How many times do you check your phone throughout the day? If you’re like most people in today’s fast-paced world, the number is probably quite high. Maybe embarrassingly so. It’s safe to assume you didn’t set out to be tethered to your device; rather, it was repetitive action that reinforced what has now become a habit.
Habits aren’t activities we add to the calendar. They are behaviors baked into our daily routines. These actions rarely even blip on the radar. So, if habits are mindless, why bother assessing them? The answer is simple: if our behaviors operate on autopilot, we can just as easily benefit our daily lives as we can damage them. So why not harness powerful, positive habits that will result in a more prosperous future?
Small Actions Make a Big Impact
You can make a huge impact on your life by establishing intentional habits. Best of all, the process is simple. Here’s what you do:
- First, specify your intentions—be clear about your goal.
- Next, work backward from the goal and determine the actionable steps that will help you succeed.
- Finally, break those steps down even further, almost laughably so. These steps will become habits.
- At this point, you’ll want to “stack” your seemingly inconsequential new habits alongside positive, established habits.
Transforming your life is within your grasp; here are some habit-forming examples and ideas to get you there:
Let’s say you want to lose 15 pounds in the next three months (step 1). (Notice I didn’t say “lose weight”—that’s far too vague.) You decide exercise is the path you’d like to take to reach your goal (step 2). You will do push-ups every day (step 3). Now think back to the smartphone example. What if every time you reach for your phone, you do two push-ups (step 4). Is that a seemingly inconsequential number of repetitions? Yes. Does it add up over time and deliver compounded results (a strong heart and toned muscles)? You betcha.
You can also harness habits to supercharge your financial future. Saving and investing habits are limited only by your imagination. Consider this idea: every time you buy something, contribute 10 percent of the cost into a savings account. Here is another: stash away every $5 bill you encounter rather than spending it (other denominations are free to use). Get creative and watch your fortune grow!
When it comes to cleaning … do a little every day. Stack your habits and this is a breeze. For example, after you brush your teeth (established), wipe out the basin (new). When you’re on the phone (established), wipe down counters or clean windows (new). When you lock the doors at night (established), ensure all countertops are cleared and tidy (new).
We can’t escape habits, but we can transform them into actions that deliver long-term benefits in our lives. By taking small, incremental, mindful steps—and stacking them with existing habits—you can experience huge impacts on your health, wealth, and lifestyle. Give it a try . . . what have you got to lose? Happy New Year!
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