Steven Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, once said,
“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.”
This blog post will challenge you to look into the minutia of your day and question how you spend your time. Then, it will ask for just an hour and a half in implementing 7 simple habits that have the potential to create the life of your dreams.
Is that too much time to ask for?
Is living life on your own terms, getting to do the work you love and spending time with the people you love, worth sacrificing 90 minutes a day for?
I’m sure it is.
The following 7 habits all adhere to one simple rule. The actions they require you to take are small enough that you can repeat them EVERY day without impinging on the rest of your life.
Anything extra and life would make these habits too difficult to maintain. You might stick to them for a week but, sooner or later, you’d get busy at work, something would happen with the kids or you’d have a weekend away and everything would be thrown out of sync. After that, you’d lose momentum, struggle to get back into the routine and, ultimately, give up.
That’s why I value DOING LESS when it comes to daily habits.
Get the basics done EVERY SINGLE DAY, build momentum and, with time, watch your life change.
Bear this in mind as you read through the list below. The following 7 actions should become so routine you’re able to maintain them even when taking a vacation.
This should be the first thing you do upon gaining your senses.
Lie in bed, close your eyes and speak your goals out loud.
Here are some of mine;
TIP: When repeating these goals, match each one with a vision in your mind. For example, when I repeat 1 million copies sold, I imagine myself celebrating with my arms held aloft.
Also, repeat your goals three times over.
Both the repetition and the visualisation make these goals more believable to your subconscious mind. Their achievement seems REAL and your subconscious will respond with the ideas, and chance encounters, that’ll ensure you reach your destination.
Repeat Habit 1 just before falling asleep at night.
It sounds like such a simple thing and I’m sure there’s a good chance you already do it, but there’s power in making your first action of the day productive.
Admiral William McRaven writes about this in his book, Make your Bed. The military are big on bed tidiness and for good reason.
You must start the day as you mean to go on.
Making your bed is the foundation for the tasks you’re going to complete later in the day. Furthermore, it gets you out of bed BEFORE you check your phone (reducing your chances of starting your day in the wrong way).
My advice is to do this as early as possible. If a day job prevents you from completing it in the morning then do the work as soon as you return home. Or, you could try doing 30 minutes before work and then 30 minutes after.
Doing this every single day, without fail, is how you become an expert in a field. Then, once you’re an expert, you can monetise your passion.
Let’s say your passion is writing. You want to monetize your blog or get paid to write articles on Medium.
At the modest rate of writing 400 words per hour, you would complete a new article every 4 days (1500 words is a typical sized blog post although you could go shorter). By the end of the month, you’d have churned out 6 or 7 new compositions.
Do that for a year or two or even three, and something amazing will happen.
First, your writing will improve. Second, you’ll have a trove of useful content with the potential to attract a sizeable audience. Finally, because you’re being consistent and releasing material on a weekly basis, people will be inclined to follow and pay you.
Of course, you might not be passionate about writing and that’s fine. Whatever your vehicle for doing the work you love, commit an hour to it every day.
It doesn’t matter when you complete this habit. It could be lunchtime, after work or before bed.
The reason it must be a NON-FICTION book is because this habit is about learning (not entertainment). Of course, there’s nothing wrong with reading fiction but I suggest you save that for bedtime when you want to unwind.
Pick a genre you’re keen to learn about. Personal development is a great place to start but you could also educate yourself on finance, property, history or art.
I’m a medium paced reader and I tend to read 10 pages in 15 minutes. At this rate, I complete a 300-page book (a typical size for non-fiction) in 30 days.
This means that my daily 15 minute reading habit (which is so easy to maintain), enables me to complete 12 books over the course of a year. I can then use the knowledge I’ve acquired through this reading to improve my business and life.
TIP: Highlight the important sections from your non-fiction book for future reference.
Take a break from whatever it is you might be doing and, preferable, find somewhere in nature (a garden or a park will suffice) to sit down and relax.
During these 10 minutes of quiet time, you can either focus on your surroundings or close your eyes.
If you opt to close your eyes, you could then notice your breathing, clear your mind or visualise yourself being successful (or a combination of all three).
Noticing your breathing is a great way of relaxing and recharging. Furthermore, it allows you to experience the benefits of meditation because, when connected to your breathing, you can’t be distracted by your thoughts.
Clearing your mind is another way to meditate. If you haven’t had much practise, you might struggle at first. Thoughts about what you’re eating for dinner later, an argument you had with your girlfriend or boyfriend or chores you need to complete, might disturb your inner peace. Just let them pass through and keep emptying your mind of any disturbances. Eventually you’ll reach a state of calm.
Visualising success is an extension of Habit 1. Think about one of your important life goals and imagine yourself achieving it. Alongside the visualisation, see if you can capture some of the joyful/excited emotions you’ll feel when it comes true.
Whatever you do during your 10 minutes of silence, remember that this is probably the most important part of your day.
Once complete, you’ll feel refreshed. Furthermore, through meditation and visualisation, you’re mastering skills that’ll enable you to live in the now and prime your subconscious for success.
At the risking of sounding like the government, or your parents, try to make sure you eat a minimum level of these nutrient rich foods each day.
Not only is it going to improve your health but sticking to this habit will stop you from eating junk food. (Take away pizza or fish and chips aren’t going to cut it if it’s approaching dinner time and you haven’t yet eaten your 5 a day.)
Eating 5 a day also helps you bypass the willpower problem when dieting or seeking to eat a healthier diet.
It’s very hard to stick to the promise of saying, “I won’t eat chocolate or I won’t eat X.” This is because your subconscious still hears the word “chocolate” or whatever treat it is you enjoy. However, if you focus on something else – eating more fruit and vegetables – then your attention is focused elsewhere and unhealthy foods become easier to resist.
This habit has multiple benefits.
First, it assists sleep. By preventing you from scrolling through your phone while in bed, you negate the possibility of staying awake 30 minutes longer than you intended.
This makes a difference to how fresh you’ll feel the next day.
Second, your subconscious is at its most fertile before going to bed. It’s one of the best times to think about how you want your life to be. You’ll go deeper into the emotion of your desired life and this will make your imaginings real to your subconscious.
TIP: If you like listening to music or reading before going to bed, do so on a device separate to your phone. It’s harder to scroll through social media, or your messages, on a Kindle or laptop.
Following these 7 daily habits will create the life of your dreams.
Implement them today.
Small changes CAN make a big difference.
If you want to discover a passion you can make a living from and overcome the fears that are holding you back, check out my free course 30 Days to Escape The System. Click here to get the course right now! (You’ll find the tips on developing belief and self-confidence fascinating!)
(image used courtesy of Greta Egan’s photostream on flickr.com)