After a fair bit of self-reflection, I’ve come up with my 7 habits that will change your life.
Have you ever considered what it takes to live a successful life? Is it having a loving family, plenty of money, or is it to get through life with no major health issues. Maybe it’s just to have good friends, or possibly just having your bucket list ticked off.
I’ve been giving that some thought lately as I’m fast heading towards 50 (which is a Horrible Horrible though), it’s forced me to consider what a successful life actually looks like.
Here’s the 7 habits I believe are crucial to live a purposeful, fulfilling and extraordinary life.
The 7 Must-Have Habits That Will Change Your Life
I recently went along to my 13-year-old daughter’s parent-teacher interviews. This is her first year at high school and it’s fair to say, this has been a massive wake up call for her. Overall the 10 teachers we sat down with were generally positive… until we sat down with the last teacher, Mr. Beet. He slowly looked my wife, myself and then looked at my daughter in the eye and said, Zoey, you’re not going to like this.
What transpired was a lesson in discipline. He went on to say that to be successful in school (and in life), the only thing that counts is self-discipline. In his opinion, you can get through life without being overly intelligent or not having the greatest attitude, but when it comes to success, self-disciple is the no. 1 ingredient.
I must say, I have to agree. I do often wonder where I’d be now if I had focussed on being more disciplined, but laziness runs in my family, so really… I had no hope from the beginning.
“Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.” Lout Hotlz
Self-discipline is simply a matter of effort.
If you’re like me, and this comes hard for you, start small. Get some quick wins and aim to build momentum. You’ll soon see that it starts to pay off.
The idea around focusing is to direct attention to something or someone, in other words, to pay attention. In the context of 7 habits that will change your life, focus can be around either a specific task (whether that be engagement with a person or thing), or a short or long-term vision or goal.
Focus is certainly not always required, but when it is, it’s essential we use it. Focus can do a number of things for us that are extremely beneficial. It can;
For us guys, multitasking is the Devil! For you lovely ladies out there, we’re all in awe of you. No, seriously. We can’t even wash the dishes and listen to a conversation at the same time.
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” Alexander Graham Bell
Success can be measured by the times where intense focus is needed. The trick is understanding where our focus needs to be.
It seems that for the most part, when real focus is needed, say in an exam, or preparing to talk in public, you put in the effort, particularly as there is a direct correlation between effort and reward. Conversely, when you don’t believe there’s a direct correlation, the brain seems not to be overly focused.
Take this as an example. I have three kids. two of which are up for sale if anyone’s interested. Just as an aside note. Anyhoo, when I’m hanging out with them, particularly one on one, for the most part, I’m there in the moment, but sometimes I’m not. I’m preparing the shopping list, what I need to do in the garden, or dreaming about taking a year off life and learning Pig Latin. In these instances, unfortunately, it’s quite obvious that I’m not in the moment’. I’m not focussed because there’s no direct or immediate payoff.
When you don’t focus when it really counts, you’ll end up paying the price. And when I say ‘when it really counts’ i mean what really counts to you. Maybe you need to determine what those moments are. Be in the moment. Be present. But most of all give it 100%. Focus brings results and without it, the results are most often less than what we’d like them to be.
So, if you need to bring more success into your life, learn the importance of being focused, especially when it’s really needed.
When it comes to adopting new ideas, for many of us, this can be overwhelming. I don’t mind change personally, but there have been many instances in my life where I’ve flatly said no, specifically around changing my behavior. This is either because I thought it would be too hard to implement, or I was shit scared of getting out of my comfort zone. I’m sure you’ve had the same experiences.
The idea that adaptability is somehow associated with a successful life, is not so obvious at first, but keep reading.
“Adaptability is being able to adjust to any situation at any given time.” John Wooden
To be successful in your business, relationships, career, your personal life, you need to be adaptable. This is particularly important when adopting either a new way of doing things to bring improvement and success.
This might include a new idea for your business, a new direction for your career, or a change of focus in a relationship. Don’t think for a second that becoming a success doesn’t have at it’s core, the concept of adaptability. This is crucial for change and we all know that without change, growth is stunted. So, unless you’ve got it All sorted out, you might need to give your circumstances a fresh look from an adaptability standpoint.
Make sure you’re open to change. Be committed to change your mind and allow yourself to think outside the square. The more open you are to change, the more adaptable you’ll be, and the more adaptable you are, the better you’ll be to deal with change.
As we’re constantly confronted with change on a constant basis in every aspect of our lives, the idea that we don’t need to be adaptable is ludicrous.
So, If you find it difficult to say adopt a new way of doing something or if you find yourself either unwilling to change or don’t know how to talk to someone and ask them to help you become more adaptable. Adaptability is imperative if you want to be a success in life.
