Yeah, I know that’s a cliche and cringe-worthy title. That’s because the topic I’m going to talk about sounds overly dull and boring and I needed some way of making you want to click on this post.
But now that you’re here (and hopefully sitting comfortably) I’m going to tell you what it is.
It’s ‘good habits’.
Don’t click the back button! Hear me out on this because good habits really are the simple secret to success.
I once heard someone say (I think it may have been Eric Thomas?)…
“Show me what you do every day and I will tell you if you are going to be successful.”
…as though they had some sort of crystal ball magically hidden amongst their butt cheeks.
But it’s true! Because good habits compounded over time produce insane results.
Let me show you how by sharing basic examples in the three most important areas of your life;
- Health and fitness
- Business and financial
1 – Health and fitness
Nobody wakes up one morning, completes a single core workout, and then finishes the day with a rock-hard set of abs.
You don’t eat one salad for lunch and drop several dress sizes.
Although it pains me to say this, one hard workout, or one healthy low-calorie meal, is not going to give you a perfectly sculpted body.
It takes a long time of regular workouts and healthy eating to be able to show off a chiseled six-pack.
In other words, good habits of regular exercise and healthy eating repeated over time.
This also works in the other direction.
One day lounging on the sofa binge-watching your favorite boxset whilst indulging in chocolate, cake, popcorn and sweets, isn’t going to make you obese, unless you make it a regular habit.
2 – Business and financial
Unless you win the lottery, you’re not going to automatically wake up one morning after living paycheck-to-paycheck and go to bed later that evening a millionnaire.
The long and short of it is that if you do the same thing every day, you’re going to get the same results.
Successful businesses and meaningful wealth are not built overnight. Both of them require small chess moves to be played which, again, compound over time.
3 – Relationships
Okay, so this is probably the hardest one to explain because very few people can see the connection between a successful relationship and good habits.
In the early days of a relationship, habits are not as important since everything is new, shiny, and fabulous. But after a while, even the creme-de-la-creme of relationships will start to lose its sparkle and require a bit of effort.
That effort comes in the form of good habits – doing the small things that make you a caring, loving, and supporting partner repeatedly over time.
I hate to break it to you, but love is not built upon one bunch of flowers every year for valentines day.
Water your grass!
Okay, so hopefully we’re all in agreement now that good habits are essential if it want to build anything meaningful.
The Google definition of habit is, “a settled or regular tendency or practice”.
They keyword there is ‘regular’; it must be repeated over time. Time is what allows your efforts to compound.
There is a famous saying that I’m sure you’ve heard of, which is, “the grass is always greener on the other side”. This is usually followed by the rebuttal, “the grass is always greener where you water it”.
Well, I’d like to expand upon that and say, “the grass is always greener where you water it regularly“. Nobody ever got green grass from a random sprinkle three time a year!
So, if you want green grass, water it, and do it regularly.
And if you want to be successful, then get yourself some good habits and do them reguarly!
Habits are just time allocation
To break habits down into their most simplest form, habits are just time allocation.
We all have 24 hours in a day, and we get to choose how we’re going to spend those 24 hours.
If you want to develop a habit (good or bad) then you simply need to allocate time for that habit on a regular basis.
For example, let’s say you want to build a good exercise habit. Start by allocating 30-minutes a day to work on your fitness. During this time you can go for a brisk walk, go cycling, follow a workout DVD, go to the gym, etc. Later on, you may want to allocate more time.
Another example of a habit that you already allocate time for (or at least I hope you do) is brushing your teeth. Every morning and evening you take 2-minutes to clean your teeth.
It’s just time allocation!
Do you want to build good reading habits? Then allocate a small amount of time to read every day.
Do you want better relationships? Then allocate a small amount of time to check in with your friends and invest in your loved ones.
Small stones build great castles
I’m making habit-forming sound ridiculously easy here, so it’s time I throw some shade on it for balance because if habit-forming was this easy, we’d all be role models citizens.
There are two factors that make habit-forming difficult:
- Biting off more than you can chew
- Not giving it enough time
Let’s look at both factors individually.
1.Biting off more than you can chew
The number one reason why people fail to form new habits is that they try and change too much too quickly.
Rather than allocating 30-minutes of general exercise, they allocate 2-hours for a high-intensity workout every day!
This makes their new habit too difficult to maintain.
2. Not giving it enough time
The second reason why people fail to form new habits is that they don’t allow enough time for their efforts to compound and for their results to be seen.
They allocate 30-minutes of general exercise but they give up after 2-weeks because they are yet to see results.
A small amount frequently
The key is to commit to a small amount, but do it regularly.
Remember these sayings;
- Small stones build great castles
- How do you eat a whole elephant? One bite at a time
- How do you run a marathon? One step at a time
- How do you read a 1000+ page book? One page at a time
Tips to get good habits
To help you out even more, here are some extra tips to help you on your way of developing good habits and increasing your chances of success.
Tip #1 – Focus on one habit at a time
Don’t try to adopt three new life habits all at one.
It’s too much and you’ll find it difficult to go through such a big change.
Tip #2 – Merge your new habit with something you already do
For example, if I wanted to increase the number of audiobooks I listened to, I’d merge that activity with something I already do on a regular basis, such as walking my dog. Then, listening to an audiobook when I walk my dog just becomes part of my routine and therefore, a new habit.
Tip #3 – Replace bad habits with good habits
If you have any bad habits, rather than going cold-turkey and stopping them altogether, it’s best to replace them with something else.
For example, if I develop a bad habit of eating too many chocolate biscuits with my cup of tea, I could replace that with having a piece of fruit instead. Not only am I cutting out the chocolate biscuits, but I’m also increasing my intake of fruit.
Tip #4 – Don’t worry if you fall off the wagon
If you slip up and miss a day or fail to keep to your new habit, don’t beat yourself up about it. Simply pick up where you left off and carry on.
To wrap things up…
The secret sauce for success can be boiled down to having good habits.
These good habits compound over time and create insane results.
…Or to put it another way, those small stones put in the right place can make one amazing castle!
The best book that I read thus far on this topic is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy and I highly recommend you check it out.
P.S. Another book which I’ve not personally read (yet) is Atomic Habits by James Clear. This book is highly rated and is on my reading list.
- The ONLY Skill You Need to Be Successful
- 3 Books to Increase Success
- Why Successful People Regularly Fail (and Why You Should Too)
- The Keys to Success by Jim Rohn