“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Will Durant
If the oft-quoted maxim is correct, it should also be true of mediocrity, its exact opposite. Extrapolating this logic means that mediocrity is born of mediocre habits and thus, the good news is that we can go change our mediocrity into excellence by changing our habits.
Transforming habits can certainly change life, but they cannot guarantee success. Warren Buffet may be fond of watching TV at home with a packet of pop corns in his hands but it, obviously, doesn’t mean that you, too, should do the same to get rich i.e. it is not a cause-and-effect link. Nasim Taleb, in his Fooled By Randomness, says that being punctual, sporting a clean shirt and using a fragrance contribute to success i.e. they are necessary but not sufficient to bring about success. So, habits don’t automatically result in outcomes. But yes, transforming habits for the better can improve the quality of our life.
Transforming your life can be challenging, but it can also be exciting and rewarding. In a way, transforming your habits can transform your life. Transforming your life requires that you go beyond the way you are currently living and create a better life by changing the way you live. You can achieve this by using thoughts, visualization, words, faith, actions, or a mix of them. You can use them to change what is happening within you and your life to get what you truly desire. Find a certified life coach or try our online coaching program for a step by step plan to create your ideal life
10 Ways of Transforming Your Habits
Here are the steps to make such transforming habits stick:
Most life transformation stories are full of changing belief systems. We are our beliefs as they dictate what we do and how we operate. Changing your mindset can change the course of your life. As Wayne Dyer puts it so beautifully, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
A young Virat Kohli suffered from a fixed mindset and thought that he was born a certain way and therefore, he was stuck with it for life. But when he discovered self-development, he realized that he had been lying to himself as he could improve himself to become whatever he wanted to. But to make it happen, he had to change his mindset first.
Possibly, one of the most effective routes to a changed mindset is adopting healthy habits, which condition your mind for success. Research shows that the best way to create a change in life is by cultivating new routines and following them until they become habits which completely change your life.
Deciding and Committing Oneself
Now you need to decide on learning how to transform your life to write your life transformation story. Did you ever commit something that didn’t hold out? The fact is that, when you commit to something, everything changes. Learning how to make commitments is about keeping them consistently, no matter what. A major reason why people fail to achieve their goals is that they lack discipline. They love the excitement of starting something new but once the going gets difficult, they retreat as they are not fully committed to transforming their life.
Masters do whatever it takes to transform their lives i.e. 100% as they dedicate their lives to it and thus, are extremely focused on achieving their dreams. Take a firm decision, rise and transform yourself with persistence, commitment, passion and hard work. If you take the right decision at the right time, your entire life can transform right before you.
Does it deserve me?
Remember, you are trying to completely change your life and towards achieving this goal, only you are in a position to decide what a good habit is. Deciding whether a habit is worth it to you is central to cultivating new habits. Too often, we are often driven by a sudden whim like “I should be doing it!” But should you, really? Should you wake up an hour earlier than usual? Should I take a daily bath Should I go for a walk daily?
Waking up early may be helpful to some people. But before you take the plunge, ask yourself “Will doing so improve the quality of my life?” The reason is that we all need a certain REASON to change, something beyond and bigger than superficial reasons.
If you decide to read one book a fortnight, first ask Why? and What are my goals?
There are people in certain professions, which necessitate constant learning so that you can do your job better. Do you really need to? Answer this one and try to adopt habits that bring you closer to the things you want from life.
One at a time
There are people who consistently fail to learn new habits as they try to cultivate many of them at a time. Hold back your horses if you are planning to do so. Otherwise too, we all know the situation when we do too many things at a time. We often end up with chaos and right back where we had begun. Sounds quite familiar?
But why we burden ourselves with so many things at a time is that we often over-estimate our capabilities to achieve much in a short time. It just isn’t true! Of course, you can achieve a lot over a long period -that’s true!
So, it is best to focus on one thing at a given time. Rather, make a list of all such new habits you would like to learn and then work on them in apriority order.
Very often, many people are stuck in an analysis paralysis as they are so overwhelmed with knowledge that they are finally unable to take a decision or action. Taking action means that you need to take small and big steps to change certain aspects of your life. Just commit to doing one thing and you know, you will start moving in the desired direction.
Word of caution: Before committing to something bigger, try to achieve smaller goals to feel better about your efforts.
Don’t give up. If you fail, try again. Look at what you need to do today to get what you want. You have to start implementing the learning done so far. Anyone who wants to see positive changes in their child or other young people should consider counselling for youth.
Keep it low
All life transformation stories had begun on a low note. We all would often love to achieve big things in life, without understanding them. For instance, building a successful business or career or anything remotely valuable needs consistent efforts. So before thinking of something really big, it’s better to begin small. Try to change yourself first before you try to change others. Just focus on small things in order to build a strong foundation to achieve anything meaningful.