Be open-minded and be willing to change your mind when required, and you’ll soon find yourself becoming better able to deal with life’s ever-present challenges.
The bible references love over 500 times. in the gospel of Luke, Jesus says the greatest commandment is to love God and the second is to love your neighbour. So, if we were to condense all of Jesus’s teachings down to two commandments, the second would be to love your those around you.
This is a no-brainer. The saying ‘Love conquers all’ could never be truer than in today’s society.
Another verse in the Bible reflects what I believe love to be.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy or boast, it is not proud. It is not proud, rude, or self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and keeps no record of past mistakes. It does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
If we want a successful life, maybe the greatest tool we’ll ever need is simply love.
What is intrinsic in being successful in life is the idea that it’s a long game.
Of course, there are seasons where our life seems more successful than others, but to be a “success at life”, we need to focus on the big picture.
Endurance, by its very nature, is a trait that is able to withstand long periods and can often include dealing with external factors like health challenges, loss, failures, and periods of extended drought in one form or another. It’s being able to ride the highs and lows, the positive and negative experiences. It’s focussing on the long game and understanding that for most of us, we’re in this game called life, for quite some time.
For me, the concept of endurance brings with it the idea of long-term reward. To be able to push through when there are significant pressures in our life is one of the key motivations to be able to get to the finish line and have a sense of accomplishment or success.
Come what may, all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance. ― Virgil
Continue to endure through the pain, heartache, loss, and disappointments of life, and in the end, you’ll be guaranteed to look back and view your life as a success.
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Discernment is not often talked about but can be one of the most important things we can have in our arsenal. To discern is to recognize or distinguish. In other words, it is the ability to determine the reality of something or someone.
By using discernment, we can be clear about our decisions. Being a fairly logical fella, I generally use an analytic thought process, which means I tend to think through things. For me, being discerning helps me understand the potential consequences of my decisions. It helps me identify or deduce any issues or problems that may come from making that decision. It’s ensuring the ‘future state’ is being considered prior to making any decisions.
Discernment is one of the most crucial of the 7 habits that will change your life. The concept of discernment is often highlighted in business. You find that success in the business or corporate world often comes through being discerning with respect to what decisions or investments to make and what people to employ.
“Discernment is not a matter of telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.” Charles Spurgeon
In personal terms, discernment is important when it comes to making informed decisions. For me, it’s most obviously required when it comes to decisions around people. I carefully consider things like;
What information I share, and to who
Who I determine will bring the most value to my life, and by extension, who I spend the most time with, and conversely, who I need to fire from my friendship group, and
Who I determine will get the most value out of my time and advice.
But discernment can equally be crucial when it comes to making decisions about finances or major life decisions. Remember, being discerning is around recognizing or distinguishing. This concept encompasses the idea of taking time to make a decision. It means we need to be careful and informed.
If we spend just a bit more time for each important decision we make, we’ll be much better off and ultimately have a much more successful life.
What is self-reflection? For me, there are a few parts to consider;
It’s giving considered thought about my life and where it’s currently at,
It’s taking into consideration my past, both successes, and failures, and
It’s examining my thought patterns and challenging them if required.
I’ve left self-reflection last in my list of 7 habits that will change your life, but for me, it’s the most crucial in all the tools you need.
Without spending time being introspective, we’re unable to get an overview of our life and without knowing how we got to where we are, we’re unable to move forward in the way we would like to.
“The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.” Thomas Carlyle
I recently watched an interview with the infamous gangster and killer Mark ‘Chopper’ Reid. This guy murdered lots of people and was a real nasty man. The interviewer asked him, “Do you think about why you do the things you do” and he replied after some consideration, “no, I’ve never thought about it”. This my friends, is why behaviour continues.
To be self-reflective, you need an open mind. I’d suggest Chopper had an extremely closed mind. In addition to an open mind, you need to be self-aware. This put simply is knowing yourself. Knowing your thoughts and emotions, your attitude, your preferences, and how others perceive you.
Being self-aware means noticing or paying attention to yourself. It’s not passive, it’s a thoughtful and intentional action. It’s essentially ‘paying attention’ to your thoughts and actions.
In order to progress our lives and continually improve, self-reflection is the no. 1 key ingredient
Finally, implement the following into your daily self-reflection process, and you’re sure to see an immediate and drastic improvement in your life;
Question what you do and why you do it
Know where you are and how you got there
Examine your thought processes and what they mean
Track where you’re going
If you need help, ask for it
Reflect and review on the above, but most importantly, be honest about it.
In the comments section below, let me know if any of these 7 habits that will change your life resonate with you or whether you’d have any others in the list, or jump over to the Facebook page to discuss.
You are made for this life, so continue to make a difference!