How to Choose the Habits That Will Make You a Success

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Your habits shape your days. Whatever comes naturally and easily, you will do more of and attract more of into your life.

Most people have habits like brushing their teeth every morning, showering at specific times, eating at specific times but also negative habits that they just pick up, like biting their nails.
Habits
Choosing your own habits
What many fail to understand is that you can actually choose your habits.
You can decide what habits you want to have, what you want to have come naturally.

By choosing your habits you take control over your life and decide what you want to do each day and stop the habits that are keeping you from succeeding.

By choosing habits that benefit you, you will start acting naturally in a manner that will help you succeed.

Habits are formed over time
When you have decided to make an action become a habit, it takes time. You need to continuously focus on acting in that manner until it becomes a habit, that it comes naturally.

Some habits can be formed just by performing them once, others can take months, even years to form a strong hold. It depends on how complex the habit is and how much resistance you feel to it.

For a medium complex habit, such as working out for 30 minutes per day, we usually say it takes about 21 days of commitment for the habit to form.

Like a cable strengthening itself
A good likeness to creating a new habit is like binding a cord.
Every time you act as your habit states, you add a piece of string to your cord, it gets a little stronger. But in the beginning it is still very weak, a little strain (such as not acting according to the habit) will break the cord and you have to start over.

I learned while reading “Million Dollar Habits” by Brian Tracy
In “Million Dollar Habits” Brian shares habits he thinks you should adopt and that will help you succeed. He also describes how habits are formed in more detailed.

When I read the book I wrote down all the habits I felt I wanted and started incorporating them one at a time.
Some of them I found were:
Smiling, listening, fixing my looks every morning, calling 1 friend per day, writing down my goals every morning, reading personal development 1 hour per day, doing pushups every morning and evening, visualizing my goals every evening, reading self-affirmations every morning, planning my weeks, organizing my weeks among others.

These habits have helped me with my success and helped me substantially increase my income.

A change of life style
Changing your habits will change your life. If you act according to positive habits instead of negative you will start noticing a change in the world around you. You will start acting in accordance to your goals and naturally move faster and faster towards your goals.

A change of path
When you start changing your view of the world and your part in it, the path you are on starts to change, you will start moving in other directions, at a new pace and more aligned with your dreams.

Your success is dependent on it
If you want to succeed you need to act in accordance. You need to spend time on the right activities and spend your time and energy in the smartest way possible.

The 3 steps to choosing your habits
1. Make a list of all the habits you would like to have
2. Start with one at a time and in every situation where you are confronted with the action, follow your habit. Don’t let anything stop you from doing it. Think about it until it comes naturally.
3. Start with the next habit on your list.

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Photo Credit: кофе

                                                                                                                          

Related posts:

  1. How to Break Bad Habits
  2. Book Review: Million Dollar Habits, By Brian Tracy
  3. Lessons Learned From Stephen Coveys 7 Habits
  4. How to Deal With Procrastination Problems and Break Bad Habits
  5. Book Review: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
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27 Responses to How to Choose the Habits That Will Make You a Success

  1. Alex Papa says:

    Hi Daniel,
    It is indeed very true that you can choose your habits, just as you can choose you thoughts, actions, and responses.
    After reading several books and blogs like yours I have learned that I can decide what habits I want to have. I see that if I practiced something new that benefits me for 3 weeks it will become a habit.
    For example, I used to spend a whole day without drinking enough water. When I started taking 8-10 glasses of water was not easy. But I made it a habit by doing it non stop for 3 weeks. Now it has become natural! I have lost weight and feel healthier.
    As you say, by choosing habits that benefit you, we start acting in a manner that will help us succeed.
    Alex Papa

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Great advise Alex.
      That is great that you have found the time it takes you to form a habit.
      Everyone is unique with our own requirements. When we have found what it takes for us to change our actions, making changes is a lot easier.

      From all your reading and trying out different habits, which habit would you say has benefited you the most? And which has been hardest to form?

  2. Hi Daniel,

    Wow, you are so right. We a people of habits. You have some good habits going on there. I have tried the 21 days in changing a bad habit or aquiring a good habit and yes this does work. I do believe many people should work on is self talk. Sometimes the way we talk to ourselves can stop us in our tracks. Working with the positive affirmations like you say can really help with self talk.

