I remember a story as a kid about a road sign in Canada that says, “Be careful which rut you choose because you are going to be following it for the next several hundred miles.” Ruts are like that. They take a week or too to form and then you follow them for years, sometimes right into adulthood. Good habits can take us to really interesting places and bad habits can hold us back from achieving our best. Just think about the habits that you have at the moment. Do these habits serve you well, or are they holding you back from the pursuit of success?
For example, you might have habits around how you use money and what you do with money. I have been challenging my children to have good habits with money like investing 10% (which you never touch) in order to create long-term wealth, putting aside another 10% for generous purposes (like Biblical tithing or supporting great charities), putting 10% away for rainy-day savings and living on the remaining 70%. This 70% is more than enough money to invest in your quality of life, your relationships and connecting with others. These money habits might mean letting go of some desirable material things. But you would be pursuing those things which would build long-term wealth while still enabling connection with family and friends. Because in the end, it’s not the amount of stuff you collect that really matters. It’s the relationships you nourish.
When you get home, are you in the habit of talking to your partner? Do you sit down over a hot drink in the winter? Do you really unwind, connect with each other, to nurture each other’s story and to champion each other’s causes? Have you done that for each other? And you do that for your kids too. Life isn’t about what you collect. It’s about who you invest in and where you invest your energy and your focus. Make this a daily habit or ritual and notice how good it feels to connect in this way.
What about your thought habits? There are many things that could hold us back from success, but a crucial one is the silent chatter that happens inside our head. What’s the story you are constantly telling yourself? Is it a story that’s affirming or destroying? Is it a story that builds you up or puts you down? Is it a story that builds up those around you or does it tear them down? Building good mental habits will give you so much more in return. Imagine seeing your partner across the room and your first thought is to say, “Hey honey!” and your eyes and face light up and they respond by smiling back at you? Beautiful thoughts take you to beautiful places.
Be careful what habits you choose because it’s going to take you a long time to change those habits. How do we make our default way of thinking one which is filled with kindness, generosity, gratitude and love? One of the practical ways to make that happen is to get out a pen and a piece of paper and to start writing down your daily gratitudes. Write down what you love and appreciate about your husband or wife. “The thing I love or appreciate about my wife is how she relates to others around her and always creates a beautiful space...” Now just keep writing until you have 30, 40, 50, 100 ways in which you can express your gratitude or appreciation for your partner. What will happen when you start writing them down. They will shift the psychology of your thinking so that instead of your default being negativity all the time, your default now can be filled with thoughts of love, tenderness and connection.
This will work in any area of your life just by tweaking the question you ask yourself. Ask yourself how will implementing a wealth creation plan lead to long-term happiness and success? Or how will this course enable me to achieve my goals? Or how will being fit and healthy bring me greater joy and pleasure? For each write at least 50 to 100 answers to shift your psychology and start building better habits. The right thinking will lead to better habits that will get you a great life.
Pr Neil Thompson - Life Coach and Minister