“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act – but a habit” – Aristotle
I know as well as anyone, it’s not easy to start a good habit – always going to the gym, finishing your projects on time, eating well, working hard to improve in your career everyday. There are factors in everyone’s life that bring them down and make it challenging to further yourself. How can you combat this?
By sticking to good habits.
Have you ever heard of the 10,000 hours theory? It’s by Malcolm Gladwell who wrote the book ‘Outliers’. To summarise – it states that if you practise at something for 10,000 hours – you’re going to become a master in your field. Where it be at Photography, Music, Design, Finance – even if you’re completely crap to start out with – when you’re in the habit of regular practise, you’re going to improve. If you reach 10,000 hours of practise – you’re one of the best in your field. Obviously there’s a lot of exceptions to this rule, the point is – Make a habit of something – you’re going to get continually good at it. The better you can stick to it – the better you’ll me. Case in point? Me. I was never great at photography… I just stuck to it and now I’m better. I guess it sounds really simple – but it’s amazing how many people say “Oh but you’re so talented at that so it’s easy for you.” When really it’s not talent at all – it’s the discipline of sticking to the same task and practising over and over.
It’s vital that you start somewhere. In the word’s of the famous Ice hockey player, Wayne Gretzky “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take“.
So the next step is to find the key to your motivation, that thing that inspires you to keep it up long term – a reward for your hard work. This really comes down to a way of thinking. If you’re wanting to keep fit, going out for a run is the hard work and the habit that you need to get into – then reward is the incredible feeling you get from being energized and healthy. If you’re wanting to be more organised and keep a tidy home, then working little bit everyday is the habit and enjoying your clean home is the reward. If you want to make the people you care about happier, then going out of the way to help them without expecting something in return is the habit – and the reward is seeing their smiling faces and the difference you make in their lives.
In summary, it’s important to define your habits – once you have that you put in the processes to fulfil them. Consistency and discipline are key.
So that’s my thought’s on the matter… start a new good habit today!
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