A Simple Way to Build Good Habits

I got married when I was nearly 30, and my wife and I had our first child when I was 34.  By that time, I’d built a lot of single-guy habits.  One of them was that I did whatever I wanted without thinking too much about it or checking with anyone.

So one day I needed to pop down to the store for something, so I hopped in the car, did my errand and came back home.  There at the door was my young wife, and even I could tell that she was clearly unhappy.  No, she was really mad.  Actually furious.  Beyond furious.  And I had no idea what I’d done.

Then she reminded me that I was supposed to be watching the baby while she was out, and she’d come home to an empty house with the baby asleep and me, nowhere to be found.  Suddenly I remembered.  Right!  Of course! The baby!  Whoops!  I’m a dad!

Bad habits are hard to break, and good ones are hard to start.

But the truth is that your life is simply a series of habits, because you are what you do every day.  And your life is a collection of days.  So whatever habits you employ daily is a summary of who you are.

If you want to be financially secure but don’t have a savings/investment habit, you’ll never get there.  If you want to be wise but never read anything, it isn’t going to happen.

So, here is one simple idea to help you begin a good habit.  It’s so easy.

Leave visual reminders for yourself of the good habits you want to form

  • Put your runners in front of the door so you remember to go for a run
  • Place a water bottle on your nightstand so you drink it as soon as you wake up
  • Put a post-it note on the fridge reminding you that there are no treats today (my wife’s)
  • Leave a book on your pillow so you remember to read it before going to bed
  • Leave your to-do list on your desk so you do it as soon as you sit down
  • Put a bowl of fruit on the table so you remember to eat a piece each day
  • Leave a weight on your favorite chair so you lift it while watching Netflix
  • Leave your journal sitting on the seat of the chair of your writing desk
  • Write a reminder to yourself and stick it on your steering wheel
  • Keep a running list of everything you spend on the fridge so you keep track

Visual reminders are a simple way to remember to do the things that matter to you.

Dreams without plans are simply fantasies that will never come true.  So once you decide what kind of person you want to be, it’s your job to install simple habits so that each day, you do the things that the person you aim to become does.

This is true for companies too.  Great ones don’t change everything overnight.  They’re simply committed to continual incremental improvement.  These changes accumulate over time and add up to major growth and health.  It just takes patience and a commitment to doing the simple things right, again and again.

Try this simple technique to get one percent better this week!  If you get one percent better every day, you’ll be twice as good in 3 months.  Once percent better every week will see you twice as good in a year and a half.

Start today!  Make it obvious to your brain about who your future self will be!

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Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.”  He is also co-founder and senior instructor at www.professionalleadershipinstitute.com https://www.professionalleadershipinstitute.com/

Find more about “The Power of People Skills” here: https://www.amazon.com/Power-People-Skills-Dramatically-Performance/dp/1632651068

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