Lately I’ve been paying more attention to taking responsibility for my own life and everything that’s going on in it. I thought that I was doing a pretty good job in that area – accepting responsibility for my life – until I read something that opened my eyes.
I can’t speak for everyone, but when I think of the word ‘habit’, I think of good habits and bad habits. Starting the day early, brushing your teeth, regular exercise – these are all good habits. Smoking, eating junk food, belching in public – bad habits, right?
It didn’t occur to me that habits are also what we don’t do. Brushing your teeth is a good habit. A habit that serves you well. NOT brushing your teeth is also a habit. A bad habit, a habit that doesn’t serve you.
Waking up early is a good habit. Sleeping in all the time and not having a schedule to wake up on is also a habit. A bad one.
I’ve always been focused on what habits I am creating and doing. Adding good habits into my life. I never stopped to consider what ‘not doing’ habits I have. What am I in the habit of ‘not doing’ that is holding me back?
To Do Or Not To Do.. What’s It Even Mean?
The little things we do on a regular basis will add up over time to shape our lives. The good things and the bad things. Brushing our teeth every day and smoking everyday.
But the little things we don’t do also add up over time and shape our lives. Not exercising. Not having discipline with our business. Not eating vegetables everyday. Not drinking enough water every day. Not having clear goals. Not saying ‘I love you’ regularly. Not keeping in touch with family.
I started to realize that the things I was not doing were dictating my life just as much as the things I AM doing. An invisible force I wasn’t even aware of…
Maybe An Example Will Help?
How does this all happen? To paraphrase Jeff Olsen in The Slight Edge’, what is easy in the beginning becomes hard later, and what is hard in the beginning becomes easy later.
‘Not doing’ something can sometimes be much easier then doing it. It’s easier to sleep in. It’s easier to not call relatives. It’s easier to eat something unhealthy when you’re on the go. It’s easier to skip the gym. It’s easier to assume your spouse knows you love her/him.
Once or twice, it won’t make a difference. Over time, it accumulates and shapes your life. Sleeping in late becomes a habit. You fall out of touch with family. You gain weight and become unhealthy. You grow distant from your spouse and your relationship gets strained.
This becomes your life. And a life like that is hard. All because you did what was easier in the beginning.
And The Opposite Of That Looks Like…
We all like to sleep in That’s not the problem. But do it on vacation.
It’s harder to wake up early everyday and get a head start to your day. It takes effort to call family on a regular basis (especially if you have a large family, like I do). It’s harder to keep a strict diet and eat fresh healthy meals on a regular basis. It’s hard to get exercise everyday, even the days you don’t feel like it. It takes effort to say ‘I love you’ – with words or actions on a regular basis.
That is A LOT to do.
But only in the beginning. As it develops into habit, it becomes easy. If you keep the discipline to do this on a regular, daily basis, how will your life look in a few years? (yes, years. Habits are long term).
You’ll wake up early on a regular basis, be more productive, accomplish more, and have more time in your days. You’ll have close, developed relationships with your family and there will be more love in your life – and less guilt. You’ll be healthier, more energetic, more active. You’ll live longer. And you’ll have a deep, meaningful relationship with your spouse that will last.
So Which Of Those Examples Do You Like Better?
What we don’t do has just a strong a pull on our lives as what we do. So, I encourage everyone to think about what you’re NOT doing.
How is it impacting your life?
Are you aware?
How can you take steps TODAY not get o the right track?
Share your comments and thoughts below – lots of people (including me!) can benefit from them.
To Your Success,