Developing the Habits that Will Take You to the Top
Excerpts from In Search of Higher Ground:
The ability to create the right working habits may be the single most important tool you will need. As I have discovered for myself in my personal journey, the right working habits will eventually produce the results I have been seeking. John Mason in his book, “Know Your Limits then Ignore Them” writes, “People spend half their time telling you what they are going to do and the other half making excuses why they didn’t do it.”1 I couldn’t agree with that more! But if I may be so bold to add to John’s statement by saying, “One of the reasons people don’t complete what they say they are going to do is that they have not developed the necessary habits to get it done.” They set out with good intentions to accomplish a certain task or obtain a heart felt dream, but they don’t develop the habits necessary to see those dreams become reality.
Not setting yourself up with the right habits is as foolish as a fitness expert not developing the habit of eating right. Or a boxer setting out to win the championship, but not developing the work habits that will get him there. Maybe your Higher Ground includes buying a house, early retirement, changing careers, starting a business, learning a second language or a new instrument, becoming a leader or founding an organization. Whatever worthwhile dream you possess, it will require you to develop the right habits. Ignoring this principle will set you up for failure every time.
FACTS ABOUT HABITS
TRUTH 1 Good Habits are hard to make
Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution to begin eating right or exercising daily, only to find yourself right back where you started in under a month? I was speaking to a friend of mine who oversees several fitness centers and I could not believe how many people he told me were members at each fitness center. I asked him, “Why do you sign up so many people? There is no way they could all fit in here if they all came at the same time.” He said, “We are counting on the majority of them not following through with their commitment to begin working out.” I thought to myself, isn’t that amazing, that the success of this fitness center is dependent on the average American’s inability to follow through.
Good Habits are a lot like a stamp. They are only good when they stick to something. Good Habits are good, but their value and their worth comes in the ability to stick with it. That is why so many people start off with the right idea, but can’t finish the job. Because Good Habits are hard to make. If they were easy, everyone would be doing them. People that are dream builders…people like you, must be willing to take the time and effort to instill into their lives the “Good Habits.”
TRUTH 2 Bad Habits are hard to break
Not only are Bad Habits hard to break, they also seem a lot easier to make than Good Habits. Simple things, like biting your nails, become a habit that is difficult to break. But there are other habits that become part of our lives that cost us a lot more than biting your nails. These Bad Habits steal from our dreams, time, and finances. Horace Mann once said, “Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it every day and at last we cannot break it.” These Bad Habits include:
- WATCHING TOO MUCH T.V.
…and the list goes on.
The price to break these habits are high, but not nearly as high as the price we pay to keep them. You always pay a price for staying the same! Bad Habits are hard to break, but they must be broken for anyone who wants to climb the path to Higher Ground.
TRUTH 3 The Right Habits separate
There is nothing that separates successful people from unsuccessful people more than this one word, “Habits.” I have found that the difference is that successful people are simply willing to develop the habits that unsuccessful people are unwilling to develop. One of the greatest, if not the greatest basketball legend of all times, is Michael Jordan. He is an incredible athlete, an outstanding competitor, a leader, and team player. It has been said that Michael Jordan made it a “habit” that, when everyone else was through practicing, he would stay around and spend an hour or more practicing free throws. It was this habit that assisted him in becoming a legend. That’s what the Right Habits do, they separate the good from the great, the ordinary from the extraordinary.
SEEK AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
What is accountability? Accountability is being responsible to finish what you said you would do. If you open up a charge account or if you take out a loan, you are “accountable” for that loan or that charge account. Whatever payment is due, you are the one who is responsible. Your accountability partner in this case is the bank. They will be the one to hold you accountable to finish what you said you would do. That’s accountability and that’s what an accountability partner does, they hold you to your word.
If you are going to be committed to creating the Right Habits in your life, the ones that are going to lead you to Higher Ground, you will need to find yourself an accountability partner. Someone you trust, who wants the best for your life and who will take the time and effort to keep you accountable for what you said you would do. Accountability partners don’t just happen. They don’t knock on your door one day and say, “Hey, I would like to hold you accountable.” You must seek them out and approach them or you
ELIMINATE TIME WASTERS
Take a moment to figure out what things in your life waste your time and keep you from doing the habits necessary for success. Keep in mind that Time-Wasters are not always bad, they just might not be what’s best for your life. Sometimes you have to choose between what is good and what is best!
What are the Time-Wasters in your life? Could be as simple as T.V. or searching the Internet. Maybe it’s activities in your life or involvement in a variety of programs or community events. Again, the Time-Wasters are not always bad, but they are the things that keep you from spending time on the habits necessary for your growth.
DO AT LEAST ONE THING A DAY YOU DON’T WANT TO DO
There are so many things in our daily routines that we know we need to do but we keep putting off. Making a phone call to someone we don’t want to, working on a project that needs to get done, but is not something we enjoy, or maybe facing a confrontation that is inevitable, but we continue to wait just one more day. There are several things we don’t like to do, so we simply put them off. Phone calls don’t get made, meetings go unscheduled, paperwork piles up, and “to do” items simply get transferred to the next day. There are things that help us succeed, that cause us to do our jobs better and even create growth in our personal lives, but we put these things off and say, “I’ll take care of that ‘one of these days.’” As you well know, ‘one of these days’ is none of these days. I read once, “Today is the tomorrow that you said yesterday you would get it done.”
MAKE SUCCESS A HABIT
My final challenge to you in this pursuit of developing Right Habits is to make “success” a regular habit in your life. There is something extraordinary when you can begin to put wins underneath your belt. I have a picture that hangs in my office that says, “Nothing succeeds like success.” That’s true! If you want to be successful, discover the power in making success a habit. For you it may be completing certain projects by the end of the month or reaching a financial goal by the end of the year. It may mean getting started on something you’ve said you were going to start but still haven’t. If you can do these things and do them with excellence, you will begin to gain a confidence that comes from making success a habit.
As I said in the beginning of this chapter, habits may possibly be the most important tool for your success. You may not notice the difference right away, but eventually you will. Developing the Right Habits will ultimately lead you to achieve all your dreams and goals. The Right Habits have proven to be the deciding difference between first and second, Gold and Silver, success and failure. Change your habits from what is good to what is best, from what hinders you, to what helps you, and ultimately you will find yourself at a level you once thought impossible!
Until next time,
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, in not an act, but a habit.”
Posted on June 22, 2010, in choices, Habits, Leadership, Personal Growth and tagged choices, Effective Leader, Habits, Leadership, motivation, Personal Growth, Unlock Potential. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.