“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Your habit is one of the most important keys that will define your success. If you adopted empowering habits, you will move your life closer towards your goals and your dreams. If you adopted lousy habits like watching excessive TV or being lazy in general, you will waste your life and get nothing done. 2017 is just around the corner. If you reflect back on 2016, what have you accomplished? Did you achieve your goals?
If 2016 has been a fruitful year for you, great, let’s continue to move on and create even more success in 2017. If 2016 was not a good year for you, it is time to learn from the mistakes you made and look forward to 2017. It is time to reboot and focus on the future.
It all starts with your habits. You can make 2017 your best year by adopting empowering habits that will move you toward your goals. If you can make it a habit to consistently take action each day, you can produce outstanding results in 2017.
So how can you do that? Let’s get started and build the habits towards success you want into your life right now to ensure a 2017 full of accomplishments and abundance.
1. Identify The Empowering Habit You Want To Adopt
First, you must identify the habits you want to adopt. Trying to develop 10 new and different habits at the same time will just make all your effort go to waste. Focus on just one habit that you want to develop. You can always add more habits in the months that follow, preferably after you’ve mastered one habit.
For now, identify one habit that you want to build and write it down. For example, the habits you want to nurture in 2017 can include: waking up at 5 am each morning, working out in the gym every day, reading a book 30 minutes a day, or writing a 1,000-word article each day. From the five, you might decide to choose waking up at 5 am as your first habit. Whatever it is, make sure it is something you can commit to performing every day.
2. Incorporate The Habit With A Schedule
Once you have identified your habits, create a schedule for it. This step is extremely important because whether you succeed in adopting your habit or not depends on your commitment to spending time towards your goal. It is your schedule that will force you to develop the new habit.
If the habit you want to build in 2017 is to read for 30 minutes each day, what time would you like to read each day? Likewise, if you want to make it a habit to workout in the gym each day, what time do you want that to happen and for how long?
For instance, you can choose to hit the gym at 6 am each morning and workout for an hour. This will be the time you set aside for this goal and you will dedicate yourself to working out every day whether you feel like it or not. You just do it.
Success is not going to be easy and it is going to take hard work before you can achieve the things you want in life.
Are you willing to pay the price?
3. Creating A Trigger Through Habit Stacking
Once you have identified your habit and created your schedule, use the habit-stacking method to create the trigger. Habit-stacking is simple to do. You just need to insert your new habit before/after an old habit. Your old habit will then act as the trigger for you to perform the new habit.
For example, if your new habit is to read for 30 minutes every night before you sleep, here’s what you can do:
- “After I brush my teeth, I will read a book for 30 minutes.”
- “Before I change to my pajamas, I will read for 30 minutes.”
- “Before I switch off my room’s light, I will read for 30 minutes.”
- “After I turn off my computer and TV, I will read for 30 minutes.”
Each day, I go through my morning ritual without fail. After I get up and wash myself up, I will get to the kitchen, drink a cup of water. After that, I will do some quick stretching and jump around. After that, I will sit down and write down my goals and affirmations. And after that, I will pick up a book and read for 30 minutes.
I have been doing this every day without fail. My day started with drinking a cup of water. Drinking the water is the trigger before I do some stretching. And the stretching is the trigger before I write my goals. The event happens one after another like a chain reaction. This is how you build habits.
4. What Is Your Reward?
At first, people do something because there is a reward for them and through that cycle, a habit usually develops. What is the reward that you get after working out in the gym? How would you reward yourself after you have invested your time with reading for 30 minutes each day? If you want to develop a habit, you must include the reward as well.
For example, after you have written a 1,000-word article, get yourself a snack, or allow yourself to take a five minute rest or give yourself permission to check Facebook. My reward for writing articles is getting myself a cup of coffee because I love coffee. Create something so that your mind will look forward to it after completing your habit.
Rewards can be very powerful in getting people to get in the habit of taking action. Hence, for your everyday habit, create smaller rewards for yourself. Maybe after a while, several smaller rewards can be substituted for a larger reward like a night out for drinks with friends or a monthly trip to the movies or spa.
5. Implementing The “Jerry Seinfeld” Technique
What is the first thing you do if you want to lose weight? You weigh yourself. Measurement is important because, without it, you can never tell if you are making progress, moving forward or moving backward. And here’s a very easy technique you can use to measure your newly-adopted habit. You use the Jerry Seinfeld technique.
Get yourself a calendar and every day after you have successfully performed the new habit, draw a big red “X” on the date on the calendar. Your mission is to continue drawing the big red “X” without breaking the chain. Every time you have done the 30 minutes of reading, put a big “X” on your calendar, implying that you have done the work. Every day after you have written 1,000 words article, draw an “X” on your calendar.
The longer the “X” chain, the better. Whenever you look at your calendar, you know you are making progress, you know you are creating results, and it is satisfying. This is how the Seinfeld technique works.
It is a very easy and simple technique to measure your performance, and it is also a very powerful method to make sure you do the work.
6. Creating Success Through Good Habit Development
So where do you go from here? Well, go for more. Try to limit your focus on building one good habit a month and nothing more. The more you are trying to do, the less you will accomplish. And more is not always merrier. It is better to have one completed project than to have ten half-baked projects at hand.
If you follow this method, you will have developed 12 habits in a year. Can you imagine how these 12 success habits will impact your life?
Successful people become the master in what they do because they improve on the fundamentals. They focus and they practice doing the mastering the fundamentals each day. Average people, on the other hand, fail to see the importance of fundamentals. They keep looking for the next great idea or the new fad.
This is why people who practice daily goal-setting have a higher chance of reaching their goals. Goal-setting is not something that you do once and then forget about it, it is something you should do every day.
If you want to be successful, this is where you should start. You start with mastering the fundamentals and that means, building the success habits.