    Thanks for all the great ideas on changing and making good habits.
    Blessing to you,
    Debbie

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hi Debbie,
      Thanks for stopping by, always a pleasure to have you :)
      Self affirmations have really helped me improve my confidence and courage.
      What benefits have you had from using self affirmations?

  3. Timo Kiander says:

    Hi Daniel!

    Habits are very very important for reaching your goals.

    “Changing your habits will change your life.” This is so true … One of the biggest ones for me has been waking up early, so that I can work on my blog and go to the gym before I hit the office.

    Sometimes creating one habit gives room for other habits: like waking up early (habit #1) so that you can work on my stuff (habit #2) exercise (habit #3) before office hours.

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Good point Timo.
      That is great advise, and really falls under the category or prioritizing. If you had tried your second habit first, you would either be very stressed in the morning or you would have been late to work. By starting on habit 1 you made it possible to work on both 2 and 3.

      How did you go about creating that first habit?
      Many people have a lot of problems shaving off 30 minutes in the morning.

  4. Timo Kiander says:

    Hi Daniel!

    It all started couple of years ago, when I changed my lifestyle radically. In 2006 I started running marathons and next year competing in triathlon races. And, because there is lots of workouts to be done related to those, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle everything during the afternoon hours.

    So, I decided to wake up earlier, because I needed to have two exercises per day – one in the morning and another one in the afternoon. And this is what I’m doing nowadays as well.

    I guess the biggest reason for me to create this habit was that I was (and I still am) highly motivated whenever it comes to my sports hobbies. I have certain goals I want to reach and in order to do that, it requires work. Obviously, if I wasn’t motivated enough, I’d still be a late riser :)

    Currently, when having full-time job plus hobbies (and now starting my online business), I need to squeeze every minute out of my free time. However, it’s the motivation that takes me forward.

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Great points Timo (and probably enough great content for you to write a post for your blog!).

      Motivation is required to create any habit. You have to know why you are forcing yourself out of your comfort zone.

  5. Timo Kiander says:

    Daniel,

    Thank you for the tip about the blog post! I wouldn’t have realized that myself :)

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Whenever I get inspiration off writing a long comment I try to make it into a post. Haven’t done it in a while, but if you saw my blog about 5 months ago there were a few posts that said they were an extension of a reply on X post about Z.

      We can never get to much content, might as well use what we have ;)

      //Daniel

  6. Paul Wolfe says:

    Daniel

    Most people aren’t even aware that they can change their habits. I’m in the middle of making writing a daily habit. There are 25 of us engaged in a semi formal challenge to write 100 articles in 100 days. So far we are on Day 14.

    I know from experience that if I can get to Day 30 that I’ll be well on the way to creating a strong habit that will benefit my blog, my other website, and both my online businesses. I already have a month worth of blog posts in the bank….this habit is extremely productive for me.

    Is it life changing? Probably not, but it’s certainly increasing the velocity at which I’m attaining my goals. Good post – learning how to create a habit is something everyone needs to know.

    Paul

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Great work Paul.
      Writing a post a day is a great habit to have. Being able to produce that much content is very valuable.

      I write between 5 and 7 posts a week which lets me publish regularly to my blog, save up for future posts (in case I get sick or have a very busy schedule) write guest posts and write for a magazine that has hired me :)

      If you stick with it, you will be able to write an article a day for as long as you want, which will of course produce awesome results for you down the line.

      Keep up the good work Paul!

  7. I agree that one can choose to form habits. I mean obviously people will have learned and picked up some bad habits but its also up to break them and form new ones to keep us motivated and successful.

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hi Fico,
      Thanks for stopping by and welcome to Looking to Business.
      Building a good reportoire of habits is both fun and important. You can feel how you improve by doing it and the results you get are instant.

      Have you worked much with your habits?

