One of the most important things that I’ve learned over the past 10 years is the power of habits. Putting the important things in place so that you can allow yourself to go into an almost autopilot mode is a very special place that by the end of this article, I hope you start to leverage yourself.
You see, growing takes consistency, and being consistent can be hard if we have to think about it. But, if it’s just a programmed pattern that we do without thinking 90% of the time, consistency becomes a whole lot easier.
Let me explain how I’ve learned this in my own life so you can unpack the lessons and use them in your own life as well.
The first step is to diagnose the thing that you want to build, change, or grow.
For me, it was actually what I wanted to shrink. You see, at one point in my life, I used to weigh 320 pounds.
There are a lot of reasons, I got to that weight but, the biggest was a whole slew of bad habits vs. heroic habits. You see that autopilot thing can also lead to a crash landing if your not careful.
I was focused on hustling my face off to the point that I didn’t have a routine for exercise.
I was focused on hustling that I would stay up late working and eat snack foods to give my body false fuel to keep going.
I was so focused on hustling that I wouldn’t measure or track calories, water intake, you see, it wasn't important and there wasn’t a roadmap for changing this toxic set of habits. There was work to be done!
Trust me when I say, I realize how stupid that sounds!
But, I kept doing life like this until the day that I could barely move.
I went from being a young man to feeling like I was 90 or even 100 years old in a blink of an eye and over a 30-day period, I found out that I had Rheumatoid Arthritis.
It was at that point, I realized I had two options, continue down the road I had been on or make an abrupt turn and focus on creating some heroic habits in my life.
In other words, health became important and something I realized I needed to create some consistency around.
But, let’s stop my story for a second.
- What is it in your life?
- What needs to change?
- What long-haul or radical turn have you been putting off?
It’s only when you stop long enough to figure out what needs to change, that you can put the right habits in the right place. What habits do you need to put in place?
So back to me being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and needing to make a change.
What does that look like for me?
Well, in the morning when I wake up I usually make a healthy shake.
The same type of shake every time I make it. That way I don’t have to think, it’s simply autopilot mode.
On Sundays, I prepare healthy meals for the week to come so instead of grabbing junk food, I grab the easiest thing, the thing I prepped in advance.
I also schedule two to three walks a day for about 45-minutes to an hour each walk and this gets me 4 to 6 miles a day. However, moving forward, I’m trying to have a goal of 16,000 steps which is about 7 miles a day.
Time for some unbelievable vulnerability and true transparency here. I try to do these things and because I have the heroic habits in place, 85% to 95% of the time, it works like a charm.
But, I’m only human and sometimes I miss a walk or eat the wrong things. But, it’s not the end of the world! I refuse to throw my hands up and feel guilty.
You see, many people, and you might be one of them, usually throw their hands up in the air and give up if they start something and don’t do it all the time. This mentality is the death of ever being consistent in your heroic habits.
Please, by all that is holy, free yourself from this thought process.
What I love about my heroic habits is the ability to mess up and jump right back in the next day. Why simply because they are set in place waiting for me to arrive the next day.
When I say they’re set in place, I mean they’re written down on a whiteboard so I can see them.
Plus, they are right by my goal as well. Seeing your heroic habits and your goal side by side can mentally give you that extra boost to keep going when you mess up or, when you choose to take a break.
Notice, I didn’t say cheat or have a cheat day here.
Be careful of the words you use around your heroic habits.
Use power words.
Use positive words.
- Always be in control of what is happening to and around your habits.
- Always be in control of what is happening to and around your goals.
- Always be in control of what is happening to and around well, yourself!.
So, how can you set up better habits for yourself?
I want to give you three ways.
The first way is just to decide to do it.
Diagnose the problem, write down the goals, and then build the habits around what it will take to achieve that goal.
Sounds easy right? Well, for most folks it is not so let’s move to the second way to build heroic habits in your life.
Read or listen to the book Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Why am I suggesting this amazing book?
No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving--every day.
James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.
If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you.
The problem is your system.
Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change.
You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.
Here, you'll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.
So get the book and get going on building those heroic habits.
The third way to start building heroic habits for yourself is to lean into another book called The Power of habit by Charles Duhigg.
The Power of Habit takes us to the edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed.
Simplifying large amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Charles presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential.
Understand your potential!
At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.
Charles shows us or more importantly you, that by harnessing this new science, you can transform your businesses, your community, and your life.
And if you’re watching this video, that should be right up your alley.
Oh, and if that’s not enough for you, Jim Collins said that The Power of Habit was “Sharp, provocative, and useful.” You know Jim Collins, Good to Great!
So, as we start to land this plane and you leave this video, stop for a few minutes with your notebook and ask yourself, what needs to change?
No, really, get your notebook or whiteboard out and write these things down so you can see them. Then continue and ask yourself ...
- What needs to change?
- What do you want to build?
- Where do you want to go in life?
Then, allow yourself to dream and in that dream, uncover your goals.
Write them down as well.
Then, start with the end in mind and build those heroic habits that will consistently move you one step closer to your goals each and every day.
Get the helpful books mentioned here.
Watch some of the other videos I’ve created to help you live a life beyond your default.
And, remember, as you journey to a life filled with purpose, passion, and profit based on the goals and habits you now have, remember to be a happy, helpful, humble human along the way.
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