Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a habit as “a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance.”
Now nearly 100 years-old, my yoga master and WWII fighter pilot ace, Dr. Michael Gladych has frequently reminded me that “repetition is the key to mastery.” At the age of 93, he underwent cardiac bypass surgery – without general anesthesia. Do you think he’s mastered a thing or two in his lifetime?
In their course syllabus from The Principles of Financial Freedom: Duplicating the Nature of Spirit in Your Financial Affairs, Reverends Lloyd Strom and Marcie Sutton write that:
“The old adage that “practice makes perfect” contains great wisdom. Whenever we practice anything, our entire psycho-physical being reorganizes itself toward perfection of performance. Consequently, we will always become skillful in anything that we practice. This is because the divine intelligence within us responds to our willingness to change for the better, by changing us for the better. Our willingness for this change to occur is demonstrated by practicing. When we are unwilling to practice, we are unwilling to change, and the “status quo” will always prevail. Every great human achievement has come to those who have engaged in practicing the disciplines of their chosen endeavor.”
It is commonly stated that “successful people have successful habits.” Unfortunately, this statement is an oversimplification of an extraordinarily critical success factor.
Your habits are a product of your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings.
Successful people have developed habits that enable them to be successful, given their particular combination of beliefs, thinking power, emotional intelligence, and style of taking action.
Note the emphasis on “… given their particular combination of beliefs, thinking power, emotional intelligence, and style of taking action.”
Each of us possesses a unique blend of beliefs, thinking power, emotional intelligence, and style of taking action. And this is why what works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for another.
Some of these beliefs, thoughts, and feelings work for us. Some of these beliefs, thoughts, and feelings work against us.
And so it follows that if we develop habits, based on those unproductive beliefs, thoughts, and feelings, these in turn, result in outcomes that are less than desirable at best, and catastrophic, at worst.
So what can you do about this?
Make a list of habits that work for you. And, make a list of habits that work against you. Some of the habits that work against you will be habits of “not doing something” that actually would benefit you.
Once you’ve created these lists, start with the list of habits that work against you. Then, identify the limiting beliefs, thoughts, and feelings behind these non-productive habits.
In addition, be sure to make the list of habits that work for you and identify the beliefs, thoughts, and feelings that work for you. This is an important counterbalancing exercise, so don’t overlook its value.
This simple exercise of creating a list of desirable habits along with a list of undesirable habits holds great power – the power of acknowledging one’s self for productive habits and the power of awareness of those beliefs, thoughts, and feelings that no longer serve you or honor who you really are at your core.
Five Simple Steps to Habits That Lead To Freedom
- For those habits you desire to eliminate or change, becoming aware of them is the first step toward freedom.
- Commit to altering or eliminating those habits that no longer serve you.
- Commit to adopting productive habits to replace the old ones.
- Address the beliefs, thoughts, and feelings that keep those non-productive habits in place.
- Establish a structure of accountability to ensure that you are supported in following-through on practicing your new habits and getting support and encouragement when you get stuck.
This five-step approach to altering habits is simply said, though not as easily done. But if you are truly committed to adopting habits of success that jive with how you are uniquely ‘wired,’ repetition is truly your key to mastery. And, you’ll reap the rewards for years to come.