We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Habits are the amazing tools that we have in our disposal to make our life easy. Driving a car might have been harder when you try to learn it for the first time. Once it becomes a habit, you don’t have to be anxious as you were before. People also do all sorts of funny (and sometimes dangerous) things from eating breakfast, to texting, and shaving while driving the car.
How long does it take?
Persistence is the key to accomplish anything worthwhile in life. There are some theories that talk about 66 days. It really depends on how complex your habit is. Some habits take 21 days, 66 days or even a year. The most important thing is to start with one and make it a daily habit and move on to bigger and better habits.
As you repeat the actions enough, your subconscious mind takes over and makes it automatic and effortless. You can use the three step habit formula described below to form some good habits that you have been postponing for a while. I had done my share of delaying habit formation and I am getting better at it.
3 R Process
We can form habits in three simple steps: Reminder, Routine and Rewards. For example, when you wake up in the morning you feel the bad breath and brush your teeth. Obviously, bad breath is the reminder, brushing teeth is the routine, good dental health is the reward.
In order to form new habits, we need to setup our own reminder; this could be an alarm in your cell phone. You can also the mobile apps such as Ever note, Remember the Milk, and Wunderlist. You can also use Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook; Reminder is available in multiple applications from phone to desktop.
Repeat to Make a Routine
Let us now talk about one habit to add it to your daily routine. My favorite habit is meditation because it leaves me feel energized for the entire day. If you want to add meditation as your daily habit, set up your alarm at 7 AM. As soon as the alarm is on, setup the timer for 10 minutes and sit down and go to silence with closed eyes.
When you are meditating, think about what do you want to have, and how it feels to have it now. Imagine that feeling, Think about the object of your goal in vivid terms. Involve all your five senses. This is a great exercise. We live in a busy world, having a quiet time for yourself is priceless gift. Once you are comfortable with 10 minutes, you can extend the time.
After completing the meditation or visualization for 10 minutes, you can appreciate yourself for the job well done. Reward doesn’t have to be something big. It could be as simple as self-appreciation for the job well done. You can reward yourself big after keeping it for 21 days.
You may be one or two habits away from accomplishing a big breakthrough in your life. Start with a simple habit. If you add one new habit every month, you’ll become a better person after one year with 12 new habits. That is all it takes to get what you want in your life.