Habits You Need to Be Building (but likely aren’t)

We all dream and wish for the best. We all dream about learning a new language, starting an online business, or just getting better at something simple. We dream and we imagine. We look for answers. Yet we rarely ever take action. We just keep on imagining how much better life would be like. We Google random things and spend hours on Wikipedia.

Today’s not about dreaming. It’s about doing. We conquered our fears last week. This week we’re going to build some habits.

Have you been building any new habits?

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” — Jim Ryun

Have you tried something new lately?

This year I’ve been entering into runs and working on my Spanish.

On May 5th, I did my first 5k run ever. Since it’s Toronto, the temperature was naturally unseasonably high. It was boiling. I was burning up in the sun and finished the run with a tan. The truth was that I struggled with the run. It was way too hot and I wasn’t ready for it. Well, to be fair, I didn’t practise at all. I wanted to prove that if you train your mind, your body will follow.

I was in agonizing pain for the next week. I tweaked my foot. The problem was that I signed up for a 10k run on May 12th.

So May 12th rolls around. This time the temperature was unseasonably cold. It was almost at freezing. It was also very early in the morning. My Sunday morning alarm was at the time that I usually go to sleep on a Saturday night. I don’t know what got into me this time, but I just ran. I managed to finish the 10k in 58 minutes. I never stopped once. Well I did fall down, but I wiped the blood off and got right back up.

My first two runs are now in the books.

Long story short: it’s never too late to work on something new!

As you may know by now, I’m a huge fan of the work of Seth Godin. I love to read all kinds of work and Godin happens to be at the top of this list.

Godin mentions the habits of successful artists in The Icarus Deception…

What habits are common to all of those on cool journeys living life on their own terms?

  • Learn to sell what you’ve made.
  • Say thank you in writing.
  • Speak in public.
  • Fail often.
  • See the world as it is.
  • Make predictions.
  • Teach others.
  • Write daily.
  • Connect others.
  • Lead a tribe.

There are a few things not included that we all do: check Facebook, complaining about your problems, take pictures for Instagram, and getting wasted.

How can you start with building these habits?

Pick one of these habits and stick to it every single day for the next 21 days. No excuses. No sob stories. Just get it done.

If you want to fail often, then try something bold for 21 days straights. If you want to write daily, then write every single day for the next three weeks. Don’t let anything stop you. If you want something bad enough, you’ll do it. If you don’t want it bad enough, you’ll make excuses.

Are you writing? My goal is to write 1,000 words every single day. No excuses. No exceptions. I find that if you get into the habit of writing daily and sharing your work with the world, that it’ll help you with many other habits. Writing leads to connecting, teaching, and so on.

You can also teach somebody something this week. This is easy. You can do this with a friend or on the Internet. Teaching is powerful. It reignites your passion and helps someone else out.

What if it all seems overwhelming?

Well, it probably will because you’ve likely been slacking off the last little bit or confused about what to do next. We all slack and we all need guidance. I get lost all of the time. I just became a Toronto Maple Leafs fan again. I got hooked on the playoff hockey. I thought that the Leafs had the game won. They had a 4-1 lead and they managed to drop it somehow. No more hockey for me. It’s too stressful.

You can start off slowly with building habits.

I recommend that you start by writing daily. This is the easiest thing to start with because we all have plenty of ideas in our heads. It’s time to get them out there to the world.

Connecting others is also easy because you don’t have to be helpful with everyone. You can just connect people who need to know each other.

Failure shouldn’t be overwhelming because it’s easy. Get out there and fail. Fall flat on your face. Laugh it off. Failure gives you permission to try again.

Then you can focus on the other habits on this list as you see fit or any other new habit that you’ve been meaning to form.

What are my habits?

I hate just throwing ideas out there and leaving them there. I take pride in testing out everything before I write about it and share it with the world.

What habits have I built that are worth mentioning?

  • I never miss a workout. No excuses here and my training partners wouldn’t accept them.
  • I write daily. I write every single day. No excuses. It’s midnight on a Saturday night. Instead of drinking or sleeping before my 10k run, I’m working on this article because it’s my first bit of free time today.
  • I always look for the best food option. As often as I can I look for the “healthiest” option. I try to limit the pulled pork poutine to rare occasions.
  • I’ve been working on my Spanish. I do my Spanish lessons every single day. You need to check out Duolingo.

I plan on building more habits over time. That’s all I could think of for now.

One final note on building habits…

The truth is that we all underestimate what can be day on a daily basis and overestimate what can be done in one night.

You won’t get in shape with one workout. But better meals and a few quick workouts during the week, will get you in better shape in no time. Remember that time flies by. Don’t let it pass you by without getting anything done.

What habits will you build?

5 thoughts on “Habits You Need to Be Building (but likely aren’t)”

    1. It’s not my list, but I imagine it’s because most of us are scared to death of speaking in public. This is actually something that I’ve been trying to tackle my whole life. Thankfully, in my business program at college, every single class required a public presentation. In the past few years, I haven’t done as much public speaking. I spoke at my brother’s school about blogging.

      Have you tried public speaking?

    1. I imagine that having a son does take up tons of time. Maybe you can have some fun with working out? Have you tried just randomly busting out pushups or squats around the house?

  1. I’ve been doing the same with German on Duolingo. Such a great website. Because it is so easy to go on and do a little bit of work, I’ve been trying to do it daily over a long period of time to see if it really sticks. I’ve been going for a couple weeks now, so too early to tell. I’ve missed days for sure, but average five times per week.

    It’s great fun!

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