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“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle
We all develop habits, both good and bad, but what separates people like Elon Musk and Bill Gates from your classic high school burnout is their willingness to look at their habits and trim the fat.
Successful people recognize when they fall into unproductive patterns. Others don’t.
It’s as simple as that. The key to success is building up your good habits and replacing the bad ones.
Good habits don’t just help you accomplish your goals, they make you feel better doing it.
So, let’s get you headed in the right direction.
Think of the best version of yourself. What are your future habits? When you imagine your future self, what do you see yourself doing with your day? Write your answers down. Make a list.
Once you write your future habits down, they become real. Print out the list and keep it somewhere you can see it often. Don’t forget your commitment to getting better.
Got your answers? Good. Now’s the fun part!
According to Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Charles Duhigg, habits are composed of three parts.
1. The Cue:
This is the signal that reminds you to perform a habit. It can be as simple as showering as soon as you wake up. Isolating and committing to a cue will take the choice out of your hands and make the action automatic.
2. The Routine:
The action triggered by the cue. It can be running, reading, or working on your hobbies. Whatever it is, make sure it’s tied to a specific cue, so you always know when it’s time.
3. The Reward
It’s easiest to do something when you know you’ll feel good afterward. Build that reward into your routine. It can be as simple as watching your favorite show, listening to your favorite song, or drinking an extra special coffee. Those rewards make your brain associate the habit with positive feelings, and that makes it even easier the next time. Soon you won’t need the reward at all.
Pick one of those habits you want to have. Find your cue, start your routine, and choose a great reward! Even after a workout, that piece of lava cake still helps!
Take it one thing at a time. By the time you’ve built one new habit, you’ll be feeling good and ready to work on another. Trying to change everything at once never works, and it will leave you feeling worse than when you started.
Be the best; one step at a time.