“Your habits determine your future” is a prevalent phrase in self-development. We often wonder to ourselves, “how I got here or what could I have done differently”.
The truth is that what you do daily or consistently determines your weekly results and your monthly results, which in turn determines your year and life.
Hence, if you want to change your life, the answer is to change what you do daily and change your life.
The past year has been very challenging; however, I would like to share seven habits that helped me in the past year, and I am using them to shape the year ahead.
I am confident that adopting any of these habits will lead to transformation in your life.
All seven together would set you up for transformative success.
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Habit one – Be Grateful
The number one habit is gratitude. Why do I like gratitude? Because gratitude allows you to create the energy you need to take action.
Everything we do is about energy. If you practice gratitude daily, it will focus your mind on all the good things around you, putting you in a positive mindset. Or what I like to call the “excited to act” attitude, which you need to get things done.
If you don’t already practice gratitude, I advise that you start immediately. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, just two to three minutes a day. Figure out what you’re grateful for and write it down.
During your gratitude period, be specific and detailed about the things you are grateful for, no matter how small.
Remember, your mind and society already do an excellent job showing you ‘not working’ items. Your role is to provide balance and shift the narrative to one that empowers and energizes you.
So go on, get a journal, and write what you are grateful for – practice gratitude in the morning and evening daily.
Habit Two – Be Clear
The second habit is clarity, and clarity is all about being very specific and being very clear on what you want.
Or, if I define it another way, it’s the upfront investment of time before you start anything to be very clear on what you want and why you want it.
Clarity is a superpower with a lot of benefits. The first one is improving your focus and direction because you’re taking the upfront time to be precise.
The second one is that it makes you a lot more effective and efficient because you don’t engage in activities that do not lead to progress.
It’s easier to be ambiguous because it doesn’t commit you to a particular direction and keeps your options open.
This approach doesn’t allow you to concentrate your capabilities and resources in one specific direction, thereby weakening or diluting their impact.
However, suppose you do the upfront work to be very clear and specific in whatever area. In that case, you reap the rewards mentioned above and set yourself apart from the competition.
So take the time upfront to be very clear in thought, action and communication.
Habit Three – Think
It’s one of my favourite habits. In my coaching practice, I also observed that the art of thinking had been lost.
Anytime I ask my clients if they have thinking scheduled into their calendar, they always look surprised by the idea of scheduling time to think regularly.
Thinking as a skill hardly happens these days, and most people operate from groupthink even though they don’t realize it.
The ability to have independent and original ideas will set you apart in the marketplace either as a professional or business.
Hence it is essential to engage in regular and consistent thinking.
Some of the benefits of taking time out to think are you get better at problem-solving, creativity improves, and you become a source of original and independent ideas.
I recommend you schedule time daily to engage in free thinking about a specific issue and focused problem-solving.
Always use a blank sheet of paper or page in your journal and think for up to 1 hour.
You can start small; however, grow to engage in 1 hour of intentional thinking daily.
Pick your topic and ask yourself questions. And as you practice thinking, do both short-term and long-term thinking.
Habit Four – Act
Habit number four is massive action.
Take immediate action on what you want to build momentum that generates results.
Some of the benefits of taking massive action are building confidence, momentum, and belief.
You get more clarity because there will be a reaction whenever you’re acting. There is an opportunity to learn (reflect) and then take further action based on new information in this reaction.
Once you’re very clear on what you need to do, take massive action.
Habit Five – Be Consistent
The fifth habit I want to recommend is consistency.
This habit leverages the law of compounding and exponential growth. Action will lead to some outcome; however, we get exponential results if done consistently.
Consistent action also allows us to measure our actions’ effectiveness and develop mastery in that subject.
One of the biggest challenges for a business is achieving consistency of action across their organization. Consistency has other benefits such as confidence, accountability etc.
To start, pick one action that is important to your goal and carry it out for 90 days to show the power of consistent effort.
Habit Six – Reflect
The sixth habit is reflection. I have found reflection to be a powerful habit for learning.
Whenever you take action and get an outcome, whether expected or unexpected, do you ever take time to figure out what worked or didn’t work?
What lessons did you take away from the action, and most importantly, how will it impact subsequent actions?
This process of examining and learning from your actions or inaction is what I mean by reflection.
Growth and continuous improvement happen in moments of reflection. The cycle is straightforward; however, it requires consistency – Plan it, Do it, Reflect on results, and Act again.
It’s very similar to the After-Action Review approach used by the US military.
I always advise my business clients to run weekly After Action Review meetings using this approach.
Always have a plan for the week, collect daily performance results (both activities and outcomes), and review both actions and outcomes at the end of the week.
The meeting outcome should be answers to these three questions – What are we going to continue doing? What do we need to stop doing, and what should we start doing?
You can also apply this approach to your personal life.
Habit Seven – Meditate
The seventh habit is meditation. Meditation is a habit that you should pick and practice daily.
The main reason is that meditation brings you into the present moment.
The present moment is essential because all changes happen in the present, not the future.
In another way, learn from your past plan for your future; however, you can only act in the present.
Hence it is vital always to be present because nothing happens without action.
There’s so much out there on the internet about how to meditate. If you go to YouTube, you could probably find many guided meditations.
Most important is to make sure that you pick up the habit and start from where you are, no matter how small. Meditation will improve your health, both mental and physical.
In conclusion, the seven habits are Gratitude, Clarity, Thinking, Consistency, Reflection, Massive action, and Meditation.
Pick one habit and get going on your transformation and growth journey.
Thank you for reading and sharing this with a friend, colleague, and anyone else that will benefit from it too.