I don’t have any bad habits.
I’m good at all of them.
Ba-dum-tss. My career as a standup comedian is on its way.
To be more serious, though, this was true of me a few years ago. I was GREAT at my bad habits. Even though I read and heard everywhere that I needed better habits, I just couldn’t make good habits stick. I watched too much TV, ate too much junk food, wasted too much time.
It seemed so impossible to maintain good habits that sometimes I’d tell myself, “Well, people say you need better habits. But do you really? I’m fine this way.” So I want to lay this to rest.
You Need Better Habits, and Here’s Why
When you think about having better habits, what do you do? Think about being as fit as a professional athlete, exercise for a couple days, then throw up your hands and quit?
If so, you have company. That’s what most people do. But there’s another way to think about habits.
Let’s say you want to become a better-read person. You envy people who always seem to have a great quote or story to fit the conversation, and you’ve noticed they read a lot. The problem is that you’ve only read one book in the last year.
Imagine what would happen if you read 10 pages a day starting tomorrow. The average book is about 200 pages long, so it would take you 20 days to read one book (let’s call that three weeks). In a year, you’d read 17 books. That’s a huge jump from one book.
And chances are, you’d start finding books you’re really interested in and want to read more than 10 pages a day. If, halfway through the year, you started reading 20 pages a day, you’d end up reading 27 books.
How Could A Small Habit Apply to Your Life?
Let’s say you don’t have any really good habits right now, but you don’t have any really good ones either. Your average day consists of waking up, rushing through the morning, going to work, buying lunch, coming home, watching Netflix for a couple hours, catching up on Facebook, and going to bed a little too late. You have a friend who’s about the same, except he has a couple beers a few times a week.
You want to get healthy, so you start doing the scientific seven-minute workout everyone’s been talking about. In a couple weeks, no one would be able to see the difference between you and your friend. Same thing in six weeks. In two months, the changes start creeping in. Your body shape is changing a bit, and you start getting compliments. In a year, the difference is very noticeable.
Your friend has kept up his old habits and has actually started having a couple more drinks on the nights he goes out. He’s gained a few pounds, and it shows around his jawline.
You, on the other hand, look amazing. You have more clothes to choose from because you’re a smaller size (more available to you), and you feel great. The stairs that used to make you wheeze and feel embarrassed when you came into the office out of breath is no longer a problem.
And all it took was starting with one small habit: a seven-minute workout.
As one of our blog readers said:
All you need to turn around your life are small, consistent habits. We provide the framework for this in our upcoming Habits Crash Course.
What small habit do you want to start tomorrow? Let us know in the comments below.
Imagine if you’d implemented a small, simple habit like reading 10 pages a day a year ago. How would you feel right now? Imagine feeling that way a year from now, having started a good habit today.
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