Habits = Success
Habits = Failure
Habits = Everything. Time and time again, habits is the culprit of everything in our lives.
Don’t get all uppity, I know there is such a thing as luck, misfortunate, bad parenting and evil people. But this is a self-help, motivation, what-can-I-do-to-make-my-life-better kind of blog, so let’s just understand from the get go that I’m not talking about that kind of thing. I’m talking about the things WE do.
So there, I’ve said it. Habits = Everything.
Habits = Everything
Everything (that I have the ability to control) in my life, is exactly the way that it is because of the habits in my life.
And I’m not talking about big things. I’m talking little things. You may not think that the little things really matter all that much; but they do.
To illustrate my point, lets look at the difference between myself and my identical (& imaginary) twin sister, Rochelle.
Example 1: When we were 18 year olds, Rochelle decided to cut sugar out of her morning coffee. I, on the other hand, couldn’t be bothered getting used to the new taste and continued with one sugar per day (I try to only have one coffee a day). No big deal… until 25 years later and I calculate that I’ve consumed 36.5 kilograms of sugar more than she has. Fun fact: I’m 30 kgs heavier than her (she’s at our ideal weight). I’m not even joking… or stretching the truth.
Example 2: We both used to attend church regularly and would tithe (give 10% of) our income to the church. When we stopped attending church we no longer gave tithes. I was glad for the extra money and would ear mark it for savings; somehow those savings always managed to get spent. Rochelle put that 10% of her income into investments; a high interest savings account, a term deposit, then some shares. It wasn’t much at first, but as it grew she was then able to buy an investment property with one of our aunties. She didn’t even notice the 10% coming out of her salary. Every now and then she’d have a look, see that she had a few thousand saved up in that account and look for something to invest in.
Example 3: We have always been involved in physical activities, enjoying netball, jogging, yoga, pilates, small triathlons, beach volleyball, hiking and roller derby; but rather inconsistently. As our 30th birthday approached, Rochelle wanted to find something that she could do that would make her feel good, clear her head and get a bit of exercise every day. So she started walking 20 minutes every day. She loves it. When (or ‘If’) I drag myself out of bed half an hour early to go for a walk, I still think the world is a cruel and unjust place that has conspired to make my life miserable. I love going for a walk too… after I’ve finished.
They’re not very big things are they? Okay, maybe setting aside 10% of your income is a big thing, but if it were only 5% that would still make a BIG difference over time. They’re not painful things for Rochelle to do, not at all. They all make her feel good. And they’re all habits for her, so she does them now without even thinking. And they all make her life better.
I love Rochelle. She is everything I was meant to be. If only I had set up helpful habits.
You may notice that even though the behaviours are small, it is the fact that these habits are done over time, that makes them powerful. Jeff Olson talks about this in his book ‘The Slight Edge’.
It would be easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking, “well, I didn’t start when I was 18 years old, so it’s too late for me to start now”. But you all know that’s bull shit.
So knowing that… what’s the habit you’re going to develop?
I’m going to write every day. For two minutes. As I said, small habits, aye. 😉