We are creatures of habit. Unfortunately most people never decide how they want to live. As a result they get taken wherever the wind blows.
But not Addicted2Success readers, you want more. You live consciously. You decide how you want to live and what you want to have. You build the habits conducive to the good life.
Aristotle famously said:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”.
Unfortunately, most people never set goals, or challenge themselves. Year after year on December 31st whilst jacked up on alcohol, in the midst of self-pity they decide to set some new year’s resolutions. Their excitement may last for a few days, or even two weeks, however, because the resolution was formed on alcohol and emotion they rarely see this through.
How do I know? Because I was one of those frustrated individuals on every January the 15th. I decided 9 years ago to no longer be flimsy about my approach to life. I realised that if you don’t consciously choose the direction of your life, you will most likely go with your emotions. This is the last thing you want to do. Success will rarely come on this path.
When you decide the life you want, you start to think about your daily, seemingly unimportant actions. To the onlooker what you are doing seems irrelevant and redundant; you know that those conscious daily actions will become habits.
Your habits will naturally draw your dream life into existence. Leaving that onlooker dumfounded.
“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so masterful at all.” – Michelangelo
Habits and the examined life is something I treasure greatly. About 10 years ago I was, well, a bit of a no-hoper. I was failing school, university was a no go and I lacked any kind of direction. That was until I read my first personal development book. 100s of books later, I’m now my own best-selling personal development author.
It wasn’t just knowledge that awakened me to my greatness. It was the action that succeeded it, that truly made the difference. I started doing 30 day challenges. With the sole purpose of building good, constructive habits that put me on course for the life I knew I was capable of.
In 30 days you can remove a vice or learn a new skill. The time frame holds you accountable to see the challenge through. The main benefit I found from challenging myself was the increase in discipline. Where I was disciplining one area of my life, all the other areas of my life became more structured and productive because I was motivated from honing my mind.
Over the last 10 years I’ve done various challenges such as quit meat, stopped consuming sugary drinks, started writing a book an hour a day and quit masturbating (it was hard – pun intended).
You really can use this simple tool to improve your life drastically. Before you get started ask yourself some questions like:
- What area of my life can I improve?
- What could I give up that would make me happier/healthier?
- What would excite me for 30 days?
From your answers you should have an idea where you want to start.
I have failed many times, so let me give you 5 tips to help you successfully complete your first 30 day challenge.
1. Know your success criteria
If you don’t know where you’re going you won’t know when you get there. By clearly defining your outcome and what you need to do (or don’t do) daily, you will be setting yourself up for success.
When I first started doing the challenges I would have a loose idea but never clearly define it. This caused many slip-ups, especially when I was quitting sugary drinks.
2. Nothing wrong with failing
Yep, it’s true. There is absolutely nothing wrong with failing a challenge. Mistakes happen, what matters is you learn from it and start again. Try not to leave it too long before you start the 30 days again, maximum of 3 days.
Life has a funny habit of getting in the way. Then it’s 2 months later and we never started again. See through what you committed to completing, after all there was a reason you started.
3. Visualise yourself succeeding
Let’s say you are doing 5am wake ups for the 30 days. For a night owl this is an unbelievably hard challenge – I know I’ve done it. What helped me was visualising myself hearing the alarm clock, waking up (and being happy about it) and getting straight out of bed to make a coffee. You can do this daily, weekly or once. The more frequent you do it, the more impact it will have.
When we visualise a better future we are creating a neural pathway in our brain. This pathway will trick your mind into accepting this as truth.
4. Do one challenge at a time
It’s easy to get carried away. I’m still struggling to keep to one at a time. Now I just want change, hopefully you will too. If that’s the case it’s easy to want to do multiple challenges at once. The issue here is that we only have a finite amount of will power each day.
Some of these challenges can be very trying. To start with just pick one that will enrich your life.
Then after your first challenge, consider picking two that compliment each other if you have the desire to do more than one.
5. Reward yourself
It’s important to reward yourself. You may get disheartened at times throughout the challenge. Energy is low, will power fading and you are starting to forget why you even began.
It’s important to reward yourself each week with something that is meaningful to you. That may be your favourite meal, a hot bath or drinking with your buddies.
Most of my good habits that are building success in my life right now have come from doing these 30 day challenges.
By challenging yourself you will increase your motivation levels, clarity for your goals and be building success habits that will propel you towards your dreams.
So many people in life don’t try or at best set New Year’s resolutions, but you’re different.
Challenge yourself, I dare you!