How To Make A Big Difference In Your Life This Year (Just Working On This One Single Thing)

13 Comments Posted in Personal Development

Image courtesy of River Beach

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
~ Aristotle

Many of us know the importance of setting goals (if you have not read my article on my goals for 2011, you can read it – My 2011 Goals). However, not many of us know about the importance of positive habits and what it can do for us.

Your habits determine your behavior and your behavior will determine the results that you will have in life. You are what you do and therefore you are your habits.

Why You Need To Work On Gaining Good Habits

Regardless of good or bad habits, all your habits add up and they portray who you are. How much money you have in the bank account now is determined by the money habits you have. Whether you are overweight or slim is determined by whether you have the good habit of exercising regularly or not.

The probability of achieving your New Year Resolution or your goals for this year is also determined by whether you have the habit of following through. You can have a goal, anyone can have a goal, but not everyone will get into the habit of following through.

Don’t Rely On Willpower To Change Yourself

Willpower is not reliable at all. If you have tried to bulldoze your way through something, you may already know that relying on your willpower alone is not enough.

If you find it hard to wake up early in the morning, using your willpower to force yourself to wake up will only get you temporary results. You will find yourself getting back into your old ways soon again. If you try to use willpower to force yourself into eating a healthy diet, most likely it won’t stick too.

I know this clearly, because I failed a dozen times for trying to use my willpower to change. I had failed to change my diet permanently when I rely on my willpower to eat healthier. I had failed to sleep early consistently when I rely on my willpower to force myself into sleeping early. In both cases, I did not commit myself to turn these actions into my habits.

Willpower Is Temporary, Habits Are Forever

Ever wonder why trying to quit smoking is much harder than picking up the cigarette? Because picking up a cigarette is an action, a habit that you had done for many times. It becomes a way of life and more importantly, it is a bad habit of yours.

Some people may argue that it is the nicotine or whatever chemicals in the cigarettes that gets you addicted, but I think the human psychological factor plays a bigger part. If nicotine or any other chemicals are really that strong, than it means that it is impossible to quit smoking.

Nevertheless, the fact is there are many people who had successfully quit smoking and in fact, one common method that they use to help them to quit smoking is to replace the smoking habit with another positive habit.

It is like a redirection of the mind. When you have a habit of doing something every day, it is going to feel weird if you are to stop doing it one day. You have a habit “installed” in your mind that will go through its paces every time it wakes up. You need to replace one habit with another to make it stick.

How To Create Positive Habits In 3 Steps

1. Create One Habit At A Time

One habit at a time is the key to creating lasting change. It is hard to work on 2 or more habits at the same time. Working on too many habits may overwhelm you. The overwhelming effect can damage your confidence and cause procrastination. We don’t want all of that.

Remember why you are doing this in the first place – to create positive lasting changes (habits). Just make it easy for yourself and you will see your confidence soar when you start to accomplish the steps you need to achieve your habit every day. I will share with you a tool that I use to help me create my habits at the end of the post, but keep reading on to learn the essential steps.

2. Set A Habit You Want To Have And Do It For 21 Days Straight

You need to know what habits you want to have. I recommend you to brainstorm over a piece of paper. Think about what habits you want to have.

Some examples:

  • Exercise for 10 minutes every day
  • Drink 2 liters of water everyday
  • Eat at least 3 servings of fruits per day
  • Stop eating Macdonald. Eat only once per month.
  • Stop eating junk food
  • Stop smoking

Once you have a list of habits that you want to have, pick one that you think will make a big difference to your life if you have it. You don’t need to think too long about it, set a timer for 2 minutes and just make a decision before the timer goes. Life is too short to be stuck in decision paralysis.

After you had picked the habit you want to have, you need to perform it for 21 days straight. There are studies that show that you need at least 21 days to get into a new habit. So just get into it and keep your momentum rolling.

3. Tools You Need – Create Your Account At Habit Forge

I use Habit Forge to help me track my progress in creating new habits. It is a free tool and it is simple to use. Go create an account over Habit Forge, set the habit you want to have and it will send you daily emails. These emails need you to click on the Yes or No button depending on whether have you accomplished what you need to do.

This free tool will help you to keep track of your progress by going from Day 1 to Day 21. Every “Yes” you clicked will help you proceed to Day 2, Day 3 etc. However, when you miss a day, the clock will reset back to Day 0. You can even increase the accountability factor by adding and invite your friends to track your progress. Awesome tool for helping you create positive habits.

I hope you can achieve your goals and make a big difference to your life starting now by creating lasting positive habits. Reading will only get you knowledge, but taking action will get you results. I challenge you to start creating one new habit per month. Imagine how much positive changes you will create in your life after 1 year.

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Vincent
Wish you luck in creating new habits


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13 Responses to “How To Make A Big Difference In Your Life This Year (Just Working On This One Single Thing)”

  1. There is a certain amount of life that would be empty, if we didn’t have the prospect of working for ourselves ie. communism
    Trevor Hickey´s last blog post ..Interst Only Mortgage Rates Calgary Mortgage Brokers

  2. Jess says:

    Most of the time we are so lazy or full with daily errands that make our lives miserable, its becoming very hard to gain good habits. The irony is though, its to easy to gain the bad ones 🙂

  3. Delroy says:

    WOW that was the bomb!!! i will definetly try it
    THANKS MAN….:)

  4. Javier Chua says:

    Great advice Vincent, always start small and build up from there. One thing at a time will add things up.

    Cheers
    Javier
    Javier Chua´s last blog post ..My 5th Year Anniversary in Malacca

  5. Harry says:

    Great advice.

    I’d like to recommand a goal setting and habits buidling tool at http://www.GoalsOnTrack.com, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals and todo lists, and supports time tracking too. It’s clear, focused, easy to navigate, worth a try.

  6. Jia Jun says:

    Wow, Habit Forge seems very useful to help keep track of our habits change/growth.
    Thanks Vincent for sharing.
    Indeed, agree that Habits is the thing that form each of us, we are what we repeatedly do, like what Aristotle said. 🙂
    By looking at someone’s habits, we can somehow analysis his/her future, as many people barely/hardly change their habits. It does judge who there are, and who we are too.
    Jia Jun´s last blog post ..My Goals for 2011