Where Are Your Habits Leading You? by Jack Canfield

You are an accumulation of your habits. From how you get out of bed to how you shower; how you dress; how you walk, sit and talk; how you respond to the world; how you act in front of others; and how you think, you are living out your habits. Habits are necessary. They free up your mind so that you can concentrate on how to survive every day. You don’t have to think about how to drive your car so you can be on the lookout for danger while you are driving. You don’t have to think about how to walk so you can concentrate on where you are going.

Unfortunately, habits can also keep you locked in self-destructive patterns, which will limit your success. To become successful, you will need to drop bad habits and develop new ones that are in line with the life you want to live. People do not suddenly appear in the life they want to live—habits determine their outcome! What are the habits you have that are keeping you from achieving your goals? Are you always running late? Do you return phone calls within 24 hours? Do you get enough sleep? Do you speak clearly and look people directly in their eyes? Do you eat healthy meals? Ask others what they observe about you and make a list of all the behaviors that keep you from success.

Imagine what your life would be like if all those habits were their productive counterparts. What would your life be like if you ate healthy meals, exercised and got enough sleep? What would your life be like if you saved money, stopped using credit cards and paid cash for everything? What would your life be like if you stopped procrastinating, overcame your fears and began networking with people in your field? Write down the more productive habits and visualize your life as it would be if they were your habits right now.

Decide to develop four of your new habits each year, one for each quarter. Create a method that will support your new habit. What will keep you motivated? How will you remind yourself of your new habit? You could write it down on a card that you keep with you and read over several times a day. You could make it a part of your daily visualization. You could enlist the help of an accountability partner who also has habits to change. Be specific about the steps that you are willing to take in order to drop an old habit and adopt a new one. Do not be vague about how you will change your habits. Spell it out for yourself so that you can recognize situations that call for you to act out your new habit.

Once you have picked your habit for that quarter, make a 100 percent commitment to stick to it. Do not tempt yourself by making it optional every time a situation arises. If your new habit is to go to bed by 10 p.m., then go to bed at 10 p.m., even if you are not feeling tired. Just go there and relax, read a book, visualize or meditate, but don’t compromise on your new habit. If you make an exception once, you are more likely to make an exception the next time, and soon you will be back to your old habits.

Even four new habits a year will dramatically shift your life to be more in line with your vision. And the more in line it becomes, the easier the other habits are to replace because your perspective is shifting and you see more clearly how your old habits are not serving you anymore. You can do it!

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