Aristotle once said,” We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Did he just say excellence can be a habit? Is that even possible?
Fortunately, this is totally possible! Habits are that powerful!
The more you do something, the more you become better at it. When you have become so good at that skill, it becomes automatic and close to flawless. No matter what you do, it is difficult to be lousy at that skill anymore. That is how excellence becomes a habit itself!
Isn’t it amazing to constantly excel at a skill?
I am excited too! Come, let me explain why habits are so powerful.
1. With habits, you are locked in a routine
First thing first, what is a habit?
According to the dictionary, a habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
Focus on the phrase “one that is hard to give up”. Does it give you a hint of why habits are so powerful?
With a skill that is so hard to break free, you are essentially locked in a routine.
According to a 2012 study by a group of psychology experts, a habit takes around 10 weeks to form. This means that a habit takes around 10 weeks to break too.
As a result of this difficult-to-break habit, you get to practice regularly. Your mastery of the skill becomes better and better.
2. Requires little effort and willpower to repeat the skill again
When a skill becomes a habit, it becomes automatic to a point that you start doing it unconsciously. There is little effort and even willpower needed to tell yourself to do the skill.
Not only can you repeat the skill anytime you want to, but you can also excel at it due to the huge amount of practice you did.
Furthermore, since little effort and willpower are needed to execute this skill, this frees up energy and willpower for other more intensive and difficult skills. With more energy and willpower, you will be able to excel in other skills too!
Hence, habits not only make a skill easier and less tiring to do, but they also help you excel in other skills, sort of like a chain reaction.
3. Habits motivate you to keep going
Since habits make a skill become automatic, the skill will still likely be done even if there are obstacles along the way.
The obstacles can be exhaustion, procrastination, etc. No matter what obstacles there are, the skill is still executed. This is because the skill has become so automatic that it is difficult to not execute it.
A simple analogy is the presence of inertia when a car is braking. When the car is moving and the brake is suddenly applied, you feel a force pushing you forward. This is because your body wants to continue to move forward. It is difficult to suddenly change a situation and even a habit.
Thus, habits spur you on to continue executing the skill and not let procrastination etc get in your way.
4. You improve exponentially with habits
Every time you execute a skill, your neuron pathways are reinforced and get stronger. Even when the pathways are already so strong until the skill becomes a habit, they continue to strengthen.
By continuing to execute your habit, it becomes more powerful and automatic over time. Lesser and lesser energy is needed to execute the habit.
With so many improvements, you are able to master the habit better and improve exponentially over time.
5. A foundation for a happy and successful life
There are reasons why you often hear that successful people have habits.
Habits motivate them and help them achieve a more blissful and accomplished life. They get to accomplish more in a shorter time, get massive results, spend time with their family, enjoy more rest, and so on.
The list is endless to what habits can help the successful achieve. This is why habits are like a foundation for a happy and successful life.
They help whoever has them to do so much more and gain greater joy.
So what are you waiting for?
Get up and create your first habit to lead a more happy and successful life.
If you are not sure how to create a habit, here are the 10 summarised steps to do so.
- Ask yourself why you want to make this a habit
- Make a timetable
- Start small
- Make yourself accountable
- Do it with your friends
- Make it fun
- Gradually increase the difficulty
- Remind yourself why you started
- Repeat it
- Reward yourself
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