Successful people aren’t always the most brilliant. Successful people have learned the power of positive habits.
Habits can either hold us down or hold us up. Successful people have learned the secrets of the Habit Master. They have learned to harness habits that work in their favor, habits that move them toward higher levels of achievement and happiness.
Once again, I am reminded of oyster glue. It is thought to be the strongest glue in the world. Oysters can stick to the rocks even in the most tempestuous ocean storms. Nothing can pry them from their lodging, not wind, changing tides or even rip currents pulling with tremendous force.
At the deepest part of us we know that bad habits keep us stuck like oyster glue. But good habits keep us stuck like glue too. The difference is where those habits take us.
Good habits keep us on a positive path ever moving toward a higher level of success, satisfaction and happiness. Here’s the first secret of becoming a habit master; don’t go after the biggest apple on the tree. Pick the lowest hanging fruit, the easiest thing you can do now to move forward on your path. Start with something very easy!
Many years ago I wanted to develop a morning ritual of meditation and affirmations. I knew 3 things at the time:
- I knew that I needed to be gentle with myself because my inner child would rebel if I wasn’t.
- I knew that it had to be a short morning ritual given that I had never done anything at all.
- I knew that the little kid in me would rebel if I didn’t give myself a break.
I decided to do 7 minutes of silence and prayer in the morning. I picked 7 minutes because it pushed me past 5 and didn’t stretch me to 10 when I wasn’t ready to go there. So I set my timer daily except for weekends. I took weekends off to honor my inner child who didn’t want to be chained to a ritual every single day.
This habit has served me greatly over the years. Over a 15 year time frame it naturally increased from 7 minutes to 45 and then settled back to about 20.
Here is the Habit Master’s formula for success:
- Know thyself! These words written thousands of years ago on the temple of Delphi, still hold true. Know your strengths and weakness and don’t brutalize your inner child!
- Pick the easiest habit that will help you and start with that one. I call it a ‘winnable’. Choose something that will give you the easiest win.
- Reflect on the benefits this new habit will provide.
- Visualize yourself doing the thing you want to do or being the person you want to be.
- Set a target. (Mine was 7 minutes a day)
- Give yourself some slack. (mine was weekends off)
- Begin the process and tick it off on your calendar so you can visually see your progress over time.
- If you miss a day, don’t let yourself get discouraged. Breathe deeply and cancel that thought. Then start again the next day.