What I know works to ensure I make great progress in my business is having a set of daily habits.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle
We all have daily habits. For example, almost everyone cleans their teeth every day, and generally twice a day.
No matter how busy you are in the morning, I’ll bet you clean your teeth. No matter how tired you are at night, I’ll bet you brush before going to bed.
From an early age I always made sure my boys cleaned their teeth twice daily…
And they still have it as a daily habit…
Why do we clean our teeth? To move towards pleasure…
- I enjoy food more if I have my own teeth rather than dentures
- My teeth look attractive so it indirectly contributes to me closing more business, and my partner is more willing to kiss me
…and away from pain…
- My partner would be annoyed with me if they noticed my breath didn’t smell minty
- My children would say ‘yuck’ if my breath didn’t smelt minty
- My colleagues and clients at work would recoil from me
- I would get cavities which would be painful and distracting
- I would have the high cost of fillings, extraction, or having to have a false tooth fitted
- I would lose time off work from attending dental appointments
You will be willing to build daily habits to make more money etc if you are clear what the pains are for not following through, and the pleasures of doing these tasks. I call this The Toothbrush Principle.
Here’s what I highly recommend…
List one new daily habit that you could adopt that would make a difference to your income, then list all the benefits of implementing it, and all the downsides if you don’t.
You can track these on paper or in a spreadsheet, but if you have a smartphone I recommend you use an app like HabitBull. It’s free if you have up to 5 habits you want to track. If you want to track more habits than that, as I do, you pay a nominal one-off fee.
Here is the home screen of my iPhone with the HabitBull icon in the bottom left hand corner. This makes it easy to access. All the other apps on this page are ones I use daily or almost daily…
Here is screen one of the list of habits I have in the HabitBull app…
Here is screen 2 of the list of habits…
I’m going to explain these habits so you can decide which you want to adopt yourself, and which you can adapt to suit your current circumstances.
The lists above are in order of ‘streaks’: the number of days in a row that I have completed a habit for the day. As I have played my Strumstick 3-string guitar for at least one minute every day for the last 32 days, I can say I have a 30-day streak. If I miss a day I’ll be back to zero days. Yes?
Do I really play for one minute? No. I generally play for 6 minutes. But when I tried a few months ago to install a habit of 5 minutes of playing a day I couldn’t keep it up as I’d often leave the playing until just before bedtime then be too tired to play. Having a one-minute goal means that, even if I’m incredibly tired, I can still manage one minute of playing. 🙂
One day, when I was relaxed and eager to learn a new tune, I played for 12 minutes.
What about you? What habit could you set that is tiny, but if you did it every day, you’d make progress in your life?
When I get up in the morning I exercise for 10+ minutes: running on the spot, star jumps, press ups, pull-up bar, sit ups. That’s pretty much it. Most of these I carry on doing until my muscles give up from exhaustion: I may do 10 press ups and collapse, then rest 10 seconds and manage 6, then rest, then do 2, then switch to doing press ups with my knees on the ground and manage 8, then 4, then one. Then I move to sit ups. By the end of 10 minutes my heart rate is high. I’m a bit out of breath. Occasionally I’ll keep going and exercise for 12, 14 or 16 minutes. I make the bed, cut up some fruit or veg for a smoothie, then take a shower once I’ve cooled down.
Every morning I never want to exercise, and I’ve been doing this routine daily for a year, but if I didn’t I’d break my streak, and I’d feel honour bound to admit to you on a webinar or in a video that I’d broken it. I don’t want that to happen, so I do my exercise no matter what. 🙂
I read a book for 5+ minutes a day. This has to be non-fiction. If I did some fiction reading that day, it doesn’t count. Again, some days I do only 5-7 minutes of reading, but occasionally I’ll read for 45 minutes even though I didn’t plan to. This way I get through lots of books. 🙂
Why 5 minutes and not 10? If it was 10 minutes, and I get into bed exhausted after being out with friends, I can always talk myself into doing my 5 minutes to keep my streak.
