Building Helpful Habits
By David Strother, CFP®, AIF, AIFA
Inspiration gives us both the means and the motivation to rise above, be creative, learn from others, achieve enhanced well-being, and grow closer to the vision we desire for our futures. Motivation builds determination to make your vision a reality.
I seek inspiration – for myself and those I serve – to increase motivation, so that we can develop the behaviors, competencies, goals, and interests that align with who we want to be and what we want out of life. Ultimately, my goal is to become better every day.
What causes success? When I think of what has contributed to the people in my life’s success and my own successes, I always come back to a common theme – habits. What is powerful about habits? They occur without effort because they are what we do without thinking. If we can build our success around helpful habits, then we have success occurring all the time because our habits influence our second-by-second behavior.
Aristotle guided us with his concept that “excellence, then, is not an act but is a habit.” Habits are our conscious choices made repetitively enough that they become automatic. Since performed repeatedly, habits become embedded in how we act, and how we act will determine our success. Habits have incredible power because they act unmindfully by taking the minimum of conscious thought as they dictate and control behavior.
Building new habits and replacing some of our old habits will provide the greatest impact in positively changing our lives. By taking an inventory, you can see if your current habits align with your best vision and aspirations for yourself. It is in our virtual unthinking behavior, driven by habits, which will determine where our destination in life will be.
How do we change our habits? We all want to be focused and to use our time efficiently and effectively in life. We control our destiny when we realize setting our mindset is a critical activity. This puts control back in our court. Our mindset plays a crucial role in determining how well we will do in any area of life. Mindset is nothing more than your beliefs. Beliefs turn into action and those actions turn into habits. Aristotle’s quote helps understand that the power of habits have been understood for thousands of years.
Guess what? You can change your mind.
2022 will be a better year with the attitude to not just seek out challenges but to thrive on them.
This year, you will have one of two mindsets. You can choose to look at the world (and yourself) as having fixed traits. You can think “I am who I am and that is that.” Or you can look at the world and know things can grow and change (including yourself). Are you as good as you can get? Or, through effort, can you cultivate your skills and improve further?
I encourage you to think about the power of your habits and see where you can tweak and perfect some of your daily actions. Enjoy perfecting your habits as I try to perfect mine as well. By perfecting our habits, the chances that we will have more future successes becomes enhanced. We are in this journey together, fellow travelers. Craft your route with thoughtfulness and care.
If you are looking for more insights on habits, consider reading “Mindset – the New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. and “The Power of Habits” by Charles Duhigg.