January 13, 2023

Habits are what drive us. They are the reason we do things the way we do for pretty much anything in our lives. As one of the building blocks for how we live they can be a great force to drive us toward success or a significant road block holding us back. How, then, do we harness the power of our habits to help us improve our performance and achieve our greatest success.

The simple answer, build powerful positive habits. Surprisingly, these habits start small. They are the way you present yourself when you walk into a room, laying out your clothes the night before or even making a plan when you normally would not. These small changes can have huge impacts over time as they begin to pile upon one and other and build a foundation of improvement.

So how do you get started? Always start small. Try to think of an area of your life or day that you would like to improve or develop. For example, Jim always feels like he is running behind and regularly shows up a few minutes late to everything. If we ask Jim to try to identify the root of the problem he has trouble nailing it down but he does know that it starts as soon as he rolls out of bed and seems to last all day.

Perhaps, the problem is not actually that Jim is always late but that his habits set him up for failure. In this case, it might help Jim to start developing one powerful positive habit to set himself up for success.

Since Jim’s problems seem to start in the morning this is a good place to look for improvements. These habits could be as simple as setting out his clothes the night before a busy morning or preparing the coffee machine the night before so he has more time when he gets up. Alternatively, he could start reviewing his schedule in advance so he knows where he needs to go and when he needs to be there.

These are all small things that, when considered alone. seem insignificant. However, if Jim starts setting up his coffee machine the night before that might mean he saves 5-10 minutes each morning. That 5-10 minutes could allow him to be on time for his first event of the day. This then allows him to finish on time instead of staying late to make up for the minutes he would have lost which in turn makes him on time or early for his next event. This ripple carries on through out his day taking him from the guy who is always a couple minutes late to the one who is always on time if not early. Ultimately, setting him up for success in other things. All because he changed when he makes his morning coffee.

Once you find the habit the you want to use you can can start the habit building process. In most cases, it can take up to a month of consistency to build an action into a habit and around 3 months to make it really stick. That means repetition is the key. To help yourself get started, set up a couple of reminders, like notes on your mirror, a reminder on your phone, etc. These can help you stay consistent through the first few weeks and the longer you stay at it the easier it will get.

Small positive habits can be a powerful thing. When you make the effort and take the time to start creating them in your day small changes can have big impacts. The story about Jim above is a prefect example. Through one small change and developing that change into a habit through repetition, Jim is setting himself up for success. It is possible that the story of Jim continues with him winning a promotion which changes his life and those things are possible for you too. All it takes to get started is small powerful habits and time.

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