It’s Not the Big Things that Make Us Successful

It is easy for me to get in the habit of staying up late. It’s not that I even enjoy it, but for some reason the night just goes by quickly, and the next thing you know, it is after midnight. I think it might be habit, because of my years of Emergency Medicine, military, and college nights studying. Of course, when I stay up late, I sleep later. That frustrates me, because I also like to get up early, and I accomplish so much more when I do. In other words, I have a bad habit that I would really like to replace.

I was reading recently about how small habits make us successful, and I started relating that to my sleep patterns. Bad habits must be replaced with good habits. It is never the gigantic things we do that make us successful, but the habits that we have every single day. Ordinary things done consistently produce extraordinary results. Let me repeat that: Ordinary things done consistently produce extraordinary results. That is the key to success. Put another way, habits are what make us successful or unsuccessful in any area of our lives. Think about it in your own life. Think of something you do very well. My idea is it is because you have formed great habits over the years around that thing.  If you follow around someone who is successful, they do things every single day that make them that way.

When I think about my own life it is also true. I have done some things that were exceptional in one attempt, but it is rare. Almost all of what I have accomplished is a result of forming good habits. I have an exceptional habit in my work outs. I work out every single day without fail. If I miss, it is because I am either on vacation, or something really exceptional has happened. Other than that, pretty much every day of my life I work out. That work out may change. One day it may be cardio, the next lifting, the next stretching, or whatever, but every day, consistently, there is something. That habit has led to great physical and health success. It is not because I decided one New Years to make a New Year’s resolution and then tried to keep it, it is because at some point I made a 100 percent decision. That means I just decided that is who I am. Now, I don’t think about it; I don’t ever wonder if I am going to work out today. I just do it. That’s the key. It’s easy to do, and it would be easy not to do.

In other areas of my life where I am lacking, I have not developed the same good habits. Getting up early is an example. Some mornings I get up at 4am, some 6am, and some 8 am. I don’t sleep any more hours but the real problem is I have not formed the habit of getting to bed at a decent hour so that I can get up early. I have not made the 100 percent decision. That is why I am so inconsistent. It is amazing what happens once a good habit is formed and how that will change our lives.

It takes 30 days, or so, to form a habit. You have to consistently do something for those thirty days. In other words, if you are doing well for 19 days and then you mess up, you have to start counting over again. The great news is that if you get to thirty days you have formed a new habit, which can then become part of your life without you having to think about it.

So, my new commitment is to go to bed at 10 pm every night that I am living my regular life. This will allow me to get up at 5 am because I only need 6-7 hours of sleep a night. If I am up at 5 am every day I will be able to accomplish much more. I have learned that when I get up early in the morning and have some time to myself, I am able to write, to think, and to spend my hour of power, which then makes the rest of my day go much smoother. This is my thirty-day commitment. My only exception will be if we are out of town.

What about you? What new habit would you like to form? Commit today to create a new habit to replace an old one. Find something you no longer want to do and replace it with a good habit that will lead to your success. I am excited to see where we end up.

Live Every Minute,

Dr. Tim

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