If you were super honest with yourself, how would you like to fill in the blank at the top of the page? Seriously, how great would it be to overcome a habit that’s been keeping you from who you really want to be?
My life has been a journey of overcoming bad habits. Most of you know that my background includes no dad in my life and a mom that was at a different bar until 2 AM most nights. She was divorced four times before I started middle school. So in my younger years, I was fending for myself and my sisters. Some of the habits that I built while I was in “survival mode” might have seemed necessary at the time, but they really weren’t. I continued many of those bad habits even when I knew they were wrong. I allowed myself to continually follow the path of least resistance.
A few of the bad habits I have overcome include being disrespectful, lying, stealing, cheating, looking at the bad parts of the internet, being lazy, cussing, making excuses, blaming others, putting things off until the last minute, addiction to email, addiction to cellphone, overeating, not exercising, lack of discipline, not putting forth my best effort, disengaging from people, etc.
And those are just the ones I thought about while writing that paragraph.
Here’s what's great: by God’s grace and by putting the right principles in action, I have overcome all of those. At some point, over the last 40 years, they were part of my life. But today they are not! Those habits (and many others) have been broken off of my life and I’m living the kind of life that I enjoy. I’m happy, and I long to keep improving every day.
Friends, I’m not special and I don’t possess and powers or abilities that you don’t have. You might say, “But you have had good mentors,” or “you’ve had cool opportunities,” or “you have a doctorate.” Please hear this loud and clear: none of those helped me overcome my bad habits! Instead, each of those were possible for me to pursue after I dealt with the garbage that was holding me back.
Are you ready to start? That is a serious question for serious people. This is not for the faint of heart. But when you can confidently say, “Life is awesome. I love people. I’m living the life I want and it has nothing to do with money or popularity. Those can vanish overnight (been there), but I still have the joy and the freedom to be me” … at that point, all the effort is worth it.
So here are two small ways to get started, then I’ll pick up this theme again next week.
First, you have to deal with the failures and the guilt of your past. If you don’t take this important step, you might gain a better life, but the feelings of guilt will always weigh you down. You can learn to forgive yourself, forgive others, and be forgiven. How would you even start? My old boss, John Maxwell, does the best short explanation of this that I have ever seen. It’s his final short video in a series of videos for business leaders. It might be most important video you ever watch: Essentials for Success Bonus Video.
And second, you must start very small by replacing bad habits with good habits. You don’t stop the bad habit first, and then start a new habit. That is too hard and it rarely works. You begin by changing (getting better in) 1% of your bad habit, and slowly changing it to a good habit. Then 3% better… then 10%. Experiencing the slow improvement is a phenomenal feeling. James Clear, the world’s best in this area, says it this way: You choose a substitute for your bad habit, then begin to get rid of the triggers that cause bad behavior (when you are stressed or bored). To take your first positive step in a new direction, read his article here.
I’ll have to continue this theme next week. Please forward this article to friend, they’ll love you for it. Please comment below or drop me a note: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Much love! I’m out.
aka The Robster
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