Every so often it is helpful to ask if your habits are helping you or hurting you. If you know a person’s habits, then you can make some pretty good guesses as to the quality of their life.
Let’s compare Fictional 30-year-olds Steve and John. Steve rolls out of bed at the very last possible moment, rushes around frantically to get ready, and then is starving when he arrives late to work and downs a couple donuts at his desk. John wakes up early enough to work-out, has time for a healthy breakfast, and arrives to work on time ready to go. It’s pretty easy to see that in 10 years, John will probably be healthier and wealthier. But let’s look deeper at Steve and John. Is the only difference in their habits the time when they wake up? Other factors may include when they go to bed in the evening, how much television they watch, or what kind of food is consistently in their fridge.
When it comes time for promotion, John may have a leg up for reasons other than his habits. However, I would venture to guess that his habits help him be more productive. John gets to work on time, is less groggy in the mid-morning because he did not eat the donuts, has more general energy because he exercises, and is clear headed because he gets adequate rest. How many times have you heard the Steves in the world blame their lack of advancement on other people or circumstances out of their control?
There are days when I feel like, “OK, I’ve had enough! I need to change everything.” I would imagine that many of you have been there too. Trying to change everything at once is nothing but a recipe for failure. Perfection is the one goal you know can never be reached. However, one small change can make a huge difference. Make a small change and sit back and notice its power.
Recently, I decided to make a small change and stopped taking my laptop with me to bed. It started out innocent enough with looking at the weather or planning the next day, but somehow lead to binge-watching two to three hours of Netflix every night. Since resisting the temptation to grab my laptop (this was not easy) I have not only been getting more hours of sleep, but also a higher quality of sleep. I’ve been able to wake up earlier with less fatigue and have experienced a healthy reduction of grumpiness with my kids in the morning. A very small change that has had a positive ripple effect on my entire day.
Change of any kind is difficult and both your body and mind will resist. On day one of exercising and eating healthy not only will you see no immediate weight loss or muscle gain, but you will probably be experiencing some kind of pain. Working out and eating well again the next day does not occur without intention. Maybe no visible results on day 2, but how about after a month, a year, 10 years? Habits that you know will lead to heartache, bad health, and broken relationships will stay on your mental daily to-do list until you make a concerted effort of intentional change. Your future is yours to create. Be wise.