So several years ago, my wife and I read through “The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” by Jack Canfield. This book made a big difference for me (in fact, I wrote about it here.), as it does a good job of outlining many simple and helpful ways a person can increase their own productivity, happiness, and success in life.
In fact, the book has 64 principles in all. Principle 34 is “Develop Four New Success Habits a Year.” Canfield writes:
Your habits determine your outcomes. Successful people don’t just drift to the top. Getting there requires focused action, personal discipline, and lots of energy every day to make things happen. The habits you develop from this day forward will ultimately determine how your future unfolds.“The Success Principles,” by Jack Canfield p248
Canfield then suggests that adopting four new positive habits per year is an effective way to transform yourself. He writes:
If you use these strategies to develop just four new habits a year, 5 years from now you’ll have 20 new success habits that could bring you all the money you want, the wonderful loving relationships you desire, a healthier, more energized body, plus all sorts of new opportunities.p249
As I review this chapter right now, I’m reminded of a rather conventional version of success where you get up and get ’em so that you can make it to the top! I’m not sure I’m completely aligned with this notion at this point in life, however, in this chapter, as throughout the book, Canfield does a good job of distilling valuable qualities of effective people.
And when I first read this, I was captivated. I thought to myself, “I can do that! I can take on a few new habits per year!”
In fact, in another chapter, Canfield suggests that you commit to reading one hour per day. I said to myself, invigorated by his suggestion to take on new habits, “I’m in!” Beginning the first day of the following year, I began reading for one hour on weekday mornings. This became my reading habit, which has helped me read many, many books.
Of course, it helps that I am a very systematic, routine-oriented type of person. Building new habits has appealed to me for a long-time: as a kid, I got in the habit of reading novels. I also got in the habit of studying, and of practicing piano (obviously, this paid off).
Over 11 1/2 years ago, I started my habit of exercising regularly. And of course, last August I started my daily blogging habit. Obviously, I’m a big believer in developing positive financial habits. Going to the cafe is a habit I especially enjoy. Intermittent fasting has been a steady part of my lifestyle for a year now. And I actively work on my own habits of thought.
As I read in “The Greatest Salesman in the World” by Og Mandino:
“I will develop good habits and become their slave!”