Lisa Allen, was thirty-four years old, had started smoking and drinking when she was sixteen, and had struggled with obesity for most of her life. In her mid-twenties, collection agencies were hounding her to recover $10,000 in debts. She was alone, had a drinking problem, was a chain smoker, and depressed. An old resume listed her longest job as lasting less than a year. One day she decided enough was enough. In just one year Lisa quit smoking, lost 60 pounds and ran a marathon. She also started a master’s degree and bought a home.
A one-time marketing star, Drake Stimson was working on the line at Procter & Gamble when he discovered a seemingly insignificant pattern while studying videos of how people clean their homes. This “Ah ha moment” resulted in the company making a small adjustment in advertising, and the failing product Febreze went from being one of the company’s biggest product flops to earning well over $1 billion dollars a year!
Claude Hopkins, a prominent executive ad man, was approached by a friend with a new business idea. The friend had created an amazing product and was convinced it would be a hit. It was a toothpaste, a minty, frothy concoction he called “Pepsodent.” He wanted Hopkins to help with a design and a national promotional campaign. At first Hopkins declined, but due to the persistence of his friend he agreed. Within five years, Hopkins turned Pepsodent into one of the best-known products on earth, and in the process, helped create a toothbrushing habit that spread across America at a startling speed.
What do all three of these stories have in common?
In the book, The Power of Habit, best-selling author Charles Duhigg, believes their success came from a shift in the patterns that shaped their very lives, and ours — HABITS.
Habits are powerful. They form our destiny. The good news is we can consciously choose our habits to serve us. That conscious shift in your key habits can help you transform your relationships, your finances, your business — and your life!
Stephen Covey in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People says, “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” It begins by sowing a thought. By thinking in a certain way and then deciding to act in a certain way you develop a habit and that habit develops character, and by sowing into your character you reap a destiny.
It’s the small things we do everyday that make the difference. In his book, The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy says you will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. In other words — your habits.
Here are 6 life-changing habits you can adopt right now
- Exercise/Eating – Exercising can be a “keystone habit”. If you could exercise 30 minutes a day, it will change your energy level, your mood, your ability to pay attention to people, your mental focus, your peace of mind. It affects so many other areas of your life, which is why it is described as a “keystone habit.” Also remember the stuff you put in your body affects your mood, your energy, and your health. Food can either serve you or destroy you.
- Gratitude – The attitude of gratitude will change your altitude. It is impossible to be angry or depressed when you are showing gratitude. You have things to be grateful for. Write them down to remind yourself.
- Generosity – Decide to be generous at least once a day. Find ways to be generous. If you’re at Starbucks pay for the coffee for the person behind you, write a nice note to someone, give a gift, overtip at a restaurant, etc. It will change you. It also teaches you not to live in scarcity.
- Responsibility – Take responsibility for your own life. You can’t control what other people do, but you can control your response. Be happy. Decide. Do it.
- Forgiveness – Forgiveness frees you. It is not a feeling, it is a decision.
- Overdeliver – Always do more than people expect. The way you feel when you overdeliver makes you feel good and creates more opportunities.
You may be asking how in the world do I make myself do this?
You might want to use this app called The Habit List. It’s a great way to keep track. It provides you a way to list the habits that you want to adopt, and reminds you of what you need to do every day. Did I practice gratitude? ✔; did I exercise? ✔; did I show generosity? ✔; did I eat right? ✔; did I overdeliver today? ✔. It also helps you see how you are doing over time and track your progress.
For exercise and eating, I have several friends that use a cool tool called the Fitbit. The Fitbit helps you achieve your fitness goals. You program into their online dashboard how much weight you want lose and it will develop a plan around activity, exercise, food, weight, and sleep to help you reach your goal. Check it out here.
I’ve adopted new habits that are changing my life. I now feel better, sleep better, and have more energy. I’d love to hear your story of what you are doing or plan to do to improve and change your life this year. Please share your story by entering our Change2Win Sweepstakes. You could win a new Fitbit!