This is a guest post by Wes Pettit
Don't feel like reading? Listen to me reading this post to you instead!
This post has been featured on the Optimal Living Daily podcast – Episode 170.
Listen: iPhone | Android | On the Web
In late 2015, I decided to take action after reflecting on the Earl Nightingale quote:Never give up on a dream because of the time it'll take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. Click To Tweet
What is this one step? It’s Hustling a Habit. It’s doing something each day so at the end of the day, we have achieved something worthwhile with what often feels like minimal effort. I call this “The Streak.” Once I explain this step, I'll break it down into 5 actionable steps for you to take control and harness this power.
In late November of 2015 after feeling like I had been treading water for too long, I got to work. My father introduced me to some online videos from T. Harv Eker and Bob Proctor. This opened me up to starting a daily routine. This power of now getting up in the morning to do my routine, as opposed to lying in bed on my phone, has been remarkable.
My morning routine started as:
- A Tony Robbins breathing exercise (hear Tony Robbins' breathing exercise at about 1:10:30)
- 10 things that I am grateful for
- A look through my to-do list.
As mentioned in so many previous OLD posts, the power was in making a start. I had begun now, and I was ready to Hustle the Habit. I added an 11th item that I am grateful for every day that can’t be the same as the day before (this technique of having me constantly search for what I am grateful for was inspired by Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).
I then added in my goals for 2016… and then even more: I included stretching as I was terribly inflexible before I started and wanted my basketball career to last.
Then on January 1, I did 1 push-up, 1 sit-up, and a 1-second plank. I continued until day 100 with 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups and a 100-second plank. I have since settled on 50 push-ups (including 10 clap pushups), 100 sit-ups, and a 2-minute plank every morning.
I had already started learning Spanish on the brilliant app Duolingo and I'm now on a 16-month flossing streak.
My morning routine in on a 162-day streak, and Duolingo is at 212. If I break the streak by missing a day, it starts all over at zero, which serves as my motivation to do a bit each day, and continue to grow into the person I want to be with the habits I want to have. The only exception is flossing, which is on a 5-times-per-week basis at a minimum.
It doesn't end there–I even added touch-typing. I should’ve paid attention to Mrs. Claxton in year 8, but I didn’t, so here I am Hustling another Habit. I’m on day 83 now and I’m at around 50 words per minute. When I started, I was at only 5 words per minute when not looking at the keys.
I've also incorporated reading 5 pages of a book every day (I include Podcasts in this category). I ensure that I am constantly learning every day, and this is now at just over 100 days.
After a while, I noticed that I still wasn’t quite where I wanted to be. I had to prioritize. So I made this change:
Every morning the first thing that I would do after my routine was my most important project. I spent the first 2 hours of each day on this and after 1 week I had achieved 14 incredibly productive hours striving to achieve my most significant goal. If you don’t have time to spend 2 hours on a project in the morning, try for half an hour or less. It will add up!
Now, after thorough experimentation and many lessons learned, here are the 5 steps for you to take control and harness the power of Hustling a Habit:
1. Start a morning routine that incorporates what you are grateful for, your goals, some exercise, and what you want to learn.
2. Keep track of your progress and always be looking to add or change your routine as you improve and can handle more.
3. Tell someone about it, blog about it, or at least tell your Facebook friends so you are now accountable for that progress. “Burn your ships” as the story goes.
4. Prioritize your time and ensure that you are completing your most important tasks, but also at a time when your mind is at it’s sharpest. Look to add even 30 minutes in the morning to your most crucial project. The most important task is often the most difficult, and one that we're more likely to postpone.
5. Be proud of yourself, and plan. Once a week look back and see just how much you achieved that week. Once a month sit down with your partner or a friend and speak about what you achieved in the last month and what you want to achieve in the next. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished; you’ve come a long way.
Wes Pettit launched Outsett, a worldwide membership for entrepreneurs.