Habits are a part of everyone’s life. We are all creatures of habit who follow patterns in our thoughts and behaviors.
While this may seem obvious, what isn’t obvious is that we have to deliberately design our habits if we want them to move us towards success and happiness.
In Million Dollar Habits by Brian Tracy, he says, “The fact is that good habits are hard to form but easy to live with. Bad habits, on the other hand, are easy to form but hard to live with. In either case, you develop either good or bad habits as the result of your repeated choices, decisions, and behaviors.”
If you have never thought about habits and simply went through the motions of life, then most likely you haven’t developed many good habits. Since good habits are hard to develop, most people take the path of least resistance. This tends to result in instant gratification, and ultimately, bad habits.
But if you take the time to design your habits and create positive habits in your life, then once they are there you can reap the rewards. Take the time to build that foundation and it can provide benefits long after.
This is because so much of our lives are driven by habit. Tracy states, “Perhaps the most important discovery when it comes to the psychology of success is that fully 95 percent of everything you think, feel, do, and achieve is the result of habit. Beginning in childhood, you have developed a series of conditioned responses that lead you to behave automatically and unthinkingly in almost every situation.”
If you can design your habits, and you design positive habits, then those patterned thoughts and behaviors can lead you towards a life of success and happiness. It isn’t easy to do, it is hard. But after the hard work of developing them, they become “easy to live with” because you just keep going with them without paying much attention to them.
Imagine being offered a deal. The dealmaker says that he can give you $25,000 right now. Or, he can give you $1000 per month for the rest of your life. You can do the math and easily see that if you die tomorrow, you should have taken the up-front money ($25,000 versus $1000) and if you life for another 50 years you should take the monthly payout ($25,000 versus $600,000).
Many people would quickly take the $25,000 and come up with many reasons why that is the better choice. But really they are just following their craving for instant gratification. It doesn’t matter what the math says, they will follow the quick jolt of a win instead of delaying gratification for a better future.
We all have the ability to forego pleasure now for a better future. We all can build the right habits to drive us towards happiness and success. But we have to realize that we are the designer of our habits, and ultimately, our lives.
To distinguish between those who develop bad habits versus those that develop positive habits, Tracy says, “To put it simply, successful people have ‘success habits,’ and unsuccessful people do not. Successful, happy, healthy, and prosperous men and women easily, automatically, and consistently do and say the right things in the right way at the right time. As a result, they accomplish 10 or 20 times more than average people who have not yet learned these habits or practiced these behaviors.”
Start to develop your own success habits. It may be hard at first, but the reward will be a lifetime of happiness and success that is “easy to live with”.
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