Transforming Bad Habits
by Brian Tracy
The habits of success have been studied by great thinkers and philosophers for at least 2,500 years. After personally studying the subject for more than 30 years, I have identified seven habits that you need to develop if you want to perform at your very best in everything you do.
1. You need to become goal-oriented - dedicated to setting and working from clearly written objectives every day of your life.
2. You need to become results-oriented. This involves two practices. The first is the practice of continuously learning so that you become better at what you do. The second is the practice of time management - setting very clear priorities and then concentrating single-mindedly on the most valuable use of your time.
3. You need to become action-oriented - the most important habit for material success. This is the ability to get on with a job and get it done fast. You need to overcome procrastination, push aside your fears, and launch yourself 100% toward the achievement of your goals.
4. You need to become people-oriented. Virtually all of your happiness in life will come from your ability to get along well with other people. And getting along well with other people is based on a set of habits that you learned, or failed to learn, in childhood: patience, kindness, compassion, and understanding. But it is never too late to develop those habits. . And the more you practice them, the more you will internalize those qualities and actually become the person you want to be.
5. You need to be health-oriented. This means that you must make a conscious effort to eat the right foods in the right proportions. You must exercise on a regular basis to keep your body young and fit. And you must get enough rest and enjoy leisure activities that will enable you, in combination with diet and exercise, to live a long, full life.
6. You need to be oriented toward honesty and integrity. In the final analysis, the character you develop as you go through life is more important than virtually anything else. You set very clear values for yourself and you organize your life around your values. You develop a vision for yourself and then you live your life consistent with your highest ideals. You never compromise your integrity or peace of mind for anyone or anything.
7. The seventh habit that you need - the one that guarantees all the others will happen - is that of self-discipline. Your ability to discipline yourself, to master yourself, to control yourself, goes hand in hand with your success in every area of life.
My favorite definition of self-discipline comes from Elbert Hubbard. He said, "Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not."
Every one of the habits I identified above - goal orientation, result orientation, action orientation, people orientation, health orientation, honesty, and self-discipline - can be developed. Following is a seven-step method you can use to make any or all of those habits a permanent part of your character and personality.
1. Write down the habit as a goal in the form of a present tense, personal, positive affirmation. For example, if you want to develop the habit of self-discipline, you would write, "I am an extremely well-disciplined individual in everything I do."
2. Repeat that affirmation as often - and with as much enthusiasm - as possible. The more times you repeat it, the more likely it is that your subconscious mind will ultimately accept it and begin to adjust your thoughts, words, and behaviors to be consistent with it.
3. Visualize yourself as if you already had the new habit pattern. Imagine yourself as already being exactly the person that you want to become. Remember, your subconscious mind is activated and programmed by mental pictures. All improvements in your life and character begin with an improvement in your mental images. Use visualization on a regular basis in conjunction with your positive affirmations.
4. Emotionalize the affirmation and the visualization. Take a few minutes each day to actually experience the feeling of being the excellent, outstanding human being that you have decided to become.
5. Launch into your new habit with conviction. (See Word to the Wise, below.) Assume the role, acting as if you had been hired to perform it in a movie or play. The more you behave exactly as if you already had the habit, the more you actually become the person you desire to be.
6. Tell others that you have decided to develop this habit. When you tell others about a goal, you motivate and encourage yourself to achieve it. You also force yourself to consistently act in accordance with your new resolutions ... because you know people are watching.
7. Review your progress on a day-to-day basis. At the end of every day, briefly recap your behavior to see if you are living in a way that is consistent with the values and habits you are trying to develop. Give yourself points when you are strong, and be patient with yourself when you slip from time to time.
It's not particularly easy to change yourself. But with patience, determination, and persistence, you can do it.
TODAY'S ACTION PLAN
In today's main article, Brian Tracy identified seven habits of successful people. How many of them do you already have? How many do you need to develop? Take charge of your future by making the decision, right now, to make each and every one of them an integral part of you.