  8. Samuel says:

    Awesome post bro. Choosing the right habit is the sure-fire way to succeed. Though choosing alone will not make you go forward, but when you pratice and master it I bet you will go forward. Changing your thoughts is the key to unlock success doors. Thanks so much for sharing. Have fun :)

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Thanks a lot for commenting Samuel.
      What habit would you consider to be your most important habit? The one that has made the greatest difference in your life?

  9. Daniel, look at all these comments, awesome brother, you’re blowin up my friend!

    Love the article here, and it’s cool to see all the habits you’ve developed to become such a success. Keep it up man!!

    Marcus

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Thanks a lot for the compliment Marcus.
      We have known each other from the start of our blogs. It has been great watching you grow, you have done a great job my friend.

  10. Jon says:

    Fantastic way to look at life here. It’s so true that you can choose your habits, we have much more control over our own lives than we give ourselves credit.

    Your closing is great and actionable: make a list of all the habits we’d like to have. Essentially, we’re reinventing ourselves. We’re committing by putting pen to paper and transferring that message to our subconscious minds. We can see it.

    I’ve also read that “21 days” to a new routine somewhere just as you stated. If we can just hang in for 3 short weeks we can already be a step ahead of where we are now. Just 3 weeks. Isn’t it worth investing that short time into ourselves?

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hi Jon,

      Thanks for stopping by and welcome to Looking To Business.com.
      The power we have over our future is more than most people understand.

      Just like you say, we only need to invest 3 weeks in ourselves to make a difference.

      How can that not be worth it?!

  11. Well I’m all for cultivating good habits. To me, it seems that you have to gain some awareness as to what’s empowering and disempowering. Without the proper awareness you will continue the same behavioral patterns and wonder why today looks such so much like the day before. And course repetition and practice is required until the new behavior becomes a conditioned response. I like to focus on having some kind of good accountability system in place that hold my feet to the fire if I begin to drift off and become unproductive.
    Riley

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Great point Riley.
      I have used goal setting as my motivator and accountability factor, both long term and short term. It helps me see what doesn’t help me and what does make a positive impact.
      It also keeps me responsible.

      What do you do?

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  13. Olivia says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I want to share my experience about changing habits. 3 years ago my 17 year long relationship ended. In the last 5-6 years we had a conflict we were not able to solve. I couldn’t understand what was happening. We did enjoy lots of activities together, loved to spend time together, we made each other laugh. I was getting increasingly overwhelmed and the activities I loved started to be too much for me. I accused my partner that all what he is thinking about was fun. I knew that the problem was that he was retired and I was still working.

    Since he left I really started to focus on myself. Taking time away from TV and just spend lots of time in stillness and listening to my heart. I finally discovered where the problem was.

    I am a morning person. I love the stillness of the morning hours. (5 AM) Early in the morning I do little exercise, planning my day, reflecting, over the weekend I get leisurely done lots of work around the house, etc. Because I get up early to get enough sleep I need to go to bed early too.

    My partner was a night person. He liked to sleep late (10-11 AM) and stay up late. Often until 2-3 AM. He also liked to take naps during the day. He had always fun ideas what to do which I was only happy to join and also because it was fun way to spend time together. The only problem over the years was that I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I slept late and often got to bed to late. I worked 4 days 11 hours and was often very tired at work. I love my job but wasn’t able to enjoy it because of my tiredness. To do my work around the house I just squeezed here and there quickly the most important chore. The only things I was enjoying was the activities with my partner. I didn’t have time just to be, time for reflection. I felt that I am always on the go. I started to hate the activities I used to love. At the end my body and my mind couldn’t do it anymore.

    Because I took the time to listen to myself I found out what is important to me, what was me. There was nothing wrong with my partner. He had his habits which worked for him. I didn’t realize our differences in our personal habits. Especially the long term effects. Since my partner left I learned the importance of being true to myself. A lesson I wasn’t able to see when we were together.

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hi Olivia,

      Thank you very, very much for sharing this story.
      Sorry for my late reply.

      It is sad that a relationship can break down because of a difference in habits, but like you said you had your energy highs when he slept and he when you needed to sleep.

      the mix caused both of you to become tired and annoyed which undercut your relationship.

      Understanding your needs, habits and abilities will give you the opportunity to make changes, hopefully before it is to late.

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