Our actions determine our fate. What we do on a daily basis determines how successful and how happy we are. This is no secret. In fact, the concept that our actions determine who we are has been known since ancient times.
Aristotle said, “ We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”
Movies and stories romanticize great singular acts, which may manipulate some people to think that that is all you need to be successful.
That one catch made all the difference.
That one speech turned the game (and the season usually) around.
That one romantic gesture won back his great love.
Movies portray acts of great intensity as what determines your fate. And while acts of intensity have their place, they do not make you who you are.
Consistency is more important than intensity. And it always will be. Think about your teeth. If you just went to the dentist twice a year (intensity) would you have nice teeth? Hell no! It’s brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing (consistency) that keep your teeth healthy.
There is a reason why Ray Allen (one of the best NBA shooters of all time) took 1000 shots a day. Consistency wins championships.
Stephen King says that the two only things people need to do to become great writers are read every day and write every day. That’s it. Consistency makes you great.
We are what we repeatedly do. So common sense thinking says if you want to improve, just do the right things over and over again. In other words, just create better habits in your life.
It’s that easy, right?
Humans have a funny way of doing the wrong thing, things that don’t serve them or who they want to be consistently. We find it easy to develop negative habits, yet almost impossible to develop positive ones.
That is exactly how I felt when I started on my journey of personal improvement. I wanted to become a better person and live my best life, but found it so hard to implement positive habits.
I couldn’t even read 10 pages a day without falling off of it for weeks at a time (It was honestly embarrassing.) Over the course of a year, I tried meditating consistently, waking up earlier, doing yoga 3 times a week, reading every day, flossing every day (yeah I was that bad), and journaling every day.
All of which started with great excitement and “commitment” (“This time it’s sticking, I can feel it!”) Only to all fall off, with me shaking my head and wondering if I’m just not capable of bettering myself.
One day, after failing at implementing one of these habits, I had an idea. I knew that public goal setting (hanging goals on the wall) increases your chance of hitting them by eight times.
If I was going to fail at one more damn habit I was going to make it public so it would hurt.
I printed out a calendar and wrote the word “read” in every single day of the month. I decided that every day I read 10 pages, I would highlight that day. Every day I missed, I would leave it blank. This way, when I looked back at the end of the month, I could tell exactly how many days I missed.
That first month, I missed none. For the first time, I was able to implement a habit. 4 years and 150+ books later, reading every day is one of the keystone habits in my life.
I have used the EXACT same method to implement meditating, journaling, eating healthy, and waking up early into my life. Literally every positive habit I have today I implemented by using this method. (I created a Habit Builder Calendar that you can download for free here)
I am not the only one that has used this method either. Jerry Seinfeld gives the same advice for all new comics. He suggests to write a new joke every single day. He says to put an X in a calendar every day you write a new joke.
Once you start using this strategy, you’re only job then becomes to not break the streak. That’s it, one day at a time.
The Habit Builder Calendar breaks down large, scary initiatives and allows you to take it one day at a time.
Don’t break the streak. That’s all you have to do.
After a while these initiatives become habits and you no longer need the calendar to do them. Reading for me is now second nature. Days that I don’t read feel weird, wrong. I look forward to reading and WANT to read now (which is shocking because I used to hate reading with a passion).
What habit do you want to implement in your life?
Is it to walk 10,000 steps a day?
Or is it to read 10 pages a day?
Whatever it is, you now have a tool to help you on your journey.
“ We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”
Your habits determine your destiny.
Implement a positive one today and whatever you do,
Don’t break the streak.
Want to start creating habits NOW?
(Do you have a habit builder success story? Let me know about it! Contact me here)