By Carolyn Landesman
Have you ever thought about your habits and how they influence your life? They could either be serving you well or holding you back.
Most successful people believe they have the power within to make things happen. Where some people see obstacles as threats, successful people see obstacles as opportunities. They embrace change. They deal with ambiguity as an opportunity to innovate and explore and have a positive attitude towards uncertainty. In other words, they never see themselves as victims for they take responsibility for their life.
On the other hand, others have a failure mentality. It’s something called cognitive dissonance. This is the disconnect between what you believe in your mind and what happens in reality. The more you believe something to be true (example, I am unlucky – bad things always happens to me) the more likely this becomes your reality and the less likely you are to believe the opposite.
If people with a failure mentality do experience a degree of success, they put it down to luck, a random chance or external factors.
The bottom line is, success and failure really comes back to your habits.
What are habits
Habits are small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. They are the rituals and behaviors you perform without thinking about like; brushing your teeth, getting dressed and following the same route to work every day.
Habits can be divided into three main groups.
- Habits you don’t notice like brushing your teeth and tying shoelaces. These are habits that have been part of your life for a long time.
2. The second group of habits are activities that are good for you like exercising, eating well and getting adequate sleep.
3. The third set of habits, that are bad for you, are damaging to your health or hold you back from succeeding. For example, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, overeating, procrastination, overspending or any other obsessive-compulsive behavior.
What this suggests is that simply by creating new habits to replace habits that don’t serve you well, you can create huge and positive changes in your life.
Why you need habits
The habits you choose to create sets the tone for the rest of your life. If you create a habit of waking each morning with a positive mindset – you will become a positive and happier person.
Habits help you manage your life more effectively. They save your brain power in order to focus on more complex tasks. An automatic response requires less brain power so you can concentrate on more creative tasks. Habits help determine how you feel and what you do.
Adopting habits that support your vision values and goals without thinking too much about will help you achieve what you want from life much quicker. For instance, if you wanted to get fit and lose weight, creating a habit of eating healthy food and exercising at least three times a week will help you achieve that goal. Getting up an hour earlier to go the gym will also help you achieve that goal.
Habits of successful people
The reason successful people don’t buckle under pressure and overcome setbacks is, they are committed to their vision, values and goals. They believe in their vision and stay committed to the cause. They see the future through rose-tinted glasses which in turn keeps them positive in their quest to achieve their vision.
Successful people also see themselves as catalysts of change and have the power within to make things happen. Because they have the ability to see the good in adversity, they believe no matter what comes their way, they have the capacity to overcome challenges. They take responsibility for their lives and accept the blame when things go wrong.
The upside of success thinking is increased confidence which in turn erases doubt.
- They are organized, create plans and set priorities.
- They plan carefully and following up with action.
- They are generally early risers and exercise.
- They adopt a positive attitude.
- They nurture and grow their networks.
- They are thrifty with both money and resources.
- They are lifelong learners.
- They surround themselves with other like-minded positive people.
Common habits of unsuccessful people
Most unsuccessful people don’t see the value in change. They don’t believe they need to change or they don’t mind change as long as they aren’t the ones who have to change. Often this is simply fear of change.
Fear tolerated is faith contaminated!
They are forever looking for instant gratification, instant success without having to do any work. If an opportunity presents itself, they look for reason in which things will go wrong or fail.
- They procrastinate and are easily distracted.
- They don’t follow up on what they say they will do.
- They spend time with losers and others who aren’t very motivated.
- They are highly critical and jealous of others.
- They have a sense of entitlement and don’t like change.
- They give up easily and secretly hope others fail.
- They refuse to accept blame and will never apologize.
- They have a negative attitude and don’t learn from their mistakes.
- They hold grudges.
Changing a habit
Researchers from Duke University suggest that habits account for around 40% of your behaviors on any given day. Imagine the impact if you changed just one habit that holds you back into a new habit that contributes to your success.
What if you want to improve the quality of your life, lose weight, gain more confidence, exercise more, become a better speaker, leader or manager? Lasting change is a product of developing new habits. You are what you repeatedly do.
Habits are formed by creating a neural pathway in your brain because of repetition. These neural pathways are helpful for developing the many automatic tasks you do daily like brushing your teeth walking, eating, dressing and driving. The things you do without really thinking about them.
The best way to change a habit is to create a new neural pathway and replace it with the old one.
Old habits never completely disappear in case you need to use them again. By replacing them with a new habit, you are merely creating a new fork in the road where every day you have a choice, to walk the old neural pathway or take the new road forward.
On a final note
Take an inventory of your current habits. Analyse them and decide which ones are serving your well and which ones you need to change. Replace the old habits hat don’t serve you well with a new one that will help you achieve your goals.
When you change your habits for the better, your quality of life will automatically improve.
In a Nutshell
- Most successful people have good habits.
- Most unsuccessful people fall prey to poor habits.
- Success and failure comes back to your habits.
- Habits can be divided into three groups, those you have had for a long time, good habits, poor habits.
- Your habits set the tone for the rest of your life.
- They help you maintain your life more effectively.
- Habits of successful people include getting up early,. exercising, have a positive demeanor, thrifty with money and resources, surround themselves with positive like minded people and are lifetime learners.
- Unsuccessful people don’t see the value in change. They procrastinate and are easily distracted. They frequently criticize and complain. They are jealous of others and have a sense of entitlement. They hold grudges, won’t apologize and don’t learn from their mistakes.
- The best way to change a habit is create a new one.
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