If we are not creating anything new on a regular basis, we are probably heading in the wrong direction… and blaming others or finding excuses. If we are not consistently creating something new, we are destroying possibilities and potential.
According to a recent study conducted and published by Duke University, more than 40 percent of our daily actions are habits. Some habits serve us; others do not. The key is learning how to recondition limiting or destructive habits with empowering ones. As you go through your day, try and identify how many times you find yourself doing the same things at the same time for the same reasons. Some people wake up in the morning and habitually grab a cigarette, or their phone, or get out of bed and grab a cup of coffee. By becoming mindful of our habits, we can better understand our actions and, in turn, make more deliberate and success-oriented choices.
Keep in mind that when habits materialize, our brains stop fully participating in the decision-making process. We sort of operate on autopilot. In many cases, habits are formed without our consent or full awareness – our intellectual capacity is diminished; severely at times. For instance, we eat ice cream every night prior to going to bed, stop working out or going to the gym on a regular basis, return home after work and reflexively turn on the television, or awake every day with the fear of being unemployed, lonely, broke, or unhealthy.
But once we become AWARE of our habits and identify those that do NOT serve or benefit us, we can change our thoughts and beliefs to create new patterns of behavior, new routines, and new actions that generate new outcomes; in other words – new habits to create a better quality of life. We replace some TV time with a consistent exercise regimen. We read a book on job search or hire a coach who helps us to neutralize fear so we wake up every day with courage and hope. We can do this by:
- Using Discipline as our guide. Discipline means being conscious of our thoughts, beliefs, and habits. Discipline means doing what we DON’T WANT TO DO in pursuit of what we want. Discipline means taking self-responsibility to do those things we need to do that enrich the quality of our lives.
- Embracing discomfort. To break any habit and replace it with a new one that will provide us the opportunity to live a better quality life, but suggests that we will need to accept and endure some degree of discomfort. Discomfort DOES NOT equal pain. In fact, discomfort suggests liberation and freedom from old, limiting, and destructive habits. For the first few nights, it might be a bit discomforting to eat the apple rather than the ice cream. But when we embrace the discomfort and envision the significant benefits of switching from ice cream to an apple (a healthier body and lifestyle), we then recondition our habits and will soon routinely reach for the apple a day.
Napoleon Hill, author of the book, Think and Grow Rich (the bible of all success books), said, “Desire is the starting point of all achievement… not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”
We often undervalue goals and ambitions that would make life more valuable. Author Neale Donald Walsch said, “Somewhere between the age of 40 and 50, most, most people have given up on their grandest dreams, set aside their highest hopes, and settled for their lowest expectations… or nothing at all.” Why do most people place limitations on their abilities and potential? The answer is “fear.” Most people are afraid to set significant goals for themselves because they fear they can’t achieve them. They fear failure, rejection, ridicule, and resistance. Hill said it so well when he says, “a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” When desire transcends everything, there is no such thing as fear of failure, rejection, ridicule, or resistance. And if there is… it doesn’t matter!
It’s true that if we don’t have exciting goals for ourselves, we will be destined to awake every day of our lives to help others achieve theirs… at the expense of our own.
TRY THIS: Ask people what has to happen so that this year will be the best year of their lives… and most haven’t a clue. Ask people what their true potential is and what is genuinely possible for them if they were to identify and pursue it… and most haven’t a clue. Ask people when are you going to get going and be all you can be to achieve all you can achieve?”… and most haven’t a clue. We all have pulsating desires. We only need to muster the courage to identify and pursue them. We can do this by:
- Taking the time to go within. Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” So we must take the time and examine what our hearts yearn for. Once we awaken the giant within, we need to write our desires and goals down on paper… and pursue them with reckless abandon.
- Acknowledging the consequences of settling for less and knowing we never gave life our best shot… that there are no do overs in life. Perhaps this shot of reality, this shot of self-inflicted pain, will be the catalyst for going for the gold in the short time we have on this planet!
So, hey… what’s new? Hopefully you won’t respond… “Same old same old.”