How did you start your day this morning? Was it similar to how you started your day yesterday? Over the past month? The past year?
While many of the choices we make may feel like the products of well-considered decision making, they are often the result of our habits.
“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” ~John Dryden
Each habit means little on its own but over time, the choices we make with regards to the food we eat, what we say to our kids, what we spend, or save, how we exercise, and how we organize our time have enormous impacts on our health, financial security, happiness and productivity.
If you want to get more done in less time, with more energy, the place to start is with your habits.
Habits Create Results
Grit, willpower, practice, and your natural strengths are not enough to take you to the next level in a world that demands added value, leadership, and the ability to manage competing priorities and complex projects.
To reach the next level of success, you have to consider more than passion and effort. And you will have to go beyond what you like, prefer, or naturally do well.
“In a nutshell, your health, wealth, and success depend on your habits.” ~Joanna Jast
Our brains are always thinking. In a day we can have more than 50,000 thoughts. Many of them are unconscious. They are the result of patterns of thinking that we may have developed over years, or even decades.
If our results are determined by our actions, and our actions are the result of habitual thinking, then it would be in our best interests to make sure that our habitual thinking patterns are still serving us.
If you aren’t getting the results that you want, take a look at your habits.
Habits Are Efficient
Habits are a clever trick that our brains have evolved to make us more efficient. Spontaneity is actually quite depleting. It taps your energy because it requires you to make decisions in the moment.
Over time, the energy required to make all of these decisions adds up and creates a state known as ‘decision fatigue’. This is the situation when, at the end of the day, you’re unable to decide on simple things like what to have for dinner or what to watch on Netflix because you’re too exhausted to make even one more decision.
In order to conserve energy, consider delegating routine decisions to your habitual brain.
This frees up more of your time and energy for value-add activities like planning, creativity, focus, self-care, and enjoyment.
The secret for tapping into your unlimited potential is through managing your habits.
“Zen is not some kind of excitement,
but concentration on our usual everyday routine.” ~Shunryu Suzuk.
This is much easier said than done. It is going to be uncomfortable because it requires persistence, commitment and focus, even in the face of obstacles. As my coach often says, “discomfort is the currency to our dreams”.
However, if we are going to be making the effort anyway, why not optimize these efforts to get the results that we want?
Overcoming the Problem of Motivation
Finally, habits will keep you on the same path whether you feel like it or not.
In fact, habits remove ‘feeling like it’ as an option. Without having to decide whether or not we feel like it, we just go ahead and do it.
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” ~Jim Rohn
And that becomes the foundation of extraordinary success; small actions practiced consistently over time.
Coaching is the best tool I know for changing a habit. What habits are no longer serving you? Learn how to change a habit here.