Our behaviors and attitudes are inseparably linked. When we change one, we change the other. Get in the habit of making good decisions, and you’ll become a person that habitually makes good decisions. We don’t do because we are, we are because we do. Habits form our character. Our reputation to ourselves and others is based on our habitual patterns of behavior; our habits.
When we form disciplined habits, we become a disciplined person. We developed character through our actions, not because we innately possess the virtue. We are all born the same, naked, ignorant, unable to even lift our heads. In “The Last Days Newsletter,” Leonard Ravenhill tells the story of a small group of tourists visiting a beautiful picturesque village. One of the tourists asks an old man of the village if any great men had been born in this village. The old man replied, “Nope, only babies.”[i]
Set in place a routine that reflects a disciplined person and you’ll become a disciplined person. When we routinely do difficult things, habit makes the difficult things easy. When the difficult becomes easy, life becomes easier. If we become better, our life’s will become better. Life is designed to give us what we deserve, not what we want. The farmer that doesn’t plant in the Spring cannot expect to reap a harvest in the Fall.
A better life can’t be handed to us. If we want success, we must work hard to become the person that success requires. We must make the necessary sacrifices. Success is simple, but it is not easy. To be successful, you have to give-up what most people are unwilling to sacrifice.
To be successful, you must do all those little things, day after day, that unsuccessful people are unwilling to do. It really is that simple. Life never gets better by chance, it gets better by change. Success is always deliberate. Each day is our life in miniature. How we spend each day, determines what kind of life we are going to have.
Compound interest makes you wealthy; compound efforts make you successful. Unsuccessful people aren’t mindful of their daily patterns, so they fall into bad habits. They want success, but they don’t want to do what is required. Wanting more, without being willing to develop your skills through diligent effort; fuels disappointment. Looking for an above average job, with average skills is frustrating. Wanting to lose weight without reducing your caloric intake is frustrating. When you lose focus on your goals, you neglect the little decisions. This neglect leads to bad habits.
Bad habits are easy to form if you aren’t mindful of your decisions and patterns of behavior. Albert Einstein described compound interest as the eighth wonder of the world. He said those that understand it earn it while those that don’t pay it. The same is true of habits. Those that understand their importance put a lot of effort into cultivating good habits. The cumulative effects of our habits can be either positive or negative. The accumulated effects of bad habits lead to crisis. Those that don’t understand the importance of habits neglect them. They let them form unconsciously. They sleepwalk through their days, and by extension their lives.
The 5% of people that write down their goals and review them daily achieve more success than the other 95% combined because they keep their goals at the forefront of their consciousness. Reaffirming their goals keeps their actions in line with their values. Reconnecting with their goals activates their reticular activating system (RAS), which causes our minds to search our environment for resources to help us accomplish our goals. Their goals guide their daily decisions and actions. Unsuccessful people get lost in the daily obligations of life and immediate gratifications of making poor decisions. They have some vague ideas of what their goals are, but they don’t really think about them very often and rarely write them down.
Discipline isn’t a character trait, it is a HABIT. Change your habits, change your life!
Learn more Discipline & Procrastination are Habits, NOT Personality Traits
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[i] Leonard Ravenhill, PRAYER The Last Days Newsletter/June 1982