AUGUST 22, 2020
We don’t often see our efforts paying off because there is a threshold to success that can only be crossed with consistency and continuous efforts, and crossing that threshold is what we often call an ‘Overnight Success’.-Prabhsimrat Gill
Achieving success and reaching our goals is what all of us want and truly aspire. However, not all achieve success and not all of us reach to where we want to in life. What is the reason for this? Well, it is very simple- lack of consistent actions. Yes, this is one of the major factors that marks the difference between the successful and the unsuccessful. And, your habits play an integral role in marking this difference. Thus, with aligned actions and habits, you can make sure that you are on the “successful” side of the line.
Let us first understand how small yet powerful habits determine if you will be successful or unsuccessful. It is easily understood that the more you repeat a behaviour, the more deeply it becomes a part of you. This does not happen in a second, it takes some time for the mind to adjust to it and understand everything about a certain behaviour.
Imagine that you have come to a new neighbourhood, and you are walking down the street where your home is, trying to get acquainted to the new environment and place. It is cold outside, and you see a small coffee shop. You enter the coffee shop and the warmth soothes you. You decide to order hot chocolate and you absolutely love it! Now, while all of this is happening, your mind is taking notes of everything that you are experiencing, and it links all of the experiences together. As you enter the coffee shop, you feel comforted with the warmth and the mind notes that. Then, you feel good after drinking hot chocolate and the mind notes this action. Now, it links all the information in the following manner, “Going out of the house on a cold day and ordering a cup of hot chocolate in the coffee shop two blocks down is good.” It is important to know that the things that are the easiest and the most satisfying are most likely to become habits because we always look for things that feel good and require the least effort to do. As the mind understands that this action feels good, it will naturally develop an urge to repeat this action again in similar circumstances. Therefore, you start going to this coffee shop mostly everyday on cold days as it is easy to go there and it feels good. This is why we prefer to order food online rather than to cook, and this is why we prefer to binge watch our favourite shows instead of taking up a course. In both cases, the former is the easiest and the most satisfying, while the latter isn’t.
Now that we have understood why certain behaviours become habits while others don’t, it is important for us to know how our habits determine if we will become successful or unsuccessful. In this case, everything narrows down to alignment. If your habits are aligned with what you want to do, then you are on the path towards success. If not, then you are on the path to mediocrity. But often the case is that most of the things that seem easy and satisfying are not aligned with our goals. If the goal is to become healthy, then eating a packet of potato chips in the evening won’t help but eating some apples will. If the goal is to attain financial freedom, then unnecessary buying in offers won’t work, saving and investing money definitely will. If the goal is to write a book, then watching many movies and shows for a good storyline won’t work but writing a story and expanding it will.
The main question that still remains is how to develop good habits that align with our goal and get rid of the ones that don’t. The only things we need to do is make the good habits more visible, easier, and more satisfying. If you want to eat more vegetables, then instead of keeping a packet of potato crisps right around the corner, it is better to keep a basket of fresh fruits on the dining table and the kitchen platform with a plate and a knife right next to it. And placing the potato crisps at the back and the most difficult to access corners of your kitchen cabinets where you keep your groceries. Naturally, you will tend to go to the fruit and eat it instead of pulling out all your grocery, taking out the potato crisps and putting the other grocery back in again. By making the fruits more visible and easier to access, the mind will naturally move away from the crisps. This can be implemented in almost all spectrums of life. The easiest thing to do is to just make all the distractions and the unhealthy habits invisible and limit the access. Do the opposite for the habits and for the actions that align with your goal and you will easily be able to give most of your time to what you want to achieve in life.
Now that we have understood how small habits can determine your ability to succeed or fail, it is important to consider the factor of consistency in achieving success. If your habits represent the car and success is on the other end of the highway, then consistency is the fuel that powers the car. If you are not consistent, habits cannot be built. Following a routine that is aligned with your goal programmes the mind to perform a certain action at a certain time with a certain interval.
For example, if you want to become an author and you find that you feel fresh and fully energised after exercising early in the morning, then making a routine that links the exercise early in the morning and the writing of your book will give you peak performance as the energy and the freshness that you get after exercising will be utilised in the most righteous manner that is aligned with your goal. Now, you need to make this a habit. To do that, you can set an alarm for around 5 in the morning, then keep your exercise outfit and shoes right next to your bed and the easy access will naturally push you to exercise. After exercise, you take a refreshing bath and as you enter your work room, you see the laptop and your notepad with your book ideas placed right on the table. This way you will build this habit which will become your vehicle to success. However, the fuel is still missing. The fuel is consistency. It is important for you to maintain your routine no matter what. If it breaks due to any situation, you should be ready to pay any price for that. This way, you will try your best to stick to your routine and will develop consistency.
One important thing to remember here is that you will not see instant results by building good and aligned habits and by maintaining consistency. This is one of the biggest reasons why people give up. Keep in mind that with every consistent and aligned day, you are growing, and you are taking one more step towards your goal. These steps will lead you towards success, and after you cross the threshold to success after continuously working towards your goal with consistent actions, you will see exponential returns. That is the line that marks the difference between the successful and the unsuccessful. You have to be very patient and perseverant in this journey, because many people come 90% of the way and give up on the last 10% just because they don’t see the results coming. The successful people are the ones who maintain their patience throughout the journey and continue to grow and succeed consistently…
Thank you so much for reading!