“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. That means developing great habits. Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments, and that bridge must be crossed every day. Over time that daily crossing becomes a habit. And ultimately, people do not decide their future; they decide their habits and their habits decide their future.”John C. Maxwell – The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth
Take a look around you . . . at your environment, your surroundings, at your job or career, at your relationships, at your health, at the things you do for fun, at the things you do to nurture your spirit. Take a look around . . . at your life. What do you have? What do you do? Who are you?
Take a look around you . . . you have created this life of yours. Excellent health, good health, poor health? You’ve created it. Feelings of wealth and abundance or feelings of poverty and lack? You’ve created it. Warm, vibrant, nurturing relationships or loneliness and isolation? You’ve created that, too. Your life today is the sum total of your thoughts and actions up to this point.
It has been said (many, many times by many, many people) that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I think there are more accurate definitions of insanity but I agree that it is pretty foolish to expect anything to change if you continue to do the same things you’re doing. If your survey of your life turned up some areas you want to improve, you must change. And you can start by changing one thing that you do every day.
Ten Daily Habits
Begin with one daily habit. Make it something that is good for you and makes you feel good about yourself. Start small – so small that it is practically impossible not to perform the step. And once you start, do it EVERY DAY until it becomes second nature.
Once it is a habitual practice, add another daily habit. Continue adding small habits until you have 10 new daily habits that bring you joy and peace.
Some people are so caught up in what they should do or ought to do, that they find it hard to come up with 10 pleasurable things to begin doing. The idea is not to think up things you think you should do (“I should eat more vegetables”), but to come up with 10 things you love to do. Discipline improves with practice so you want to make it easy and pleasurable to practice your new habits.
Follow A Ritual
Sometimes it helps to have a ritual – a set series of activities you perform to start an action you want to make a habit of. Think about some daily habits you already have – brushing your teeth, taking a shower, getting ready for bed, or getting dressed for work each day. You likely have a set pattern that you do to begin the activity. A ritual helps “burn in” the habit by helping you perform the actions that will become habitual without having to think about them too much.
Perhaps you can use implementation intentions to tie the performance of the action to an external stimulus in your environment.
For example, when you put on your pajamas, you floss and brush your teeth. When the alarm goes off, you get up – no pressing the snooze button. Hang your gym clothes where you’ll see them 1st thing in the morning (or sleep in them) to make it easier to start your exercise program.
Your Action Plan
Let’s get started right now.
What is the #1 thing you need to START doing that, if you do it daily, will have the most positive impact on your life? Remember, make it a small step that is so easy, it is nearly impossible not to do it.
Got it? Good! Write it down.
Or think about it this way. What is the #1 thing you need to STOP doing that, as you completely eliminate it, will have the most positive impact on your life? The easiest way to beat a harmful habit is to replace it with a positive habit. What can you do to replace the habit you want to stop with a positive habit? OK — write that down.
Change One Thing
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.” You can’t make changes you want to make without using self-discipline to help yourself get into new habits of behavior. The good news is that you can increase your ability to select and perform the actions you must take to reach a new goal or objective.
Change one thing. Select some small activity and perform it consistently until it becomes a habit. Then select another, then another. In this way, your self-discipline grows and you are able to perform bigger acts consistently. That is how you build the habit of discipline. That is how you change your life. And it’s the way you begin to embrace your Excelerated Life™!
Excelerated Self-discipline™ — doing what you say you will do — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being, and a life of meaning, purpose, and service.