I write a lot about why effort is less important than we think when it comes to accomplishing goals and reaching new levels of success. I feel that people put way too much value on effort and motivation and not enough emphasis on habit and routine.
But habit and routine are what will keep us driving towards success through all the ups and downs of everyday life. If we can keep consistent with the habits driving us towards the future we want to create, we can keep making progress through all types of adversity.
Stephen King is one of the most successful authors of all time. In Brain Briefs Art Markman, PhD and Bob Duke, PhD say about King, “He has also written a lot about his own writing process. His big secret? He writes every day. Each morning, he gets up and writes for a few hours. He suggests that writers need to develop habits around writing just like everyone needs to create a routine around going to sleep at night.”
Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most successful comedians of all time. He has been known to tell up-and-coming comedians that, before he was successful, he would write jokes every single day. He didn’t worry about whether they were perfect, just that he was constantly writing.
Even Mike Duffy from Fender Guitars understands the importance of habit for musicians. In the article Rome and Jimi Hendrix weren’t built in a day, he states, “Build Habits. Create a routine that is so simple, you’d be crazy to skip it-say 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon.”
When we think of big goals and creative pursuits we tend to overlook the importance of practice, habit, and routine. But this is exactly how some of the most successful people created tremendous works.
Whatever it is that you want to do, are you doing it every day? Are you focused on building the right routine, or do you just hope that one day the expertise just comes to you?
Start to shift your focus to be on starting and fine-tuning your routines to help move you forward and start to build progress. It will contain very small steps and show slow progress initially but over time will start to grow and grow. Only then will you have the chance to achieve something great. It won’t happen by accident and won’t happen without putting in the work first.