doing certain actions and start doing other actions that you’d think I’d have learned as a child. One of them is putting my belongings back where they belong immediately after I use them. Like my car keys. And my cell phone.
This works…when I follow it.
MAJOR TIP: And that’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? Making the decision to follow the steps we know we need to take to create and reinforce good habits and break unhealthy ones so that we do these things without even thinking about it and break through to reach the BHAG. Did you know new research shows that it takes less than a half second to make that new choice? A HALF SECOND!
Pause for a half second before you’re about to repeat that bad habit you already know you don’t want to do, think about the BHAG result you want, and make a different choice! After a half second the urge dissipates and making a better choice is easier. Repeated daily, this single action pays dividends for the rest of your life!
TIP: If I’m really paying attention to that IV (Inner Voice) Drip filled with smart thinking, I make that half second choice in the moment to follow that good habit. Difficult at times, and I’m not always successful, but the payoff is ALWAYS worthwhile, especially long term. As the great Jim Rohn said, “Discipline weighs ounces, regret weighs tons.”
TIP: I was a smoker from the time I was 15 years old until age 32. I quit when I realized my animals ran away from the smoke and I finally noticed that non-smoking clients did that “whiff” test where their heads jerked and their faces frowned as I came within smell distance. Quitting wasn’t easy, but I did it and I use that success as a reminder when I am working on creating major habit changes like the way I use credit and where I spend my money and resisting fast food.
TIP: There’s this saying that I hear in my head occasionally (as in not often enough) when I’m about to deter from following a good habit – “How you do anything is how you do everything.” It’s a good reminder for me that small good habits lead to big good habits, higher self-esteem, and better results in all aspects of my life.
RESOURCE: To help you form better habits and change ones that aren’t working, I’d like to share a great resource with you. Definitely bookmark this site and be prepared to be inspired and take action after connecting with the brilliant Leo Babauta, the founder and creator of Zen Habits.
Leo has a lot of different posts on how to form better habits. The one that really called to me for this message is something we don’t often think of – what to avoid, which is as important as what to move toward.
What about you? What your best tip for making or breaking a habit? What habit do you want to create or change and need help with? Post a comment and let’s make some new habits together. *Remember, if you post a comment, you’ll not only help other readers, you’ll also be entered to win in the monthly drawing for a free hour of coaching on any topic of your choice with me.