The Force of Habits



Are we always completely conscious of our actions and decisions every day? We are on the surface. But, there’s a magnetic force that’s constantly pulling us toward doing the same things over and over again. And once we do those things over and over again over a period of months and years, that magnet pulls stronger and stronger.


Sometimes, this force is a good thing. There are likely things you do every day that are great for your health, family, and business. You do these things without really thinking about them.


But there are other things that aren’t so great for your health, family, and business. These things consistently lead to bad results and you aren’t sure how to stop them.


This “force” I’m talking about is called habit. We all have good habits and bad habits. We have habits that have been around since childhood and habits that are newer.


We have habits we’re proud of and habits we’re not so proud of. We have habits we’re comfortable with and habits we’re not so comfortable with. The problem with that last one is that sometimes we become far too comfortable with poor habits, simply because they’ve been a part of us for so long.


There are lots of things that go into creating a habit. You’ve consciously adopted some habits. Others have snuck up on you, for better or for worse.


Sometimes, you identify a habit you know is bad news and you work really hard to change it. The problem comes when that force is just too strong and you can’t seem to get away from it no matter how hard you try.


Habit is a very tricky thing. The people who you’re jealous of who consistently seem happy and successful are that way due to their habits. It’s arguably much easier for some people to develop good habits than others.


In many ways, it’s a matter of nature. You might be a naturally organized person or a naturally disorganized person. If you fall into the latter category, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost. It means you have to work harder to develop habits of organization.


Some people have the habit of focus. They can totally focus on their work and turn it off when they’re done. They consistently reach their goals much more quickly than you do. The ability to focus is a combination of many things, but habits are a strong part of that. It might be harder for you, but you can develop the habit of focusing and providing yourself with an environment that’s easier to focus in.


Changing Habits


I’ve more than hinted that it doesn’t matter what your habits are right now, you can work to change them. That’s the key word—“work.”


Changing habits doesn’t come easy. Habits become a part of you. You fall prey to them without thinking.


You can develop new habits. Habits are the things you do without thinking about them. They become part of what you naturally do or what take very little effort to do.


You have to consciously change a habit at first. You’ll likely have many ups and downs along the way because those old, ingrained habits will try to take over like a magnetic force.


Over time, the new habit takes hold and it gets easier and easier. Then, you’ll naturally fall into a pattern and that habit will become a true habit.


Once you’ve “fixed” or adopted one positive habit, you can focus on the next one. That’s because we can only focus on so much at one time. Changing habits happens little by little. Over time, you can become one of those people with “naturally” wonderful habits.


Why Is It So Hard To Develop New Habits?


You really have to dedicate yourself to this process. If it were as easy as deciding you want to change habits and then just doing it, we’d all be perfectly functioning beings. That’s not the case at all.


Anything worth having is worth working for, and you will have to work hard to develop new habits. You’ll have to be conscious of it and look out for those times when it seems like it will be too hard. Set yourself up for success by knowing what to expect and really dedicating yourself to developing new, positive habits.


It’s hard to change habits because they really become part of you. Some have stuck around since you were a child. Some are seemingly part of your nature. It becomes easier to change once you’re really aware of your shortcomings (which is why you have to be honest with yourself). Then, you have to come up with a game plan.


It can take around 21 to 30 days (or more!) of conscious, concentrated effort to change a habit.


Get over that hump and then it becomes so much easier. The human mind is complicated and habits are a feature of survival in many cases. The thing is that we have so much on our plates in modern society that it’s easy to short circuit and fall into bad patterns. It’s hard to overcome patterns that have become well worn with time. It’s worth it, though.


Changing a Habit in 30 Days


I mentioned that it can take 30 days or more to change a habit. I know you feel like you can just choose to change and make it happen. But your own history shows that’s not the case.


It’s important to come up for a plan for changing one habit over the next 30 days. Focus on just one…it’s not easy to change multiple habits at a time and can really backfire.


The more you do something, the closer it comes to becoming a habit. 30 days is a great time frame where you can really make great progress on developing or changing a habit.


Make a List of the Habits You Want To Change


I’m sure you could list many, many things you want to change about your habits. Go ahead and make that list. Get it all down on paper and out of your head. When you do this sort of brainstorming, you might surprise yourself at what pops out.


Focus On Just One


Think about what’s really negatively affecting your life or business. What would make a huge difference if you could change or eliminate it? What stands out the most and would have the biggest impact if corrected?


Choose just one habit you’re going to focus on for now. You can always revisit the other things later on. Habit change is a ‘slow and steady wins the race’ sort of thing.


Work on that habit and that habit alone over the next 30 days, and beyond if you still struggle with it.


Layer New, Positive Habits


Once you’ve worked on changing one habit and you’ve successfully done so, it’s time to layer in a new positive habit. Focus on that one for 30 days, keeping up with the other habit.


Rinse and repeat.


Continue on down the line. Change and create better habits. Fix yourself one piece at a time. You can change habits related to your life and business. Focus on habits that bother you the most and that will have the biggest impact on your mindset.


Layer these habits and you can finally live life your way. People will start to really admire you and wonder what your secret is. The ‘secret’ will be that you’re willing to work really hard to change habits so you can work better and faster and live easier.


The great news is that developing positive habits makes it easier to develop other positive habits. It’s catching, in many ways.


Change Your Habits for the Better over the Long Term


Never give up. If there’s a habit you have that bothers you, figure out a game plan so you can change it. Isolate that habit and do whatever you can to really focus on changing it and replacing it with a new and better habit.


Look at the people you admire. What daily habits do they have? One at a time, focus on adopting those positive habits.


Review your habits every once in a while. This will really be a lifelong process and journey of self-discovery. No one is perfect and no one has perfect habits. But you can work to better yourself. You can make life easier for yourself by developing positive habits.


Right now, your negative habits are really making things challenging for you. They’re making it harder for you to work well, achieve, and be happy. Better habits lead to happiness, success, and better outcomes all the way around.


Expect to have many ups and downs, especially with tricky habits you previously believed to be a part of you (like procrastination, for example). Be patient with yourself and try to look at old problems in new ways. Habit change is a challenge but it’s really worth it. Stick with it no matter what—especially when you know that adopting a certain habit could really change your life.