Habits: The defining factors in your future and destiny

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” ~F.M. Alexander.

Resolutions are made to be broken. And they are broken early and often. Only 64 percent last longer than the first month and 46 percent last beyond six months.

So something has to give, right?

Changing your life requires more than just a resolution. It calls for changing your priorities. Transforming habits. Shifting focus. Changing routine. You can even go as far as to say it means to repent. You must change direction if you want real change.

For some people, it may seem more like a radical revolution than a simple adjustment. But the amount of improvement in your life will be in direct proportion to the changes you implement in priorities and habits.

What do you want more of in your life? Lose weight? Spend more time with family and friends? Travel? Save more money? Find a spouse? Stop smoking/drinking? Something has to change.

For example, losing weight is more than just starting to walk a mile a day or eating fewer carbs. Those are good things, don’t get me wrong, but real change means stop doing one thing and start doing something else.

And be on guard: When you get tired, frustrated or simply run out of time, you revert to your old habits. In other words, you default to what you know. It’s true for every facet of your life and it’s true with every relationship, every situation, every activity. You have to be a bulldog about change.

Remember this: Wherever you are right now is the result of your habits and priorities yesterday. Want to be different tomorrow? Change your habits and priorities today. I could give you a list of dozens of ways to change your priorities, focus and habits, but here are five things that will get you started on the journey.

MEDIA AND SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX.

In addition to the hundreds of cable television channels available, Americans are spending more than two hours per day on social media. In fact, the average is 2 hours, 22 minutes that users are checking Facebook, posting to Instagram, checking emails and texts.

It’s easy to get drawn into any aspect of the media conglomerate and it’s challenging to even cut back a little. Sometimes, it’s easier to shut it down cold turkey, then add back slowly.

But being deliberate about cutting back or cutting out the social madness allows you to replace your focus on something more important, such as reading, exercising, finding friends or anything that is currently missing in your life.

FIND YOUR ENERGIZER AND MAKE IT PRIORITY.

What gives you the strength to make it through the day? What is it that makes you want to attack the day?

For some people, this is a quiet time for coffee and watching the sun come up. For others, it could be an early morning walk or jog.

When I was a kid, my dad would get up at 5 every morning so he could enjoy his coffee and the morning newspaper. In peace and quiet, without the interruptions of work, kids or the daily grind.

My wife has a morning devotion routine. She will spend as much as an hour reading devotions, reading her latest book and journalling between gazes out at the morning sunrise over the mountains. I have what I call a ride and write session that helps to rejuvenate me. Ride my bike, then write, whether it’s an email to the kids or something for you.

Whatever energizes you for the rest of the day, make it a priority. Don’t miss it, don’t forget it, and don’t let it get lost or pushed aside.

EXERCISE. Just do it!

Yeah, you knew I would get there, right? The average American isn’t getting his daily dose of exercise. Strangely, the numbers vary depending on where you live, but the good news is that you can change that.

Find your exercise niche and make it happen. If you’re not exercising at all right now, start small. But start. Today. Crawl, walk, run.

Just do something. You can walk the neighborhood, work outside in the yard or go to a spin class. My wife works out every day with a regimented system that includes aerobics, weights and stretches. Me, it’s a stationary bike. Hey, it works!

Need help getting started? Or just need suggestions? My wife is a Beachbody coach. Email us at chipalatta@gmail.com

FOCUS ON THE ONE THING.

“If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” ~Russian Proverb.

Stop multi-tasking and start single-tasking. In his book — interestingly called The One Thing — Gary Keller asks the question: “What’s the ONE thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?” You can drill down with that question to make it focus on the next hour or “today” and carry it out to even put together your five-year plan.

But it’s clear that trying to do one or two or three things at the same time is a time eater and energy zapper. And, often, little to nothing is accomplished or completed. Just as you can become a jack of all trades and master of none without focus, so too can you get to the end of the day without checking anything off your to-do list.

Ask the question, and chase one rabbit at a time!

READ! READ! READ!

No, not the newspaper or People magazine. Pick up a good book, an encouraging devotion or find a good blog that will challenge you (we can recommend a good one).

We basically cut out television this year and started reading. Haven’t missed CNN or FoxNews, much less Steve Harvey and, between us, Elizabeth and I have read over 25 books. My goal was to read one per month and I’m on #12 now, so there’s a good chance I’ll hit my annual goal.

There are some great books out there that will challenge and motivate you. Pick up one today. Here are a few suggestions:

  • The Greatest Salesman in the World. A must read by Og Mandino. Short, easy read.
  • Chase the Lion. Fasten your seat belt. Mark Batterson will force you outside your comfort zone but’s a great “push”.
  • Think and Grow Rich. This best seller is a more difficult read, but well worth the time. It is rich in content with nuggets on virtually every page. Napoleon Hill.
  • The Dream Giver. A fascinating fable about a young man named Ordinary. Bruce Wilkinson.
  • Love Does. Great stories from author Bob Goff.
  • For other suggestions, email us at chipalatta@gmail.com

Perhaps most importantly, do something today. Change your priorities, make your plan and write it down. Because, as Albert Einstein said:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

One comment

  1. Thanks for the insight Chip. Some things you said in particular that stood out to me were:

    * Focus on the “one thing” ( I still am not sure that I even what the one thing is…)
    * Reading
    * Working out

    I will try to do a better job of each of these in the upcoming week.s

    Like

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