The habits you choose for yourself can either hold you back or propel you to new levels of excellence. They are the lifeline of your life. While few bad habits can literally kill people, many bad habits derail our efforts and result in unfulfilled lives.
I want you to become one of the people who develops good habits that create a positive impact in your life. The best part about developing new (positive) habits is that it doesn’t take much time to turn new activities into habits.
According to science, it takes about 66 days for any activity to turn into a habit (about two months). To some people, 66 days may seem like a lot, but for most people, 66 days is about 0.0025% of our lives (assuming a life expectancy of 71 years).
In such a minuscule amount of time, you can turn ANY activity you desire into a habit. However, as we move forward with our lives, it becomes more difficult for us to find that minuscule amount of time within our lives. Different tasks take up our time and we find little to none of our time left to hone in on another habit.
Not only can we create additional time to master new habits, but we can also change our lives by changing the habits we use to guide us. Here’s how:
Identify What You Want To Eliminate
Before you consider mastering a new habit, assess all of your current habits. Which habits are bringing you down? Which habits are preventing you from being your best?
Those are the time sucking activities that you must address before doing anything else. The biggest habit that obstructed my success was constantly playing video games. As much as I enjoyed them, they constantly took me away from my work. I got great at certain video games but my business was at a standstill.
I eliminated my habit of playing video games, and that extra time allowed me to move my business forward at a faster pace. All of a sudden, I was accomplishing bigger goals and giving myself a more grand vision.
Have A Replacement
If I had given up video games to watch more TV, I didn’t really get closer to living a more fulfilled life.
I gave up video games with the intention of playing the piano. This replacement made it easier for me to give up on video games. However, there was an unintended consequence with this decision.
Anytime I couldn’t play the piano, I found myself surfing YouTube far too often. I can’t always play at home since I like to play in the evening or later (see what I mean).
To combat this problem, I have decided to play earlier in the day. Having a replacement isn’t just a matter of deciding which habit will replace your bad habit. You must also become specific about when you’ll implement this replacement habit.
I set up my college schedule so I can easily play the piano on campus in the middle of the day.
When I got back to playing the piano (this was my first time playing in about eight years), I didn’t play for several hours. I played an easy song three times. That was it. Since then, I’ve learned how to play songs like Dancing Queen, Skyfall, Blank Space, and others.
With an undisturbed schedule, I can play the piano for hours upon hours without end. I continued practicing every day and got really good at playing the piano. There’s still much for me to learn, but I made a big leap since the day I started it up again.
Remove The Barriers
If you strive to master a habit but find yourself surrounded by barriers, you’re not going to master that habit. Playing the piano in the evening gave me a small window of opportunity, and as school work piled on, I began to miss that opportunity more often.
That’s just about the time I started to surf YouTube videos for about an hour just before going to bed (I know, terrible on my part).
Playing the piano on campus allowed me to stop surfing YouTube. The moment you put barriers around your positive habits, the easier it will become for bad habits to slip into your life unnoticed until they strike with a heavy blow to your time, money, and relationships.
Taking the path of least resistance will give you more time to focus on your positive habits which will give you less time to focus towards your negative habits.
Track Your Progress
To ensure your habits become a strong part of your life, you must track them every day. By continuously tracking your habits, you’ll soon feel the pain of not sticking with a habit and the joy of accomplishing your goal.
I have a habit of making at least 5 videos per day. Every time I accomplish this goal, I write it down in a notebook and feel happy. Every time I don’t make a single video, I write the dreaded “0 videos” which gives me more motivation to make five videos tomorrow.
Keeping that notebook with you at all times will keep you accountable to every action that you take today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life. This is such a powerful exercise that makes you more aware of the habits that doom you and the habits that are helping you shine.
The habits you choose for your life will either make or break you. Any bad habit can get removed from your life as long as you have a positive habit that will replace it.
Remember that the 0.0025% of your time that you commit towards developing a new habit can dramatically change the remaining 99.9975% of your life. Every action you take to develop better habits is moving you in the right direction.
What habits do you live by? Have any tips for habit formation? Sound off in the comments section below.