We are creatures of habit. People do the same things each day, often without realization. They wake up at the same time, follow the same routine in the morning, leave for work, etc... Most operate on autopilot throughout the day. Very little mental input is needed. The consciousness is continually focused elsewhere. For example, have you ever had an item one moment only to find yourself searching frantically for it the next. You put the item down without giving it a thought.
Habits are what play a large role in the success or failure that we experience. Regular readers of this blog know that I am fascinated by those who attain the highest levels in sports. The habits they have are what determines how much success they enjoy. Consider the marathon runner. He or she is in the habit of running a certain distance everyday. While there are days that he or she does not feel like doing the work, this person does it anyway. Often, it is without thought. This individual is so conditioned that leaving the house with the running shoes on is done without thinking. How would you like to be able to approach your exercise routine in that manner? I only takes the development of the habit.
So how do we find out about our habits? This is an easy process that can be completed in under an hour. It starts by putting everything that you do on a daily basis on a piece of paper. Begin by listing the time you wake up and end when you go to bed. List everything that you can think of in between. This will lay for the foundation for creating your daily plan. It is important to remember that all successes are achieved one moment at a time.
Once you listed all that you do each day, take another piece of paper and list all the daily activities that will improve your life. For example, if you desire to be more spiritual, write down the time you want to spend in prayer/meditation. The same is done for health. List out the exercise routine you will put into practice. If writing is your thing, make sure you put on there the time you will sit getting your ideas down.
Now it is time to look at our initial list. Most people see some glaring habits immediately. These are the activities which move you further away from your goals. There will be 3-5 that jump off the page. Some lay on the couch watching television after work. Others light up a cigarette as soon as getting out of bed. Whatever the habit is, circle it. It is necessary to bring the problem to the conscious level. Now you are aware of what you are dealing with.
Changing behavior is one of most difficult things in the world. The next phase can be rather tough depending on how long the habit was in play. However, now is the time that we begin to alter what we do. It is helpful to start with an easy one. If showing up late to work is one of the circles on your list, get there on time starting tomorrow. Make this commitment to yourself and keep it. This will enable you to develop some momentum. Approach each item that is circled and set out to change it.
A wonderful aspect to this entire exercise is that the two lists can work together. If we choose an item that will enhance our life, we often find that the opposite is already circled. Exercise is a prime example. Often people want to reduce the amount of television watched. This time can be used to exercise. We just replaced a bad habit with a good one. One can also read books that increase his or her knowledge in a particular field. This is more beneficial than watching the"idiot box" or surfing the net.
Success is made up of action. Those who are highly successful take different actions than the rest of us. This exercise allows us to see the daily actions that hinder while fostering the development of beneficial activities. Habits are nothing more than actions. When we are concentrating on changing habits, we are really seeking to change our actions.
A final thought: this ought not be a one time deal. This plan is a tool that I continually use. Even though I might make a few corrections immediately, I found that more existed. Self improvement is often like peeling an onion. We take it in layers. Do this exercise today, then revisit it in about 10 days. See how your progress is. You will find where you are still falling short. Also, the improvement you made will be noticed, thus opening up the possibility of making more changes. Follow this for a few months and you will see success at your doorstep.
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