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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 April 22, 2021

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

Motivation Is Not the Answer

How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

1. Define What a Win Looks Like

In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

4 Steps to Define a Win
  • Know the outcome you desire.
  • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
  • Write the outcome down.
  • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

2. Evaluate Your Activity

Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

  • Do now
  • Plan to do it later
  • Delegate to someone else
  • Delete it

Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

  • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
  • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
  • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
  • Does this activity have to be done at all?

Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

3. Prioritize Your Calendar

If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

    But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

    “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

    Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

    Use these questions to reflect on your day:

    • What went well?
    • What didn’t go well?
    • What can I change?
    • What do I need to start doing?
    • What do I need to stop doing?

    The Bottom Line

    Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

    Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

    “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

    Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

    That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

    More on Creating Healthy Routines

    Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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