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6 Steps On How To Build Success Habits In 2017

6 Steps On How To Build Success Habits In 2017

“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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Shawn Lim

Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Motivation Expert

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

There is a great deal of advice in the world telling us how to succeed in life, but often we are given advice that isn’t tailored to our needs, desires and priorities. Success means different things to each of us, and living a life that feels genuinely successful to me might be very different to your idea of a successful life.

Naturally, when we follow the advice of someone else, which is tailored to their life goals and personality, we can end up with something that doesn’t deliver on the promise. We don’t get rewarded with our vision of success: we get theirs.

This is why I’m a proponent of self-discovery, introspection and personal sovereignty. So how to succeed on your own terms?

These 7 essential steps are not going to tell you exactly what to do, but they will provide you with the tools and the questions to ask so that you can discover your own path, so you know how to succeed in life on your own terms.

1. Know Thyself

One of Socrates’ most well-known quotes is,

An unexamined life is not worth living.

I argue that an unexamined life is not a successful one. Self-knowledge is something we could dedicate our lives to, but I’m not suggesting you sit around and navel-gaze in order to find happiness and meaning.

Thankfully, there are people who have created techniques and systems that less us fast-forward through a lot of personal philosophizing, and quickly identify some key aspects of what makes us, us.

You might want to find out what your ideal daily schedule is,[1] and you can take tests that reveal just that. Or you might want to figure out what you need to get things done – and yes, there’s a quiz for that too.

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None of these tests are infallible, and some are more scientific than others, but the process of asking yourself questions about your behaviors and traits is invaluable when it comes to determining your path to succeed in life.

For example, if you know you are an introvert and are unhappy in your current workplace, it might be worth considering why that is (an open plan office space perhaps) and what you would prefer.

It’s these little questions that will provoke answers in you that can guide the decisions that truly improve your life now and in the future.

2. Figure out What Matters to You

What lights you up? This is a question that often gets forgotten as we age. A fortunate child will be given the stimulation they desire in the form of bright toys, affection and entertainment. Little by little, the things that bring a child joy get replaced by what society demands on their behalf.

When we return to that question, and ask ourselves what really matters and what brings us joy, we can move closer towards a successful life. It can help to think back to your childhood, and the times in your life when you were in what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a flow state.[2]

In a state of flow, time slows and our focus is directed like a laser. We are fully present.

Whilst not everything in life that matters to you will conjure up a flow state, it’s a good indication of the kind of activities and experiences you can try to incorporate into your life on a regular basis.

A successful life is made up of moments like this, and when you know what matters to you and brings you a sense of joy and purpose, you can go about creating more of that.

3. Play to Your Strengths

Why spend your time only on mitigating your weaknesses, only to feel average? Instead, playing to your strengths and amplifying those skills and qualities you already have will help you go from average to extraordinary.

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If you’re great at big picture thinking and love dreaming up new ideas, but often lack attention to detail, acknowledge that. Then instead of trying to improve your analytical skills, focus instead on developing your existing skills of imagination and insight. When you need someone with a keen eye for detail, you can collaborate with those people.

Jackson Pollock was an extreme introvert, with no real desire to get his artwork in front of people. Fortunately, he had Clement Greenberg, who was much further towards the extrovert end of the spectrum, to popularize his work and get Pollock the publicity he needed.[3]

Start by identifying your strengths and what comes naturally to you. Then work on developing those and becoming known for those strengths. You can always find someone who will help you in fill in the gaps.

4. Listen to Yourself

It isn’t always clear to us that we’re on a path that leads us to failure or to success. People can spends decades in a job that is unfulfilling and slowly breaking their spirit, without even realizing it – until it’s too late. This is usually because they haven’t learned how to truly listen to themselves.

The challenge we face is that we’re listening to so many other sources of information; whether it’s the news, television, social media, family, friends or colleagues. Many may want to help, but that doesn’t mean they know what’s best for us. Only you know what success means for you, and working this out begins with listening to yourself.

Listening to yourself requires practice. It’s a daily effort, which over time, does get easier. That inner voice of wisdom will get clearer, and the decisions you make will feel more convincing.

To start, you could try to set aside 10 to 15 minutes when you first wake up, in silence. Rather than look at your phone, checking emails or social media, simply sit in silence, listening.

Ask yourself a simple question like, what am I feeling right now, in this moment? Notice the answer that bubbles up, without getting lost in the story. Starting an inner dialogue, without judgment is one of the key tools you can use to start making better decisions in your life.

Learn more about listening to your true self in this guide: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment

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5. Listen to Others (But Not Everyone)

Listening to yourself is one thing, but listening to others is crucial in order to learn, empathize and be of benefit to your community.

Truly listening to others is not just waiting patiently until it’s your turn to speak. Active listening requires focused attention, and the intention to understand where the other person is coming from.

When you do this, you can ask better questions and discover more about the world and everyone in it, as well as learn how to interact with others in order to succeed in life on your own terms.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to listen to everyone you come across. Trolls on the internet may come into the category of people not to listen to. Some people’s opinions will do more harm than good, as not everyone has your best interest in mind.

It’s worth identifying a shortlist of people whose opinions you will listen to. Brené Brown, author of the New York Times best-seller Daring Greatly, recommends taking a 1-inch x 1-inch square of paper and make a list of people whose opinions matter to you. These are the people who love you and will genuinely support and help you. According to Brown,

“If you need more paper, you need to edit.”

6. Make Time for Reflection

It’s easy to go through life without taking inventory of what you’re actually accomplishing. Missing this crucial step means we end up jumping from one goal to the next, without feeling like we’re getting anywhere.

Make time, ideally each day to reflect. You might keep a paper journal, or an online document. Either way, jot down:

  • What went well today
  • Something you’re grateful for
  • What would make tomorrow even better

Doing this can have measurable benefits to our overall sense of well-being, as well as keeping us focused for more success in the future.[4]

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It also helps combat feelings of lack and doubt, that arise when we compare ourselves to others. When we look at someone who appears to be more successful than us in an area of life, we can forget how far we’ve come and how much we have to be grateful for.

Making time to reflect on what you have accomplished is critical to keep you on track, and just not looking at what others are doing.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind

Arguably the most important step of all:

Remember that there’s nothing wrong in changing your mind and correcting course.

The path to a successful life is not straight and narrow. It meanders and there’s no harm in going back and picking a different (and better) route.

“I think our life is a journey, and we make mistakes, and it’s how we learn from those mistakes and rebound from those mistakes that sets us on the path that we’re meant to be on.” — Jay Ellis

Be willing to make mistakes, learn from them and change your mind. Ultimately, there’s no better way to succeed in life on your own terms.

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Featured photo credit: Shirly Niv Marton via unsplash.com

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