Success is something that we all aspire to have. We want to be successful in our personal lives, professional lives, and everything in between. But what does it take to be successful? Many people would say that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. And while this is undoubtedly true, there is another crucial ingredient: habits. Habits are what allow us to achieve success day in and day out, regardless of the obstacles we face. In this blog post, I will discuss why habits are so important for success and how you can harness their power!
But before we get into the details about habits, let’s first understand the difference between habits and routines.
Habits vs Routines
I’ve been asked this question before. What is the difference between habits and routines? After all, habits and routines are closely related.
Habits rather than conscious decisions govern the vast majority of our daily lives. Habits form because our brains like to take shortcuts, so once we have learned the action or behavior, our brains tend to cling to it as much as possible. That, in turn, free up our brain capacity to focus on other things.
For example, you perform actions every day without even thinking about them; you brush your teeth and get ready for work without having to think about each step in the process. You no longer have to worry about it because it has become a familiar action.
On the other hand…
Routines are a regular way of doing things in a particular order or following a sequence of actions. In hindsight, a routine is made up of different habits.
For example, you get up, sit in the same chair, get dressed, have a cup of coffee, and so on. Some are actions you need to do, like eat or sleep. Others are choices you make, like watching TV in the morning or surfing the internet before work.
The key is to form both habits and routines together
Bill Gates is a prime example of someone who has turned their daily habits into a successful routine. Gates developed a habit of waking up early and using that time for reading and contemplation. That habit helped him create a pattern that included working on his business, spending time with his family, and exercising.
Habits are the small decisions we make and actions we perform every day to shape them as a major component of our everyday routines.
How Habits Help Us Succeed
As I studied the most successful people around me, I began to notice a pattern. People who had good habits were far more likely to succeed than those who didn’t.
You see, habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.
One of my favorite examples of how habits can help us achieve success comes from the world of sports. Athletes are some of the most successful people on the planet, and it’s not because they’re born with some superhuman talent. It’s because they’ve developed habits that allow them to succeed no matter what.
Elite athletes always have a morning routine that they stick to religiously. This might involve eating the same breakfast, doing the same workout, or even wearing the same clothes. By following this routine every day, they reduce the amount of decision-making they need to do, leaving their brains free to focus on their performance. As a result, they can perform at their best regardless of the situation.
To learn more extensively on building good habits, I recommend reading the book: Managing Oneself: The Key to Success
How can you harness the Power of Habits for success?
Habits are so strong that even when we know something is bad for us, we still do it because it’s what we’ve always done. They can propel you to success or drag you down to failure. They can help you get out of debt, lose weight, and achieve your dream job. But conversely, they can also make you miss deadlines, blow through stop signs, and cause you to be late for work.
The good news is that you can leverage this power of habits to achieve success by turning positive habits into routines that fuel your success.
Well, to harness the power of habits for success, there are 4 things you need to do:
- Form good habits: This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually more complex than it looks. The key is to find habits that support your goals and make them as easy as possible to do. For example, if you want to get in shape, forming the habit of going to the gym every day is a lot easier than trying to force yourself to go on a diet.
- Make habits automatic: One of the reasons why habits are so powerful is because they become automatic. This means that you don’t have to think about them, which frees up your brain capacity to focus on other things. According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit. On average, it takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.
- Monitor your progress: Tracking your progress is a great way to stay motivated and see how your habits are impacting your success. You can use a journal, app, or any other method you prefer to track your progress.
- Replace your habits: Instead of fighting habits that you don’t like, replace them with the ones you do like. For example, imagine you have a habit of checking social media every time you have a break at work. While this habit makes your breaks more enjoyable, it also reduces your productivity because it makes your breaks longer than they should be. One way to solve this problem might be to replace your social media habit with another one — perhaps reading a book or meditating during the breaks.
You can’t change your bad habits overnight, but if you gradually replace them with good ones, eventually they will stick!
The Bottom Line
Success is not easy to achieve. It takes hard work and dedication, but it’s also essential to have the right tools in your arsenal. And that’s where habits come in. Habits are the small decisions we make and actions we perform every day that help us achieve our goals.
Form good habits, make them automatic and track your progress to see how they’re impacting your success. If you do this, you’ll be well on your way to achieving anything you want in life.
Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases.