As human beings, we are creatures of habits.
Be it good or bad, consciously or unconsciously, we develop routines and habits. Once something is established as a routine, it gives us a sense of comfort and safety; ask any parent about this and you will hear how important the routine is for a child. Amazingly, in the process of life, we oftentimes lose the meaning and essence of habit – we see habits as a manifestation of comfort as opposed to a response to wanting to grow.
Growing (at all levels) is about:
-continously being on the lookout for new habits to develop
-challenging oneself to scrutinize and push beyond comfort levels and fears
-daring to believe and work towards a dream
-being ready to fail while trying.
There is a lot of literature in this area of habit creation but three books I recommend to shape your habit creation habits are:
- “The 5 second rule” by Mel Robbins. It is based on the theory that within five seconds, our brain will talk us out of pretty much anything we know we should do but we might fast enough think it would be too hard, too late or too early to do it. By counting backwards 5-4-3-2-1, we spring through action and quiet our mind, therefore breaking the habit of hesitating, overthinking or holding ourselves back. For instance, you wake up in the morning and your first thought is to run. But then you feel too tired to do it. With 5-4-3-2-1, you act upon your initial thought without allowing your feelings to change your mind.
- “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. The myth of multitasking is dispelled to give place to the power of prioritization and clarity by focusing on the one most important thing that will lead to success. By doing the most important thing, one at a time, a domino effect is created to achieve extraordinary results. Instead of trying too much, ask yourself what’s the one thing I can do today to reach my goal, improve a relationship, get fit etc…
- “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R Covey. In this classic book, sold in over 15 million copies, Stephen comes up with a time management matrix of activities based on what’s urgent vs not urgent, important vs not important. For instance, if most of your focus is on urgent and important, you are likely in a perpetual crisis management mode, a sure pathway to stress and burnout. Intentionally scheduling activities that are important but not urgent is a condition for lasting growth and success. The seven habits that Stephen found in common across highly effective people include being proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, feeding a cycle of effectiveness and success.
Every day, we have a choice as to what habit we grow or replace, what we intently take on or ignore, what we complacently accept or challenge to change.
Ultimately, there is power in each habit, a power that could make us grow or keep us captive.
Use the muscle of habit creation to move beyond fears and take one step further in a journey of growth!