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Don’t Hide Behind Your Habits

What will change your life first are not habits.

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I sometimes read yet another article on routines that change your attitude and transform you into an unstoppable machine toward success.

I read them — always less frequently — because I have my routines and I believe in the power of habits.

But, are habits the key to success? Not at all. Unless

Habits

Why we consider some repetitive behaviors important? Because of many organizational and motivational advantages, but most of all because their consistency — in the right direction — compounds. Regular actions or behaviors may add up with excellent results. Like writing every day, or sticking to a diet, or meditating.

Some habits are hardly avoidable. They are inherent in your activity or help to preserve your health, or your family, or whatever you care. Usually, they are few.

Then, there is a multitude of habits that may help your success or your growth, that can make the difference, once you decided your way. But most of them are optional and insufficient. There are often many ways, to achieve your success.

Suppose that your definition of success is becoming the CEO of a company and you are currently tightening bolts in a plant. Try meditating every morning, doing your cold showers and reading one book per month. You’ll keep tightening bolts until your retirement.

“If you continue to dig the same hole in the same place in your life, eventually you will be standing in a grave.” ― Shannon L. Alder

What’s the critical tool for any kind of success?

Decisions

Going to university. Accepting a job. Moving to another town. Marrying someone. Leaving your job. Becoming a monk. Taking risks. Sacrificing one or more of your dreams. You got the idea.

One timely decision can materialize what years of habits strive to obtain. What drives your life toward success are decisions. Tough, meaningful, timely and risky decisions toward your life goals. If you hope that habits will save you those decisions, good luck digging the same hole.

Some CEOs do jogging all mornings, and some CEOs sweat only when the air conditioning is broken. Some successful reporters don’t know what a morning routine is. Not to say that someone didn’t care about going to bed at 10 pm, and became a rockstar.

Do successful people have habits? Of course, they have. Habits help. Anyone has.

But even when successful habits are the foundation of your goals, like in sports, they are secondary to your decisions; they are a by-product of your determination. Vision, commitment, sacrifice, hard cuts are the key factors which drive all the rest, as far as it is in your power.

Daily calls

“Every moment is a moment of decision, and every moment turns us inexorably in the direction of the rest of our lives.” ― Mary Balogh

Every day you have options, opportunities, and threads that need decisions.

Successful habits are daily decisions.

Enjoy your trip, but don’t fool yourself. Don’t let habits upstage decisions. Don’t hide yourself behind comfortable, reassuring or promising habits. What will change your life are tough decisions. You can’t avoid it, and you’ll have to make the relative sacrifices. Then, habits may help.

Say no. Say yes.