You are the Sum of your Habits
By: Ben Fogel
I am confident that if you take ONE of these pieces of advice into action, you will see some pretty amazing success in your life.
Think of progress in your life in this way – You are the SUM of your habits. What you are doing today will help you build into who you are becoming tomorrow. Here are 6 things that will help you gain and keep momentum in the New Year:
1. The little things add up to the bigger things. The little things ARE the big things. Everything in life is cumulative
When I realized that everything in my life was cumulative, things changed dramatically. I used to think in more “all or nothing” terms, but soon realized that did not serve me very well.
As a former competitive athlete, I thought every training session had to be performed at 110% effort and if I didn’t “bring it” every session then it would be detrimental to my success. What I have learned over the past 20 years is that even when you make a small but habitual effort towards ANY goal, it will add up and stack in your favor.
This is true in fitness, in finance, in nutrition and in everything. Every small effort you make is multiplied over time. I tend to remind myself more often than not that “A 30 minute workout is still better than a zero minute workout.”
2. Look back on what’s worked in your life and do more of it
Success leaves clues. If you haven’t gone back and reviewed your last year, or even your last quarter of the year this can be a very powerful exercise. Many times in the past, I have done something in work or in life that brought about a very powerful change. Then I stopped doing that thing that gave me success.
Crazy, I know. Why would I stop? Usually it is because of novelty. As humans, we are pre-wired to want change and I am talking about change just for change’s sake. Many people around you that are having success with nutrition and/or fat loss are successful merely because they give themselves less choice, and they eat pretty much the same thing every day.
This sounds BORING, right? Funny thing is, usually when we can give our brains less options, that is when we can have the most success. I recently bought 10 of the same exact shirt. When a co-worker asked me why I wear the same shirt everyday, I said “One less decision to make.”
3. Look back at what is not working in your life and do less of it
This is literally the opposite of above. So many times though, we never really hit the pause button in our lives and reflect on the things that might be spiraling your health, wellness, or lifestyle out of control.
A good start here would be to just write down the top 1-3 things that are not working in your life, then offer yourself an alternative. For example, if my nutrition is not working in my life, and I have identified that I eat out for lunch every day, then I can make a goal to bring a lunch from home that I know will be healthier and more nutritious than the on-the-go alternative.
I heard a great quote the other day:
“The reality that you are facing today is based on every action and decision that has come before.”
The cool thing is, we have the power to change our own reality!
4. Think of your strongest positive belief, story or thought from the past or current that when you think about it, you feel invincible
This can be one of the most powerful things you can do on a daily basis. I thought back about 8 years on this one for me. What I realized was my strongest belief came from when I was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia back in 2015. (Here I am with my amazing wife, Amy after my second bone marrow biopsy)
I had a 3 and 1 year old at the time, and I KNEW I wanted to live, I wanted to survive, I wanted to thrive. So, every morning when I woke up, my mantra was:
“I will survive and I will thrive”
This small, but powerful statement made me truly feel invincible during that time, but I stopped saying it and using it after being in remission the last 5 years. But here’s the thing – with my type of Leukemia, I will ALWAYS be in remission. It could come back at any point. So, I have started to make this my morning mantra every morning now.
5. What are the thoughts, beliefs or stories that pull you down? Don’t believe them. Call it out when you hear them
This may be one of the hardest ones. You are your thoughts. Read that one again:
Your ARE your thoughts
Your mind is such a powerful thing. You have the power to control your positive emotions, and your negative emotions. When the negative emotions take over the positive ones, that is when we can really get into a downward spiral with depression, anxiety, and so much more.
The goal here is whenever you hear your inner voice think about that thought, belief or story, call it out! When you look in the mirror, and say “I’m Fat!” call yourself out. Stop that inner voice.
A good friend once told me:
“Think of all the things you say to yourself when you look in the mirror, then ask yourself – would I talk to my best friend this way?”
The answer will always be no.
6. Replace the “how” with “who”
This reframe has been a true gamechanger for me. Instead of asking the question “How am I going to figure out ________” ask the question “Who do I know that can help me figure out __________.”
There has always been someone before you that has had the same problem as you, and spent countless hours working on that problem to figure it out.
Tony Robbins likes the thought of having a mentor and utilizing someone that has “Been there and done that” as the cheat code in life. I love that he says it is our ability to condense decades into days.
So, next time you ask yourself “How”, replace it with “Who” and if you are not sure “Who” can help you, you are usually only 1 or 2 degrees of separation away from that person.
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