You have to make the decision now

You are what you are until you decide to become different than you are.  It is a hard thing to change but it can be done.  It just requires you to make a commitment and then do the work necessary to change your circumstances and your life.

I was recently speaking with a friend of mine about the current pandemic that we find ourselves in.  We were talking about how things were going with business, work, and life in general.

One of the things they said they were doing was watching a lot more television.  They  rattled off all of the shows they had watched. It was quite impressive.

I shared with them that I had been working out a lot more.  Instead of working out 60-80 minutes a day, it was more like 90-120 minutes a day of focused workouts.  In addition to more walks around the city where we live.

The conclusion that I have come to and you already know this as well.  We default and become more of who we are even during times of uncertainty, success, failure, and life as a whole.

My mentor explained it to me this way.  He said you have to decide if you are going to be a charitable person or not.  He said the amount of money you have or don’t have doesn’t matter.  You can be charitable when you are making fifty thousand dollars a year or a million dollars a year.

You are either charitable or not.  If you don’t create the habits and mindset to be a charitable person now while the stakes are lower, you definitely won’t do it when the stakes are much higher.

Many people are setting around saying to themselves “When I _______.”  Fill in the blank.

  • make more money, I will invest more
  • make more money I will give more
  • have more time I will volunteer more
  • am not raising kids I will go back to school

I am not sure where you are in journey but you have to decide now, the person you want to be and then do whatever it takes to start implementing the habits and decisions that will make you that person.

There is no “there” out there.  You don’t magically arrive one day. Life is an evolution. You have to continue to evolve, but the first step to evolution is to decide who you want to be.

Repetition and Frequency and why you need both for success

A good question to ask yourself is “How often should I get a check up on my health?”

At my age, health, and background, my doctor believes once a year is sufficient.  As I age, it will become more frequent than that.

Someone very close to me goes to the doctor more often.  It seems like at least once a month, if not more.  They have several chronic illnesses and they have several medications that they are taking.  Which requires more tests and check ins.

Repetition and frequency for them is more important because of their situation.

Success in your health, life, career, etc. all comes down to the repetition and frequency.  And you have to do both of these to have any success in life.  I believe the more you do them both the quicker and more success you will have in the thing you want success in.

Repetition is the act of doing something over and over again. The more we repeat something, the better we should get at it.  I say should, because the level of complexity of the thing is also part of the equation.

If you take a job that now requires you to give more presentations than your previous position.  When you first start that job and start giving presentations.  You most likely won’t be very good at it.  But over time you will become better at it, or at least you should become better at it.

This is where frequency comes in to play.  The definition of frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event in some time period.

This is the game changer and why you need both repetition and frequency to have success.

What if you had a job where you delivered a presentation once a month.  By the  third month you would become better at it.  However, if you had to get up every single day and do it, your number of occurrences would be 2900% more, than doing it once a month for three months.  You would have 87 more occurrences. In each of the occurrences you would have refined your presentation and delivery and gotten better at it.  Which in turn you would get better results from it.

Most people can do some level of repetition in their life.  That is the easy part.  But where they typically fail is in the frequency part. They allow too much time in between occurrences of the the activity they are repeating.

I like to use fitness as an example. If you are over weight and unfit and decide to change.  You can’t say I will start working out once a week. Its not enough frequency (occurrences).   You could repeat the exercises once a week for the next seven months and you would most likely not change much.  Because of this you would end up quitting. Plus your body would not change much.

If you instead decide to workout every other day, your would dramatically increase your chances of having success.  You would start to see results sooner, which would motivate you to keep going.

The more often you do something the more success you will get from the act or the results from that act.

If you want to have success in anything in life, I believe you have to increase the repetitions and the frequency. And yes you can accelerate your results depending on the frequency you do the repetitive act.

So the question becomes how quickly do you want to change something?  How quickly do you want to change your financial situation?  You have to either increase the frequency you are paying towards your debt. Or you have to increase your output (work) to be able to earn more to put towards your debt.

Take a look at any area in your life today where you are not getting the results you want.  Now look at the frequency at which you do the activity that should deliver the results for you in that area.  What if you increased the frequency? I guarantee if you do you will get better results.

To your success and your future.

 

 

3 Ways to Really Create a Habit or Discipline in your life

I have had many people tell me that I am one of the most disciplined people that they know.  I am even asked from time to time, by the ones who really care to do the same for themselves, how I actually do it.  How do I maintain discipline in certain areas of my life?   Here is my simple answer that I have learned over the years.

I have studied discipline, habits, willpower, determination, perseverance, etc. at length.  Through all of my studies of success and discipline, here is what I have found to be the most beneficial to creating and sustaining discipline and habits (good ones), in my life.

  1.  You must commit first.  Seems rather simple doesn’t it.  It really is, but it is so hard to do.  Most people never fully commit.  They kind of commit.  When you commit to something you go all in.  Everything you do is directed towards whatever it is you want to accomplish.  It could be finding a new career, it could be losing weight, saving money, quitting smoking, eating healthier, etc.  You name it.  Until you fully commit, you will never be as successful as you can be in whatever it is.
  2. Have the right people around you.  This morning I was reminded of how important this is.  We all know this is important, however, we all need reminders at times on how important this really is. I have had an ongoing commitment issue with a certain discipline that is important to me. I don’t need to share this with you.  You can fill in the gaps.  This morning once again I was going to not follow through on this discipline and see this commitment through.  I just didn’t want to.  I was looking for reasons not to, versus reasons to do.  You know what that looks like, because you have been there before.  So my wife, put a little pressure on me and reminded me of that commitment.  She pushed me to see it through. She broke my procrastination.  Without her, if I was alone, I would not have done what I needed to do.  I wouldn’t die if I didn’t, but what I was attempting not to do is so good for me that I wouldn’t have benefitted from the discipline.
  3. 21 Days to form a habit is bullshit: There are lots of programs out there touting that it takes 21 days to form a habit.  I love what these programs are all about.  All of them have the right intent in mind.  If you eat healthy for 21 days, you might love the benefits from it so much that you will continue on after the 21 days are over.  If you do some activity for 21 days in a row, you may get so many results from it, that you will keep doing it after the 21 days are over.  Like I said, they all have the right intent in mind.The only issue I have, is that 21 days could or could not be all you need to develop a habit or a discipline.  Disciplines are hard.  Habits are hard to create and extremely hard to break.  I have found that 21 days doesn’t really do much for me.  For example, I have been working out and exercising for twenty years.  I would say I was committed to it and disciplined in it for about the first 10 years. Then I slacked off for about three of the next, and then I have been fully committed again for the last seven years or so. The only difference in all of those years was my commitment level and the people I was and am around that helped me and continue to help me stay committed.

    All of this to say.  I hope you can create a habit within 21 days.  However the chances are it will take much longer than that. I have even heard 66 days before. Again, maybe that works as well.

    Here is what I do know.  I have exercised and worked out for twenty years now. I would say that the last five or maybe even the last three years, it has finally become an activity that without a doubt I must do every single day.  It is so ingrained in me that if I don’t do it, I will not feel the same.  It truly is a habit and discipline now.

So which of the above do you need to do to create some habits and disciplines in your life? Have you fully committed to this discipline?  Have you surrounded yourself with the right people and are you in the right environment?  And lastly, don’t expect it to happen overnight.  It is going to take whatever amount of time it is going to take until you just perform the discipline or habit and you don’t even have to think about it.

To your success and your future.

 

Putting in REPS…

In my search for the recipe for success I have studied it deliberately and consistency for several years now.  Through my studies have read many articles, books, cases studies, and whatever I can get my hands on or listen to around what it takes to be successful, and how long it takes for someone to become an elite performer in a given skill, sport, profession, or activity.

What I have found and many of you already know, is it takes a lot of REPS in one of these activities to become elite, which can lead to success.

Success can take on many meanings, such as a world champion in a sport, a sought after or recognized person in a specific profession, a great parent who raises great kids, a mentor, etc.  You can come up with your own definition of success, in this context I will use the above to make the point of how you get there.

The first time you do something you aren’t very good.  You can’t be very good, because it is the first time you are doing it.  But over time through deliberate practice and with coaching.  Yes.  Don’t forget the coaching.  Because if you put in REPS without coaching then you could be putting in the REPS wrong.  So coaching is a very important piece.

So what are REPS:

R epeating:  Yes you must repeat the exercise you want to be good at over and over and over again.

E xercises: You have to do the activities.  The activities could be hitting a golf ball five hundred times a day.  It could be shooting free throws until you hit 50 in a row.  As a parent, it could be performing the exercise of showing your child how volunteering helps others, which in turn teaches the importance of being a kind person and have gratitude for what you have already.  Regardless of what it is you seek to have success in you must set up the exercises that lead to success.

P urposefully: Everything in life that is done with purpose means you know where you are going.  If you want to win a championship or have your kids grow up and be great adults, you live your life and create processes and habits to ensure those things happen.  They don’t happen by accident.  Success is never accidental, it is done with intent by focusing on a purpose.

until

S econd Nature: You practice the skill or the craft you seek to be great at until it becomes second nature.  Good parenting or elite performance comes from practicing the skills over and over with consistency, primarily on the fundamentals until it becomes second nature.

Next time you are thinking about not doing the REPS, remember why you must do them.  If you aren’t getting where you want to be in a certain activity, skill, sport, or profession then I would challenge you to think about the amount of REPS you are putting in.  Is it enough? If you aren’t getting any better, then you most likely are not putting in the REPS necessary to get better. Or you need to hire a coach who can assist you.

One of my favorite quotes that I heard recently that I am really stuck on, illustrates the value of the above acronym:

“Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.” 

What exercise or activity do you need to put some more REPS in so you can’t get it wrong?

Who am I?

I am your constant companion.

I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden. I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.

Half of the things you do you might as well turn over to me and I will do them – quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed – you must be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of great people,
and alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine though
I work with the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a person.

You may run me for profit or run me for ruin – it makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet.

Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Who am I?

I am Habit.  

Author Unknown.

Habits can be your greatest asset or your biggest liability.  We must learn to maximize our good habits and minimize the bad habits.

As we approach 2015, just a few days a way.  I am looking at my bad habits and challenging myself to minimize them as much as possible, and focus more effort in all of the areas where my good habits exist.

The first step in eliminating bad habits is to acknowledge that you have them.  For example:  At one time I used to get off of work at six o’clock or so and I would be starving.  It had been five or six hours since lunch, so it made sense to be hungry.  However, there would be certain days where I would be just really really hungry, we all know what that feels like.  I would eat a big meal thinking that is what I needed, and then go to bed a few hours later.  I think you can see a few problems with this scenario.  Needless to say, I was not in very good shape.

What I eventually discovered was that on days that I was overly stressed out with projects or just normal day-to-day stuff, I would be hungrier.  There would be periods of time in our business cycle that I would go for weeks and do this.  Once I discovered this correlation between my stress and over eating, I was able to manage it better.  Are there still times this occurs?  Absolutely!  However, I am aware of this habit and now that I am I can plan accordingly to manage it.

What triggers your bad habits?  What triggers your good habits?  Be aware of what drives the things you do, this is the first step to maximizing the good and eliminating the bad.

To your success and your future.

 

The same chair

We are what we repeatedly do.  That is a fact.  If you do something long enough it eventually becomes a habit.  It has been proven time and time again that 70% of what we do everyday is habitual.  Meaning most of the things we do, we don’t even have to think about doing them.  When is the last time you had to think about how to put your toothpaste on your toothbrush.  Or you had to think about how you will turn your car on.  Or when you get into the office, you had to think about how to turn on your computer.  The fact is you probably don’t have to think about anything of those things, you just do it.  It is a habit.

So what if you changed your habits some?  What if you tried to form some new habits?  What would that do for your career?  Your passion?  Your excitement?  The psychological change could be reinvigorating for you.

This morning I worked out, pretty habitual for me, I am now sitting in the same chair at the same table, at the same coffee shop, with the same mocha as I do everyday.  Tomorrow, I will sit someone else. Just to break the habit, who knows what might happen.