“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
There are 168 hours in a week. If you take out work and sleep, that adds up to 100 hours (56 hours of sleep and 44 hours of work per week…you may be only getting 44 hours of sleep and working over 50 hours…but, you get the point). This leaves you with 68 hours left. That’s almost 3 days worth of time each week. Listen, I know the common statements that come up about being busy – kids, activities, work related stuff that fills up your plate, etc. My wife Kendra and I talk about this a lot, how so many people glorify the word BUSY. Hey, everyone is busy! You don’t get a special badge because you have a lot going on. Can we think of a better word than the cliche response when asked,
“Hey, how are things going?”…the common response, “Busy, busy, busy.”
My question is this, what are you doing with your time? What habits and routines have you formed with your 68 hours, good or bad? Are you maximizing each hour and each day? Are you prioritizing the right things?
Charles Duhigg, a business reporter for the New York Times explains how people and even companies have achieved a great deal of success by altering habits. Duhigg discusses this in his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. By design or sheer luck, these people have been tapping into a powerful psychological pattern called: the “habit loop,” which is a three part process. “First,” Duhigg says, “there’s a cue, which is kind of a trigger for an automatic behavior to start unfolding. There’s a routine, which is the behavior itself…and then there’s a reward, which tells our brain whether we should store this habit for future use or not.”
If you are ready to make a change in your life, then that change requires you to create a new habit. There are many different sources that make claims on how long it actually takes to form a new habit. “A small dose of discipline develops into a long-lasting habit,” says Gary Keller, author of The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. Keller notes how researchers at the University College of London determined that it takes on average 66 days to acquire a new habit. Depending on the type of habit you’re trying to build, some will require fewer days and some more, but the research showed that 66 day’s represents what they called the “sweet spot.”
If there is one thing you do today, please read this book summary for The One Thing. It will take around 5 minutes to read, but the reward will be worth it. The premise of the book focuses on this question, “What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” The whole entire book is based around that single question, and the power of organizing every area of your life around ONE Thing (per area). Focusing on achieving this ONE Thing per day, will change your habits for the better.
Mental Conditioning specialist, Trevor Moawad, was working with NFL running back Fred Taylor. Taylor’s career was at a crossroads. He was getting older, he had a recent string of injury ridden seasons, and his production on the field had declined. This is where Moawad stepped in. They closely examined what the Pro Bowl players and elite teammates on the Jacksonville Jaguars were doing that contributed to their success. They were looking to find a commonality that Taylor could tap into. They found a variety of factors that helped with performance, but the one thing that they found that the best players did was show up to the Jaguar facility 2 hours early each day (before meetings started).
Taylor for years, used to arrive at work right when he had to. His new plan for that season, was to arrive at the Jaguars facility at 6am, which meant more time in the training room keeping his body healthy, more time watching film, extra reps in the weight room, and keeping a consistent habit and routine. This one simple thing – showing up to work 2 hours early each day produced fantastic results. Taylor had one of the best seasons of his career. He stayed healthy all season and rushed for over 1,000 yards. This One Thing helped make all the difference.
Just like Fred Taylor, its time to reassess your habits. What are you doing with your 68 hours each week? Action item:
1. What is one habit you’d like to quit?…now is the time to supplement that with a more productive habit.
2. Revisit your goals…short term and long term.
3. For the next 2 weeks, each day, make a list of what you need to get done, and prioritize it in numeric fashion. What is the ONE Thing you need to accomplish to “win the day”? Focus on making that happen and you will find that by adding up those daily wins, you will produce long term results and better habits!
Good luck, I know you can do it! Just focus one day at a time. Today is the day to form winning habits! Check back in as I will continue my series 30 Days of Gratitude and Service by discussing how to handle failure by being resilient…we all get knocked down, the ones who win in life, know how to get back up.