It was either Aristotle or The 7 Dwarfs who said ‘We are what we repeatedly do.’ Which means that just as your DNA creates your body, your habits create your identity. So while you may feel as if your identity was written in the stars, in reality, it is written on your calendar.
When you do something every day it transforms you.
- Exercise every day and you become fit.
- Read every day and you become intelligent.
- Write every day and you become an author.
- Save money every day and you become rich.
- Meet new people every day and you become popular.
- Refuse to wear clothes every day and you become a nudist. And tan.
Most of the great things that have happened to me are because I first established strong habits.
- I have exercised regularly since I was a freshman in high school. Several decades later I am still as strong as I was when I was 18. And although I am slower, my complexion is better.
- For the past 6 years, I have written 5 to 7 days each week. By doing so I have published 720 blog posts and a book titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media. #WriteOn
- I have a strong reading habit. I read physical books at home. And I listen to audiobooks while I drive. As a result I arrive at work smarter than I was when I left home. And I arrive home smarter than I was when I left work. If you do that every day for decades you will end up a lot smarter than you look.
- I make a point of developing and maintaining relationships. I make a habit of reaching out to people regularly by phone, text, email or through social media. I invite people to get together and add another chapter to our friendship or familyship. One of the common regrets in life is not creating or maintaining your relationships. I will not have that regret.
The Habit Train
If you want to establish a strong new habit it is easier than you think. Because your day is already packed with habits. And the best way to establish a strong new habit is to attach it to an existing one, like cars on a freight train.
1. When your alarm clock sounds you turn it off (Habit)
2. You get up. (Habit)
3. Unless you have a bionic bladder you go to the bathroom. (Habit)
Now you have a 3-Habit Train headed down the track every morning. The key is to add more cars to your habit train.
After you get up, and before you go to the bathroom, make your bed. This new habit is pretty easy to establish because you simply declare that before you go to the bathroom you will make you bed. You already know you are going to perform the habits directly before and after making the bed. Linking your new habits to your established and automatic habits quickly makes the new habit automatic too.
But Don’t Stop There.
After you go to the bathroom (and wash your hands, please), attach another habit.
My next habit is to drink a large glass of water to jumpstart a healthy day. This is where you might have coffee or tea. (Habit)
Then add another positive habit it your train.
Make this one a power habit. Think of it like adding another engine to your train. Power habits could be exercise, reading, or meditation. Something that adds real power to you as a human.
After my initial power habit (getting up at 6 am), my next power habit it is writing. By 6:10 am I am either writing a blog post or a chapter for a new book.
I write for at least an hour at least 5 days every week. By the time I close my laptop to move on to the next habit in my morning routine my habit train is flying down the track, and I am making progress towards larger life goals.
You can create several habit trains that run at different times of day. Or you can make your entire day a nonstop habit train for maximum impact. They say that if you want something done give it to a busy person. It’s because their habit train is already rolling. And any task that gets added to the train will naturally head down the track with them. It’s a powerful way to progress through life. Choo Choo.
Habits have a transformational power. Like interest on a financial investment, repeated postive actions create compounding rewards that create massive personal and professional advantages. Link your habits into habit trains. Feel them build momentum every day. They will take you farther than you can even imagine.
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