Habits: The Basis For Success

Few people ever take the time out to consider the habits they have and the impact on their lives.  Instead, most tend to go through life as a victim of their behaviors, most of which are operating at a subconscious level.  To be in control of one's life, it is imperative that he or she realize what is going on with it and how it is operating.


Almost everything in life is a progression.  Rarely does something happen overnight.  Whatever we focus upon we see this idea  holds up.  Talents, even though inbred in us at birth, need to be cultivated over years.  Olympic athletes, for example, while highly skilled, spend hours daily for years on end honing their craft.  The same is true of professional weightlifters.  Their dedication means that they develop the habit of tending to their craft on a daily basis.

Let me ask you a question.  Do you think there were days when Arnold did not want to go to the gym to lift.  Yet, each day, there he was.  He instilled the habit within himself to workout so that it was not even a thought.  His subconscious idea was to get up and do what was needed.  Is it any wonder he became a multiple Mr Olympia winner?  Now contrast this with your subconscious ideas about working out.  Most people are trained to default to make excuses or find reasons not to follow through.  And this is why they are out of shape and struggling through life.

Life is nothing more than a building upon the days before.  And it is the habits we create which determine the level of success we are going to have.  There are habits which are self destructive and lead to failure like smoking and excessive television watching.  At the same time, there are other habits which assist us on our journey like studying or exercise.  Even the foods we eat are based upon what we are habitually conditioned to do.  One who naturally reaches for a frozen pizza is not going to get the same results as one who trains him or herself to cook up vegetables.


People do not realize how much they sabotage themselves and prevent their own success.  Most prefer to spend time blaming others for the shortcomings in their lives.  This enables that person to play the victim which is becoming an art form these days.  Of course, when one is a victim, he or she is not responsible for what takes place.

Utilizing this approach is death to any self progress.  The problem with blaming everyone else is that it leads to a state of powerlessness.  Giving power to another person (or situation) means that we are incapable of changing it.  Therefore, for something to be different, the other person needs to change.  This is the epitome of powerlessness.  As long as your progress is in the hands of another person, then you are going to lose every time.  It is only after you realize that you need to take the power back that you will be on the path of shape your destiny.

Even those who accept responsibility for the events in their lives fail to understand how habits affect one's results.  Thus, we need to take the next step of engaging in personal analysis so that we can determine who requires alterations.

In this instance we will use smoking as an example.  Cigarettes are known to be bad for our health.  Long term smoking is proven to cause a host of  physical ailments and even shorten one's life.  Yet millions of people engage in it despite the warning against it.  Therefore, we can conclude a person in this situation is sabotaging his or her long term prospects on this planet.

Before advancing with this thinking, we need to consider how smoking is really a habit.  Certainly, there is the physical component of nicotine addiction must be dealt with.  However, any ex-smoker will tell you one of the biggest obstacles to quitting smoking is the psychological and habitual associations that were developed.  For example, many will state the hardest time is right after eating a meal or first thing in the morning.  Nevertheless, have you ever watched someone who smokes when they light up at these times?  Do you really thing they are conscious about what they are doing?  I will assert that in most instances, the person reaches for a cigarette without consciously thinking about it.  In other words, it is a subconscious habit; one that can ultimately kill.

So how does smoking sabotage one?  We already mentioned the obvious when referring to the health implications.  Yet there are others.  To start, have you noticed the price of cigarettes lately?  There are severe financial implications with long term smoking.  People easily spent thousands of dollars a year supporting this habit which could kill them (makes sense doesnt it).  This money, if invested, with the effects of compound interest, could grow into hundreds of thousands of dollars if given enough time.  However, this person will not realize this financial windfall since the money went elsewhere.

Also, many people, these days, are turned off by smokers.  This often means that one's choices when looking for a potential partner are hindered.  While one could try to make the assertion the opposite way that a smoker is actually enhancing the prospects by attracting other smokers, I fail to believe that smokers have the same view of non-smokers that they do of smokers.  Never have I seen a profile where someone stated in the looking for "someone who absolutely smoked. Non-smokers do not even reply".  Therefore, the man or woman of this person's dreams might slip away because of a distaste for smoking (again something that has the potential to kill that person).

To me, this is a prime example of self-sabotage.

Habit Development

The first order of business is to spend some time identifying what habits one has, writing them down, and then determining if they are a help or a hindrance.  Be thorough in all aspects of life.  If you are overweight, look at your eating patterns.  Do you stop at fast food places regularly?  Is food something you use to comfort you emotionally?  How are your exercise patterns?  Do you even have any?  All areas of life are open to scrutiny.

After developing a list, mark off the ones that do not help you and begin to formulate ways to better approach things.  In other words, what habit could you replace this one with which will net different results.  Again, for weight loss, perhaps the habit of making and bringing a nutritious lunch is idea.  Or consciously deciding to park the car as far away from a location so as to increase the number of steps taken throughout the day.  Whatever the decision, begin doing it.

Few people realize how easy it is to change one's life radically over a period of time.  Many skills can be developed in as little as 5 minutes 3 times per day.  If one is adept at breaking things down to their basics, he or she quickly realizes that most skills can be developed by mastering a few simple things.  Making these actions a habit ensures that one benefits from the repetitive nature.  Do not forget, one did not gain the 50 pounds of weight in one shot and it will not be lost in that time period.  Actions need to be taken regularly over a period of time to accomplish the goal of losing weight.

It is crucial to understand how much of our life is actually spent on cruise control.  We become so adept at most activities that we are literally walking through our day asleep.  Thought is not required for many of the things we do.  Again, many of these habits are helpful and make our lives easier since conscious thought is not necessary.  However, for those that are deemed ineffective or a hindrance, it is best to begin removing them AND replacing them with something else (it rarely is any good to just remove a habit; it requires replacement).  This is the basis for all your success in life.  If you can develop the habit of doing the things on a daily basis which lead to success in your life, then it will certainly ensue.  This is a sharp contrast to what most people do which is to habitually sabotage any chance of success.

Start to make the change now.
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