“People have uphill hopes but downhill habits”
— John C Maxwell
Oh the sheer, brutal truth in this.
That while hope is vital, it alone won’t see us over the finish line. It’s not quite enough to have just a dream. After all, a goal without a dream is just a wish.
It’s also a reminder that you do actually have to keep working on something — be it your personal development, your health, your business, your hobbies, your goal. Life is an upwards trajectory that does require ongoing effort.
This is also a lesson in growth mindset, and neuroplasticity — that the brain can be trained, changed as a result of experience. And it goes both ways — for better and for worse.
This is why you actually have to keep working on your habits throughout your life. It’s a daily practice.
(I know, right? No one said that before….)
As you get older, there can be a tendency to let things slide. Right around the time you get a mortgage, or take out a netflix membership. Priorities change, which changes your actions, and in turn your habits — but your dreams remain there in the wings. Haunting you.
If you choose comfort over the challenge — if you don’t match your dreams, desires and goals with your actions and your habits, then your dreams too will disappear in the rearview mirror — before you can even choose what series to start watching next.
Over and over again we hear about big goals (those hairy audacious ones), ambitious plans and shiny dreams.
But we hear less about what it actually takes to get there.
- Taking action.
- Putting the hours in.
This gets almost no mention in the newsfeed, so there are feelings of frustration, shame, not being good enough when you don’t get “there”, overnight.
But it’s a whole journey. It might even last a lifetime, and that’s ok.
The trick to staying the whole course is to enjoy the process — not just the result. Otherwise every time it went south, even a little bit, you’d be taken out. Every. Single. Time.
So if you’re not seeing the success you had scheduled in for right about now, it’s time to stop beating yourself up and take a look at why that is. It’s also time to stop accepting it, giving up. It’s time to get off the sofa and take action.
It’s not because of your funnel, or your offer, or even that you’re broken and need fixing. It’s not because of whatever you think is holding you back.
The crucial bit is simply what you do next.
It’s the choice you make.
It’s whether you remain sitting on the sofa and indulging in distractions. Or you start creating better habits for yourself — and reinforcing those.
In order to change your habits, you have to change the actions you take. Easier said than done — which is why most people won’t bother.
So most people stay stuck in a downward spiralling loop.
But I know as humans we are capable of change. That is neuroplasticity. I know we can learn new habits. And I know that you can too.
It’s this small principle, the sheer choice you make to commit to your habits — is what underlies every single strategy for success.
It takes small actions, daily, over time, to get where you want to be. It doesn’t happen overnight. And if your habits aren’t rock solid then you’re going to quickly revert to square one pretty fast.
The key lies in your habits.
Sometimes you need a hand to get started — so take it.
Sometimes you need to eliminate all the crazy other distractions, temptations, indulgences, rabbit holes and self sabotaging behaviours.
Sometimes you just need to knuckle down and focus on getting shit done.
And then keep doing it.
So lifting the lid on my current work on habits: I just started 100 days free of booze. Alcohol was becoming a bad habit for me — a crutch, something to lean on. But that in itself is a downward spiral, and I feel the need to curb it and have control over it, before it is beyond my control.
And for the record — that is also 100 days shame-free too. I’ll probably screw up the alcohol bit before too long — I genuinely have little expectation of actually making it 100 days straight without, but it’s an incredibly empowering little challenge — and I know even if I get to 10 days without a drink, that’s a pretty good dent toward changing that habit, and that’s the important bit. There is ZERO shame in trying.
I’m also building an incredible business straight out of the box — so I don’t have to even think about 90% of the technical stuff I previously had to do in my “normal” business — it leaves way more time for fun, and I’ve got a tonne less decision fatigue to contend with (heads up — that’s a big ass self sabotage pattern right there).
It’s liberating. It’s also giving me the thing I ACTUALLY wanted all along — time freedom.
But don’t let anyone fool you — there’s no reward without risk, and you simply you have to do the work to enjoy the fruits. There’s no other way round it.
That’s what habits are all about.
Because here is the secret: you don’t unlearn habits — you just overlay them with better ones. This is how the brain changes — it doesn’t forget the old habit, it’s still there — you just give it your preferred shortcut.
I’m a complete habits geek — because I HAD to be.
I’m not lazy or necessarily undisciplined, and nor are you. I just knew that I had to establish some good habits to make that entrepreneur road a little less bumpy and as streamlined as I could. Time freedom, remember?
I don’t want to get stuck on the sofa in 10 years wondering what happened to my life.
Need a little smooth sailing in your life? This isn’t Jesus take the wheel, but my business is simple, effective and fun. With a good habit here and there, I built in time freedom and a residual income stream — and I’m here to show others how to do the same.
If you want to join in the 100 day alcohol free challenge — reach out for an accountability buddy. Wine is good, but good habits are far, far better.
And if you’ve got a habit you already swear by, I’d love to hear it in the comments.
And on the off chance that you’re still not not convinced, I’ll end here with this thought, which is around 2,300 years old and still bears repeating:
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”