One of the things I do every year is re-read books that have made a significant impact on me.
One of them is “The Power of Habit” by Charlies Duhigg (with full disclosure, the below is an affiliate link).
From the success I’ve had in my life as well as from reading many books on the subject, I’d like to give you my keystones, my top 10 Success Habits.
Not that I’ve implemented them all perfectly, that’s for sure. But when I have, WOW!
(By the way, I wrote a post on How to Form a Habit).
Now often times we cannot separate our business and personal lives; it’s normal that personal habits help our businesses and vice-versa.
Given that, here are my habits, and I’ll come back and revisit them in later posts with expanded detail.
#1: Regularly attend a place of worship
I’ve gone to church since I was a baby and fortunately I still went through my high school and college years, and one of the biggest benefit is I met my wife in our youth group!
I’ve developed a faith that’s my own, based on biblical principles, that fuels me to try to bring significance to others and help those in need.
Quickstart Tip: Understand your own faith and search online for a place in your community that matches, or ask on social media.
In the Bible, God asks us to test Him in one area: giving a portion of our money back to Him.
Despite the “loss” of 10% of our family’s income over the years, we’ve continued to have our net worth grow and really have never lacked money for anything. I don’t know how it works, but I do know it does.
And over the years we’ve grown to give 10% of our personal and business revenue (much more than profits).
Quickstart Tip: Start at 1% and make it a goal to increase every couple of months.
#3: Exercise almost daily.
I say “almost” daily because we need rest and recovery, so it’s important to sometimes take a day off.
A combination of aerobic and resistance is what you want.
Here’s my week: lower body weights, upper body weights, running/elliptical, swimming, lower body weights, upper body weights, running/eliptical, day off.
Quickstart Tip: Walking gives you most of the exercise benefits. Walk every day ANY distance. Then try to increase it a little every day.
#4: Nourish your mind
Read good books and listen to good audio – skip the trash magazines in the supermarket aisles and most of what’s on TV.
A great video on the power of this is here: http://yoogozi.com/the-importance-of-brain-flushing/
Quickstart Tip: Buy Success Magazine – it’s got good tips and articles and comes with an audio CD and checkout http://yoogozi.com
A study published in 2009 that was funded by the National Institutes of Health found that people who journaled what they ate had some very interesting results. Six months into the study, the group of people that kept daily food records had lost twice as much weight as everyone else!
Journal in any area you want to improve in – it will lead to an increased level of self awareness.
I have written almost daily in FLASHPOINTS for achievers daily journal over the last year, and I found it led to some surprising results that affected my goal setting for this current year. I talk about the process here: http://yoogozi.com/using-2014-power-your-2015/
Quickstart Tip: Get a journal with some type of meditation in it and a place to write your thoughts.
#6: Practice Authenticity in a safe environment
In July 2013 I began attending a “Samson” group, which is basically a men’s group where we can share our deepest desires, failings, successes, feelings, etc., in complete confidentiality, and receive unconditional love. This is a safe environment where I can become aware of both the good and bad that’s inside of me, as it doesn’t just stay inside of me.
This group has been responsible for me breaking a habit that has been in my life for many years – I successfully altered the “habit loop”.
Quickstart Tip: Find just one person that you can truly be authentic with – and that means everything!
#7: Coaching in what you want to improve
You can’t see the frame when you’re in the picture.Les Brown
All sports teams have coaches or managers to help them. When we’re in school we have teachers.
So why do we think we can excel just on our own?
Now there are all different types of coaches, and we’ll talk about this in another post. But it’s important to know the difference between a Teacher, Coach, Counselor, and Mentor:
- – Teacher = someone who imparts their knowledge on you. May or may not have any experience. You’ve heard the saying, “Those who can, do; those who cannot, teach.” Sometimes that’s true. This is what most people call a coach these days, like a sports coach.
- – Mentor = someone that shares their own experiences. While this is good, this may not apply to you as you are NOT that person.
- – Counselor = someone that helps you deal with your past. It’s reactive.
- – Coach = someone that concentrates on you and your future. It’s proactive, and helps you to develop a solution that is specific to you, that basically comes from inside of you, as the best coaching assumes the answer is always within the individual.
What has worked for me is really two things, given the above definitions:
- Get a teacher/mentor in the area you most want to improve. This is likely tied to your number 1 or 2 goals.
- Get a “life” Coach that helps you to grow and uncover obstacles in all areas of your life.
Quickstart Tip: Find someone who’s successful at what you want and get their books, subscribe to their blog.
#8: Goal Setting and Achieving
According to Maxwell Maltz in Psycho-Cybernetics, we are goal-oriented beings that want to achieve in life, and we have an Automatic Success Mechanism (ASM) wired within us to accomplish great things – we just have to learn how to use it.
Goal Setting and turning it over to our ASM is a huge key to success.
I have a system I’ve come up with for me, a meld of principles and experience learned throughout the years.
But it really comes down to a few things.
- Figure out what you REALLY want; be honest with yourself.
- Make them SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Aligned with who you are, Realistic, and Time-sensitive.
- Make sure you have a high level of control over the results
- Filter everything through your values and mission/vision.
- Get an accountability partner. Tell someone about them and have them hold you to them.
- Look at them daily: imprint your blueprint.
- Create lead and lag measures. I talk about what these are and how important they are in my post How to Achieve Goals Using Lead and Lag Measures.
Quickstart Tip: Write down ONE goal and decide to allocate 30 minutes a day to planning and executing it. Then schedule it in your calendar.
#9: Spend time in relationships you value
When we got our labrador retriever many years ago, she needed to be walked at least every night. So my wife and I began doing that together, and this was 30-45 minutes we’d spend talking EVERY night.
Although our dog died a little bit ago, we keep that practice up. That time, both Quantity and Quality, has drawn us closer together then we’ve ever been.
There is no substitute for time.
Quickstart Tip: Decide who you want to be closer to, or a relationship you want to repair, and schedule a get-together. Preferably in person, but over the phone is good too.
#10: Save 10% of your income and use Dollar Cost Averaging
This is the principle of investing approximately the same amount on a regular basis and having returns much better than the stock market.
Using the spreadsheet below (use google docs plugin), you can see that the average return of dollars is actually positive despite the stagnant return of the investment – the share price is exactly the same at week 1 as it is at week 10, yet you’ve got a return of over 24%!
Total Shares Bought
I’ll explain more in a future post.
You can build wealth slowly this way, but it’s better viewed as a way to maintain wealth.
Quickstart Tip: Like tithing, start at 1% and work your way up. Invest it in an index fund.
I hope these make some sort of sense to you, and you can take advantage of some of these QuickStart Tips. I’ll be writing more about each of them in future blog posts, and will link to them from this page.
Please do me a favor and give me your thoughts and questions below.