“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” – Estee Lauder
We all like this word; we all use this word; and it’s pleasant to hear and read.
Did you also know that it’s one of the most googled words?
But what does it mean?
Success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, and it can also be considered the attainment of fame or wealth.
We all want to accomplish our goals, we all want to attain wealth and many of us dream of attaining fame. But what keeps us from it? What blocks our path to success? And most importantly, what is the secret key to success?
The Big Mistakes
“I definitely would never go back to my 20s. The best is yet to come.”- Celine Dion
Sometimes it happens that, after months or years of efforts and work, we give up- just because we can’t see results.
We feel discouraged, because we compare our present to our past and we make the common mistake of believing that we cannot achieve the same success that we previously achieved, maybe because then we were younger, smarter, or luckier. Not only is this a common mistake, but also a colossal and naive one.
Now, after years of work and achievements, we have more experience, and as a result, more tools to help us to successfully reach our goals. Because of this, thinking that the best has come already is a limiting belief, something we are convinced of that hampers our ability to seize opportunities to succeed again and again in life.
Another very common mistake is deciding to give up when success is right around the corner, because we are exhausted. In doing so, we lose all we were about to achieve. It’s like digging a hole for hours to find treasure, and giving up just two or three inches before reaching it, because we are impatient and believed we would not find it there.
Remember that real success takes time, and sometimes it includes feelings of failure as well.
This is why I want you to understand that the key to success is tenacity, because you can accomplish whatever you want, if you are committed to your goal.Advertising
“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan
If you believe that the best things in your life are in your past, and that happiness and success will never come back, you are sabotaging your present and unavoidably your future.
You have to be careful with this kind of mental behavior because it may prevent you from succeeding in many areas of your life, such as relationships and career- and it may be the cause of low self-esteem and poor life satisfaction.
Never give up just because you don’t see any immediate results; if you make this mistake, you will regret it in the future.
What Can I Do?
Some Practical Tips
To prevent such a mechanism impairing your life, you must convince yourself that the best has yet to come and that you can still accomplish a lot in your life.
In other words, in order to stop these self-sabotaging thought patterns, you have to follow some very simple steps.
First of all, what you need to do is take a piece of paper and divide it into two parts. Second, write down the negative beliefs that you think are obstructing your success in the first section.
Then, in the other section, identify the things that you want and can achieve- the things that would make you the happiest person on earth.
Then, use the power of the dreams that you want to realize, to prove to yourself that your limiting beliefs are affecting your life, and start working hard to reach your goals.
Believe that the best has yet to come, learn to be patient, and succeeding will be easier.
This way you will feel more satisfied, and the most interesting thing is that you will find yourself working even harder for your success.Advertising
“Man learns through experience, and the spiritual path is full of different kinds of experiences. He will encounter many difficulties and obstacles, and they are the very experiences he needs to encourage and complete the cleansing process.” – Sai Baba
Successful People You Should Emulate
“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.” – Louis Pasteur
Did you know that a man called Henry Ford failed five times before founding Ford Motor Company? Yes, you read correctly, he failed five times, but he was determined and believed that he could succeed, so he tried again.
Have you ever heard of an engineer who had an unsuccessful job interview with Toyota, and started his own business? His name was Soichiro Honda, and he was the creator of the billion-dollar business, Honda.
Did you know that before he became famous, Walt Disney was working for a newspaper and lost his job because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”?
Also, many years ago, a secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it. The person who was trying to sell this recipe was Colonel Sanders, the creator of KFC.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney
What do those people have in common?
Well, the answer is very simple: they didn’t let anything discourage them, and they persisted in what they were doing.
They knew pretty well what the key to success was. They knew that real success needs time, and sacrifice, and it doesn’t come overnight.
Those people kept believing that the best was yet to come.
“I’m excited about what the future will bring and I think the best is yet to come.” – Alonzo Mourning
Image: Anthony QuintanoAdvertising
Featured photo credit: Paul Bica via flickr.com
Last Updated on March 21, 2019
11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits
Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:
You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”
But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:
To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.
It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,
“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”
The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.
In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.
Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?
1. Start Small
The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.
Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.
Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.
Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.
Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.
Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.
It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.
Do less today to do more in a year.
2. Stay Small
There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.
But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.
If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.
When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.
I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.
Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.
The same thing applies to every other habit out there.
Pick a (small) number and stay at it.
3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence
No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.
There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.
What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.
Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.
This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.
This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.
4. Those Who Track It, Hack It
When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.
Peter Drucker said,
“What you track is what you do.”
So track it to do it — it really helps.
But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.
5. Measure Once, Do Twice
Peter Drucker also said,
“What you measure is what you improve.”
So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:
For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.
Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.
6. All Days Make a Difference
Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.
Will two? They won’t.
Will three? They won’t.
Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.
What happened? Which one made you fit?
The answer to this (Sorites paradox) is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.
No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).
7. They Are Never Fully Automated
Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.
But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.
What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.
It will just become a part of your lifestyle.
The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.
It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.
It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.
8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.
Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.
When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.
The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.
Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.
9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It
The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.
Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.
You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”
But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.
So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.
If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.
This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect and why process-oriented people don’t.
The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.
Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.
10. Punish Yourself
Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.
I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.
It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.
You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.
No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.
The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.
But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.
11. Reward Yourself
When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.
Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.
The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.
After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.
If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.
Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.
If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.
In the End, It Matters
What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.
When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.
And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:
“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”
More Resources to Help You Build Habits
- How to Break a Bad Habit and Retrain Your Brain
- Understand Your Habits to Control Them 100%
- How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop
- How to Break Bad Habits (The Only Effective Way)
Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com
|||^||Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox|
|||^||Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?|
|||^||Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit|
|||^||Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes|