If we look at the word “excellent” what we see is that it’s built on the idea of excelling – of moving forward. And looking at our HABITS is critical if we want to design our lives to be truly successful and excellent, from the top all the way down to the root. Why? Because so often, the things that will support our quest for success, will be our daily practices.
Step 1 – Review
The first step is to review – to step back and look at how aware you are, in terms of your daily habits and practices. Some are probably so second nature to us that we don’t even realise we HAVE the habit or routine. (And remember, not all habits are bad – you may have some that can be highly supportive of you – or something that you could not do without in your day-to-day life.) So the first step is all about gaining a sense of awareness and just LISTING them, without judgment. Awareness is a key piece in terms of personal development.
How can you gain greater awareness about what your practices are? What are your routines? Step back and create some white space, mentally, and begin to write down every single thing that you do.
Step 2 – Which Habits Serve You
Once you’ve made the list, you may be able to step back and discern your thoughts, to figure out what triggered a particular action or routine. This is where you identify the winners from the losers. Create two simple columns and write down the habits and practices that will support you in achieving your goals in the next 3, 6 and 12 months, and which will not. For some you may not know if they’re good or bad, which brings us to the next step…
Step 3 – Ask Yourself Why
When you address the list of habits, step back and ask yourself, “Why do you have those practices?” Ask yourself this question more than once. For example, if one of your practices is to have a big breakfast before starting your day – which may be good OR bad – step back and ask yourself what the motivation is. “Why must I have that big breakfast?” If your answer is, “I don’t know when I’m going to have lunch,” then ask yourself the next question, “Why do I NOT know when I’m going to have lunch?” Dig deep and try to understand the core reasons.
Having a big breakfast might make sense in some circumstances, but if you’re facing a schedule that is too busy for lunch, the shift is one of self-care during the day. No one should go from 9am to evening without a break and some healthy nutrition – and certainly not every day, day after day. But if you go deep enough, and the why is satisfying for you, then I want you to keep that practice.
Step 4 – Eliminate The Losers
There are some habits that you will spot immediately – that you may have wished to eliminate for years. Remember two things: 1) Life is short. Living the way you want to, without destructive habits in your way every day, is vital to an excellent life, and 2) Simply pushing something away has probably failed you in the past – try replacing it with something supportive.
For example, if you are eating mindlessly, try replacing that with a supportive phone call during your worst snack times of the day. Or, if you routinely say yes to everything, and you find that is destructive to your family time, try writing down all requests for 1 week without responding yes or no – and then measure which tasks would be assets and which would be people pleasing nightmares!
Step 5 – Step Up
Once you’ve looked at everything, done the deep dive and eliminated and identified the destructive practices, it’s time for the STEP UP.
What are things that you truly need to put in place to live a happier, more fulfilling life? Take the risk to move destructive things out of your life, no matter how used to them you are, in order to make room for classes, books, relationships, and all kinds of things that will move you toward those goals you have so carefully designed. And share your results here below – let us know, as your community, what you experience throughout this exercise.
In a fully conscious life, every moment should be purposeful and rewarding, no matter how difficult a day might be.
You can access Cheryl’s Free Course ‘The Way Of The 24 Hour Woman’ – 10 Practical Principles For Living a Happy, Vibrant, and Fulfilled Life here.