Complete this sentence: I feel better when I __________ every day.
What was your gut instinct? For most of us, it’s probably something we’re not doing as often as we’d like (think daily). And that’s not necessarily because we lack motivation; more often than not it’s because we don’t realize how impactful that “thing” could potentially be. It could be a catalyst that positively influences every aspect of our lives. We just don’t know what we don’t know.
In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg talks about the notion of “keystone habits.” Put simply, these are practices that have a compounding or cascading effect in our daily lives: Think of them as “snowballs”. They build energy as they grow.
When I make my bed every day, I remember to eat a good breakfast with whole foods.
When I eat a good breakfast, I have energy for my morning’s tasks and my workout.
When I get a ton of stuff done before noon, I’m able to spend more time with my family in the evenings.
Intention precedes habit. Positive habits nourish and build other positive habits. Like taking the first step in anything, the steps come one after another.
So often we see the changes we’d like to make as shadows on the horizon. As we stand hugging the shore, looking at our future, we consider that we might never be able to swim so far. Change feels so distant, so blurry. And somewhere in our minds, we start to think about having to swim all that distance in one fell swoop, unaided by current or prevailing conditions. What if we fail? Maybe we aren’t good enough.
But that’s not how change works. We don’t have to do everything at once–to the contrary, because that’s usually a recipe for failure to be sure! Beginning with one positive change, no matter how small, can really get us going and provide some serious momentum. Step 2 only comes after step 1. And if you want to cross the ocean to your future, you have to step into the break.
No one ever accomplished anything truly great or life changing by allowing doubt to stand in the way of action.
So start with that first sentence up above. What’s that one thing you love doing? What’s that one thing that tends to make everything else afterwards go a little bit better and a little bit smoother for you?
Then never look back.