The Power of Positive Habits

by Dan Robey

Did you know that habits are incredibly powerful tools for personal growth and success? Let me ask you a question. When is the last time you made a conscious decision to add a new habit to your life? If you are like most people you probably answered...never!

The reason for this is that most people only think of habits as something bad. If you ask ten people on the street what the word habit means, nine out of ten will tell you that a habit is a negative action that people do over and over again, like smoking, or procrastinating, or eating too much. But the truth is, positive habits hold the keys to success in virtually everything you do. What are positive habits you ask. A positive habit is simply a habit that produces positive benefits, actions and attitudes. Why is there such great power in positive habits to effect change? Because habits, by their very nature, are automatic, and after a period of time they can also become permanent. This is a very powerful combination.

So how do we go about adding new positive habits to our life? It's really quite easy. You simply begin repeating an action, attitude or thought process every day for at least 21 days. Research has shown that an action that is repeated for a minimum of 21 days is likely to become a permanent habit.

Remember that positive habits have positive benefits and you will reap those benefits for as long as you maintain that habit. So now that we know what positive habits are, and how to acquire them, let's look at some simple positive habits for success.

Positive Habit #1: Make it a habit to set goals. Did you know that the most successful people all share the common positive habit of goal setting? A study was done to determine the importance of goal setting. College students who had gone on to achieve great success in business were asked to list their habits. The students who had made a habit of setting goals were in the top 3% of earnings in the population! It is almost impossible to overestimate the value of goal-setting as a positive habit. Goal setting is simple, yet 97% of the population never do it. Here are some simple steps to help you start making goal setting a positive habit:

Positive Habits #2: Be More Productive With the 4-D Habit. Many of us are stressed out by the negative effects of work overload in our careers. The 4-D habit is a very simple positive habit that will help you to prevent work overload. Every time you are faced with a new task to perform, apply the 4 D's as listed below. You will find that your workload will be reduced as you apply this screening and decision making tool to each task you are confronted with. Decide on the most appropriate choice - and take action.

  1. Do It Now - take immediate action, do the task right away, don't procrastinate;
  2. Dump It Now - make a quick decision and dump the task;
  3. Delegate It - give the task to someone else. This is a very critical aspect of time management. Your time is valuable; make it a habit to work on tasks that you do best and delegate the tasks that can be performed by someone else.
  4. Defer the Task - make an immediate decision to postpone the task to a later time. Make sure to schedule a time to complete it.

Positive Habit #3: Create and repeat positive attitude phrases. A positive attitude is perhaps the most important ingredient to success and a surefire way to maintain a positive attitude is to make it a habit to repeat positive attitude phrases. Choose or create a positive attitude phrase and repeat it aloud many times each day. In a few days, you will notice that your attitude will become more positive.

Here are some examples: "I am reaching my success goals every day." "I am getting stronger and stronger every day." "I can overcome any obstacle." "Every day I am getting closer and closer to my goals in life." "If I believe it, I can achieve it." "Every day, my mental attitude is becoming more positive." Positive habits can truly change your life, I know from personal experience. I am now constantly aware of the habits I have and the new positive habits I am acquiring; I am also aware of the benefits I am receiving. Positive habits are now second nature to me and soon they will be second nature to you.

Put your mind and body on autopilot and reach your goals automatically with a new book called "The Power of Positive Habits" (Abritt Publishing Group; 2003; $16.95).