Habits intrigue me.
When we hear the word “habit” I think these days it brings about a negative connotation.
The idea of a bad habit lives with just about all of us. If you asked any of us if we knew someone with a few bad habits we could probably instantly think of a handful of people.
Ask us if we have bad habits of our own and we might immediately think of one. And I’m sure those that know us best could add a few more.
Habits seem to be something that’s almost unconscious. And it looks like they really are. Sometimes they happen just because we’re not thinking about what we’re doing each and every day. Other times they happen because something in our lives change.
For example, my daughter was born a few months ago. As I look presently at my current daily habits I can relate them back to that big change. The good news is that I can assess the current habits and change them if some need to be changed.
We all know that certain habits are bad. Detrimental to progress in our lives. But I think some of the most important habits are the ones that need to be changed, but that we don’t even realize.
So here are some reasons to audit your habits. Every year or even a couple times a year.
You Are What You Do Everyday
I’m a big believer in this mantra.
My friends and family get a little annoyed with me when they tell me about their dreams and ideas. My eyes kind of gloss over and I get a “whatever” feeling in my head.
I don’t mean to be mean, but most people don’t follow through on their dreams. Or ideas. They fall in love with the dream and that’s it. They just daydream about it. Never putting any action into the days. The dream stays big and the little things never happen.
Dreams are fun. Work isn’t. If you find something that you love doing everyday you can accomplish great things. Look at successful people in just about every field. Chances are they love or at least have done the daily work.
Tiger Woods may love winning The Masters, but he loves the daily grind of hitting great golf shots. He loves working on his game and improving.
This mantra also provides a view into what you are already doing everyday. If what you’re doing everyday isn’t leading to what you want to become then you’re wasting your time. And there is nobody to blame other than yourself.
But the good news is you can change it. Right now.
Busy Doesn’t Equal Progress
Big modern day trap here. Kind of building on the idea that habits can just kind of happen. Sometimes a big change occurs and we adapt. Other times things just creep in.
With work, it could be that you had a small idea and started working on it. Then three months later you find yourself still putting time into it and looking back you realize it’s not really working toward any specific goal. And if it’s taking up a lot of time you’re giving up other things that could lead to progress.
In the corporate world I used to get really annoyed at meetings. And phone calls. It seemed like people would setup both just to fill up their daily calendars.
They seemed super busy, but never seemed to actually make any progress on anything. They’d have projects they’d be working on and they’d be behind schedule and use the excuse, “I’m just soooo busy…”
Yeah, you’re busy because you have bad habits in your daily schedule.
Bring Long-Term Back To Short-Term
Getting back to dreams. Dreams are big. Ideas are big. The trick to making them happen is working backwards from the big to figure out the small things you need to do everyday to achieve your dream. Then put your head down for years and wake up later to find how close you are.
There isn’t a lot of patience in the world today. But that’s an opportunity for you or for anyone. There is no secret to success, but that would have to be the closest thing to a secret: patience.
Identifying the big dream. The long-term goal. Figuring out what to do everyday to achieve it and then having the patience and persistence to see it through.
Ask yourself this question when you audit your habits:
Is this getting me closer to my goals?
Most people have dreams. Most people have ambitions. Even if the ambition is to have freedom to do whatever you want everyday. It takes work to get there.
It’s incredibly important to audit your habits regularly. You can slip into bad ones, but if you audit you can create positive ones that lead to long-term success.
It’s just like setting up an automatic savings plan, but instead of putting away money you’re doing activities that help you achieve great things.