We all have things we want in life. Whether it’s more money, more time with our kids, more freedom, or less stress, human nature fosters a desire to improve circumstances in every one of us. We all dream, but for far too many, that’s where it ends. The ghosts of past failures and perceived limitations quickly show up to spoil the party, and they’re often reinforced by the negativity of those we surround ourselves with, leading to abandoned dreams, stagnant careers, and unfulfilled lives.
For some, however, life’s circumstances seem to swing their way with a remarkable level of consistency. They always seem to catch all the breaks. Rather than spend their lives complaining, they’ve accepted that there are no shortcuts to success, and work hard to develop supportive behaviors and daily routines that significantly increase their odds of succeeding.
As the old expression goes, you’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. Your habits, therefore, are the foundation and framework of all that you experience in life. My friend Harry Hoopis often reminds us that “Good habits are hard to develop, but easy to live with. Bad Habits are easy to develop, hard to live with.” Good habits include the obvious – brushing your teeth every day, exercising, choosing oatmeal over Twinkies for breakfast. Others are not so obvious, until we really take a close look at the correlation between our daily behaviors and current circumstances in life. The reality is that the most successful people you know have had just as challenging a time forming good habits as you, and conditioning yourself to the right behaviors is not as hard as you think.
For starters, here are four proven strategies for putting yourself on the road to success and happiness, one habit at a time:
1. Surround Yourself with Supportive People. You’ll only be as successful as those you spend time with, so choose wisely. Eliminate the naysayers from your life, and focus on surrounding yourself with those that energize you, inspire you, and believe in you. This is a tough one, since often times, the people we care about and are closest to may fall into this category, but who knows. You may just end up changing someone else’s life in the process.
2. Set up your Environment. Create a vision board of what you want, what’s important to you, and why it matters, and keep it front and center. Remove the creature comforts when you’re at work, including all your electronic devices. Email, texting, and mindlessly surfing the web are one giant universe of distractions. Replace these with motivational quotes, and other objects of inspiration.
3. Utilize Technology. Though at first glance, this may appear to contradict #2, the smartphone in your pocket can be become a powerful habit formation tool, if you empower it to do so. Leveraging the alerts, reminders, and progress bars of apps like Vivo Mobile or Strides can automate how you condition your brain to new routines.
4. Find an Accountability Partner. You’re going to fall off track. We all do. So, you’ll need someone to call you out on that, to remind you of what you’ve committed to, and what you’re aspiring to accomplish. This could be a friend, colleague, boss, coach, or anyone else, but it should be someone you respect and will listen to. A professional coach is often the best choice here, since they’re paid to help you squash your bad habits once and for all.
Most of all, remember that each of these items is a controllable step to getting more of what you want out of life. We’re fooled at times to believe that luck is the underlying factor the success stories that pop up all around us, but the truth is much simpler. It takes desire, commitment, and discipline, and luck has a tendency to pop up quite often where there’s an abundance of these three at work.