Want to learn a song? Begin with the hook line
Would like to author a book? Write just one sentence.
Want to read a book in a fortnight? Read a few pages daily.
Once you get the hang of it, big things will follow.
You wanted to do something and you did it, too. And then you forget about doing it again (after all, you had an intention of making it a habit). And then, suddenly, a few days later, you recollect what happened to the new habit of yours but you exonerate yourself. Don’t let yourself off that conveniently!
To completely change your life, you must use checklists to remind yourself of what you were trying to achieve. We learn new habits to transform our life. So check off your habit list daily and in a few days, you’ll be wondering over how much you have changed yourself with such small changes.
The results of your actions can transform your life. When I discovered that I had to re-build my husband’s business and take care of our employees, I took a decision and action too, knowing well that I had to do whatever it took to realize my goals.
The results I got validated that legitimacy of our actions. Even getting a small result is still a result e.g. something as simple as putting one small thing into motion. It doesn’t have to be earning 1 core rupees dollars or becoming a Bollywood sensation overnight.
Look for small, realistically achievable results that you can celebrate. Look at what could be possible when you accomplish such small goals. This is the beginning of transformation that allows you to move to greater accomplishments.
You may have the best tools to completely change your life but if you don’t stick around, the change will not last long. Being consistent can be the difference between failure and success. A lack of consistency halts your progress towards your goal altogether. But maintaining consistency is a problem as people become overly obsessed with results and forget about the process. Outcomes are, no doubt, important, but in the absence of a concrete process to guide you, accomplishing the desired outcomes is impossible.
Transformation is a lifelong process and to make it so, you need to fall in love with your journey towards it. This journey is going to be lined with highs and lows and you must be ready to face failure as it’s a part of the process. Anything worth pursuing is going to face teething troubles and you just need to plan what you are going to do in an adverse situation.
Changing Your Identity
You are defined by your beliefs about yourself and you need to change your identity in order to transform your life. Shedding an old identity can mean leaving aside old belief systems. An effective way to demolish a negative self-concept to completely change your life and face your “inner” critic is to voice therapy, which can help you identify and defeat your critical inner voice. In this way, we cultivate compassion towards ourselves and reclaim our real self-concept.
Once you empower yourself, you begin to get consistent results as your own perception about yourself changes. But you need to sustain this momentum by deciding which new identity you want. Once you start actualizing this identity, your behaviour will change, thereby enabling you to achieve your goals.
Besides these steps, you may also try to incorporate theses habits in your routine life to help you towards personal transformation:
- Have a life vision: Why are you here? What would you like to learn? How would you like to contribute to this world?
- Accept certain things as a given i.e. outside your circle of control e.g. weather, long queues at the grocery store or others’ opinion about the world. Save your energy for more important things.
- Create a mental picture of the highest version of yourself. Imagine how you would think, feel and act in that state. Begin to act like that until it becomes second nature.
- Set goals and review them regularly. This is one of the top habits of highly successful people.
- Have a daily meditation routine so as to cleanse your mind just as you cleanse your body.
- Jot down the things you are thankful for. The more you appreciate your blessings, the more blessings there will be for you to appreciate. Cultivate a mindset of plenty by appreciating what you have. We are surrounded by all forms of plenty on the earth — just think of a tree in full bloom, grass in a park, or the beach.
- Before you hit the bed at night, tell yourself consciously: It’s good and it’s done. Tomorrow will be a new day.
- Always have a 5-second pause before you react to a person/situation. It will help you think through your response with love and empowerment.
- Be open and approach every moment as a fresh start as it’s never too late to change a perspective. It’s also never too late to be the kind of person you would like to be.
- Forgive yourself and others to unburden yourself. Let go of your past, it’s done.
- Be present in the now and learn mindfulness. The present moment is when we experience the gift of life.
- Question your own beliefs. Most of them were learnt in childhood and are probably not working for you. Try to create your own empowering beliefs.
- Aim to grow, but not to be perfect. Do not berate yourself as you falter while learning new skills.
- Celebrate small achievements. They build confidence and lead to greater success.
- Try out new things. Do not live the same year 100 times and call it life. Try out new hobbies, a new sport, city or even a new career.
- Take good care of yourself with nourishing food. Your body is only home for your soul on the earth.
- Keep company with dreamers and doers.
- Stop having attachment with outcomes. Redefine success as giving your personal best. Remember your full effort is your full victory.
- Do one thing each day out of your comfort zone. Fear is a natural ally of growth and expansion. So train yourself to feel the fear and act.
- Stop judging others for their behaviour and performance as everyone is doing their best in his/her context. You aren’t the boss of the Universe. Be more open, honest and vulnerable with others to let them enjoy and love the real you, and not the face you put on.