I’m a firm believer in the importance of building successful habits. I’ve noticed that the thousands of people in business that I’ve worked with have some common characteristics. One of the big ones is that they have and continue to develop positive habits.
For me, though, there is one habit that is the most important of all:
If you look at any area of your life or business that isn’t where you want it to be, the chances are it’s because of a lack of self-discipline.
When I see someone whose sales are below forecast, they’ve often stopped doing the basic things they know they need to do. When I see someone whose fitness is not where they want it to be, it’s often because of a lack of self-discipline and consistency.
The first thing is to be aware of how important is to be self-disciplined and consistent. By reading this, you’re already a step down that road. Then, it’s simply a matter of how you can become more self-disciplined.
The easiest way I have built a habit of self-discipline is by setting myself little tests. I’m talking about something small, almost insignificant. For example, it could be starting the day by writing down your most important goal for the day. It could be deciding to always take the stairs and not the lift. What you choose isn’t that important, as long as you pick something really small and stick to it.
What happens is that by always starting the day by writing your number one goal, you begin to do something very important:
1. You begin to build trust with yourself
Building trust with yourself helps you develop self-discipline. You get to the stage that when you say you’re going to do something you do it. Over time, it becomes ingrained that you are the type of person who does what they say.
Over time, increase the quantity and quality of new habits you commit to, so that you’re creating great work and life practices.
2. Link your habits closely to your goals
A simple way to stay on track with this trust-building exercise is to make your habits have a strong connection to your desired outcome.
When I began to build the habit of ‘exceptional personal organisation’ I found it easier to have self-discipline by connecting to the outcome of:
Developing my personal organisation and using my time wisely will allow me to take more holidays.
I take between 8 and 10 weeks a year off. I’m able to this because I stick to my principle of being exceptionally well organised. Simply put, my diary and my task lists are a thing of beauty!
3. It becomes a virtuous circle
When you connect your habits to your outcomes, you’ll see what this new habit is going to help you to achieve. Then, when you see it working, it helps you become more consistent and disciplined with the new habit. And as you gain confidence in this approach, you’ll add new habits every few months (I add a new habit every quarter). Over time, with a more disciplined approach to creating new habits, you should see accelerated results, whether it’s in your personal or business life.
Once you have a handle on self-discipline, there’ll be no stopping you.
1 September 2019
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