Change One Thing

“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
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Consistency Is Key

Success comes from doing a few simple things, every day, over time. And failure comes from not doing those simple things, every day, over time. Consistency is key.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” ~ Calvin Coolidge

The Stone Cutter

Imagine you come upon a stone cutter standing before a huge rock. As you watch, he strikes the stone with his hammer. Nothing happens. He strikes again. Nothing. He continues hitting the stone and you begin to count the number of times: 3, 4, 5, 6 . . . 48, 49, 50 . . . 95, 96, 97, 98, 99 . . . Nothing. You can barely see that he has hit the stone at all.

But on the 100th blow, the stone breaks in two. “Wow,” you might think. “That 100th blow must have been tremendous!” But you’d be wrong.

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Turn Behaviors Into Habits – Even If You Lack Self-Control

Motivation is fickle. Willpower is unreliable. Don’t depend on motivation and willpower for changing behaviors. Make the behavior easy to do. Then repeat to make it a habit.

A Lack Of Self Control?

When Melissa[1] came to me for coaching, she identified several goals she wanted to work on. Her most important goal was to get her home office organized. This was the area that was most disruptive to her life and the one causing her the most stress.

Melissa shared that she could get one section of the place organized, say her desk top or the stacks of paper on her bookshelves, but within a few days, everything was chaos again. She wasted a lot of time looking for papers or other items she needed which caused undue stress.

“I guess I just lack the self-control to make myself do what I need to do,” she lamented. “I spend so much time and energy looking for articles I need, that it is impacting my life. It is hampering me from getting important tasks done yet I can’t keep myself motivated to keep things organized.”

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What You Have To Do

Reactive language puts the control outside of you and gives it to someone or something else. Using proactive language puts you in control. You select the consequences you desire, then choose the actions that you believe lead to those consequences.

“Have To” or “Choose To”?

“I have to stay up till I finish this paper,” my daughter said to me. She was in middle school and I had gone in to remind her that it was close to bed time.

“Have to?” I asked. “Or choose to?”

“Oh, I have to finish it,” she replied.

“What happens if you don’t finish it?”

She gave me a look that said, “Can you really be that dumb!?” Out loud, she said, “I’ll get an F on the paper!”

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Rules Of Thumb

A rule of thumb is a type of heuristic that can help you perform desirable behaviors more consistently. Applying rules of thumb can also eliminate some mundane decisions, thereby conserving willpower.

Decision Making Short-Cuts

“Eat a fruit and a vegetable at every meal.”
“Pay yourself first.”
“Fill your gas tank when it reaches 1/2 full.”

These are “rules of thumb” – common sense guidelines that provide guidance in daily situations. They are short-cuts to decision making.

The phrase rule of thumb refers to “a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation. It refers to an easily learned and easily applied procedure or standard, based on practical experience rather than theory.” [Wikipedia]

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Castaway

To reach any BIG goal, you must grow to the person who can achieve it. You grow by taking one small action after another. In this way you prepare for the opportunity when it appears.

Do you remember the movie, Cast Away, where Tom Hanks is stranded for several years on an island in the South Pacific? In the movie, Hanks is a time-obsessed trouble shooter for FedEx. At a Christmas dinner with family, he is called to resolve a problem in one of their foreign offices and leaves the dinner to catch a flight on a FedEx plane.

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Make Success A Habit

“When we try to change our behavior, we strategize about our motivation and self-control. But what we should be thinking about instead is how to set up new habits. Habits persist even when we’re tired and don’t have the energy to exert self-control.” ~ Wendy Wood [Life: Wellness]

The Parable Of The Threads

A father gave his young child a thread and directed her to break it. This she did easily.

The next day, the father wound two threads together and asked the child to break the pair. Again, she easily broke them. Continue reading “Make Success A Habit”