Would you like to adopt that daily habit? If so, type it into the HabitBull app now.
Write a story: I type a story into Evernote on my iPhone or iPad every day. Every day this is a stretch: most days I can’t think of a story with a lesson, but I sit there until I can think of one. Because every event of the day can be turned into a story somehow. I may have succeeded at something or not succeeded, or read about a story of success or ‘failure’. That’s what I type up, and I add a tag or 2, such as “daily habits”, “be honest”, “procrastination” or “productivity”.
Listed Most Important Task of the day: have a typed or written out what is the MIT for the next day: the task that, if I do it, I could pat myself on the back and even take the rest of the day off?
Walk outside for 2+ minutes. I’m a bit embarrassed to tell you that recently I didn’t leave my home for 4 days. I didn’t realise this until I checked the Moves app on my iPhone. Oops. Not smart, though I got a lot of work and phonecalls done. So I make myself leave the house for 2+ minutes a day. I have gone out at 1am to do my 2 minutes before getting ready for bed to keep my promise. Generally I walk round the block which takes 9 minutes.
Sketch: I draw a very simple sketch with my finger in an app called Paper on my iPad mini. It’s the kind of sketch you may see in a webinar: such as a stick person climbing simple stairs. I think that, if I do this daily, I’ll get better and more imaginative. At the moment I haven’t seen any proof of this. 🙂 I added this habit 13 days ago, so that’s why the streak is only 13 days.
Sleep 7+ hours: This forces me to go to bed so I get decent sleep after managing for many years on 6 hours of sleep. Ten days ago I broke my streak, so I started again at zero.
The next habits are more ‘fun’ ones…
No alcohol: I just track this for interest to see how long it has been since I last had a tipple.
No chocolate: easily broken when I have dessert at a family dinner. Same for ‘no sweets’, ‘no red meat’, and ‘no wheat’. I have none of these items in my home, but I eat what I’m given when I’m out and about.
I generally see my 2-year-old nephew Robin every 2 weeks, so this habit simply shows me how long it was since I last saw him, so if I were to get to 14 days, I’d be texting my brother Mike and asking when I can call round. 🙂
Creation Sessions completed: I don’t know why this is logged as zero as I enter a number of 25-minute sessions I do each day. See the module on Creation Sessions to find out more, but I mostly put the number 2-11 in the box. If I’ve done phonecalls, coaching calls and emails during the day, these don’t count, so I make sure I do at least one 25-minute writing, planning session before bed. I tell the app that I only need to do this Monday to Friday to keep the streak.
That’s it. All the above I’m tracking each day in HabitBull. I also type a diary every day of about 400 words. I’ve done this most days for the last 18 or so years, so I’m approaching one million words in several .doc files. I don’t bother tracking this in HabitBull.
I also log everything I eat each day in the MyFitnessPal app so I can see the calories I consume and whether I’m taking in enough vitamin C etc.
And I log what I do each day in the Eternity Time Log app so, at the end of the day, I can review what I accomplished and write about this in my diary.
You could also track…
- doing the 5-In 5-Out breathing technique I mention in the Effort-Free Life System module
- doing the ROBERTA process from the Effort-Free Life System module
- stretching for 1+ minutes daily
- smiling at yourself in the mirror and/or doing 20 seconds plus of laughing
- writing ideas onto a pad for 1+ minutes a day or typing them directly into WorkFlowy
- writing 1+ lines into WorkFlowy
- doing a kind act for your partner
- telling your partner you love them
- spending 5+ minutes of quality time with your child 4+ times a week
Which habits will you track daily? Start with one and see how it feels. What I think you’ll notice is a voice in your head trying to talk you out of doing a task. This is normal. We just have to ignore it and do what we said we’d do. Yes? 🙂
Email me to tell me what you commit to so I can congratulate you.