As I’ve said countless times before, “Success leaves clues.” This means that if you want to be successful, then you simply have to look at what successful people have done before you. All successful people have successful habits – habits that they have created and refined over time because they helped them to reach their goals.
Learning how to develop a habit can be as simple as observing others who are already successful. Study successful people, and then ask yourself which of their habits would help you to reach YOUR goals.
Once you have that list, then it’s time to actively work on building those habits and making them a consistent part of your daily life.
Now what I’m about to tell you is a step-by-step method to help you create better habits.
It works because it’s simple. You don’t need complicated strategies. This template can be applied to any area of your life: business or personal. If applied consistently, it will help you achieve everything you want.
Learning how to develop a habit involves three fundamental steps:
1) Clearly Identify Your Bad or Unproductive Habits
It’s important that you really think about the future consequences of your bad habits.
These may not show up tomorrow, next week, or next month. The real impact could be years away. And when you look at your unproductive behavior one day at a time, it may not look so bad. The smoker says, “What’s a few cigarettes today? It helps me relax. I’m not wheezing and coughing.” However, the days accumulate and twenty years later in the doctor’s office, the X-rays are conclusive.
Consider this: If you smoke ten cigarettes a day for twenty years, that’s 73,000 cigarettes. Do you think 73,000 cigarettes could have an impact on your lungs? Of course!
In fact, the consequences can be deadly. So, when you examine your own bad habits, consider the long-term implications. Be totally honest with yourself. Your life may be at stake.
2) Define Your New, Successful Habits
Usually, this is just the opposite of your bad habits.
In the smoker’s example, it would be, “Stop smoking.”
When defining your new habit, what are you actually going to do? To motivate yourself, think about all the benefits and rewards of adopting your new successful habit. This helps you create a clear picture of what this new habit will do for you. The more vividly you describe the benefits, the more likely you are to take action.
3) Create an Action Plan
This is where the rubber meets the road.
In the smoking example there are several options:
- Read how-to-stop-smoking literature.
- Start hypnosis therapy.
- Substitute something else when the desire for a cigarette arises.
- Place a bet with a friend to keep you accountable.
- Start a fresh air exercise program.
- Use a nicotine patch treatment.
- Stay away from other smokers.
The important thing is to make a decision about which specific actions you are going to implement and then you must take action.
Start with just one habit that you really want to change in any area of your life. Focus on your three immediate action steps and put them into practice.
Now, here’s your homework.
Write down one unproductive habit you’d like to change, as well as the new one you’d like to create. Then, create your 3-step action plan, in writing, of how you’re going to take action to create this new habit. Give yourself a check-in date of when you’ll assess your progress to see how far you’ve come on creating this habit.
To hold yourself accountable, leave a comment below with the bad habit you’re going to change and the one you’re going to replace it with.
As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and Jack speaks around the world on this subject. Check out his newest book The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home. Follow Jack at www.jackcanfield.com and sign up for his free resources today!
Image courtesy of Kristian Seedorff.