Oct 15, 2019
Ep 84: Cultivating Good Habits in Every Season of Life
There was a season in my life when I’d get up every single morning at 4 a.m. to work out with my friend Rachel Cruze at our local YMCA.
Yes, you read that correctly—4 a.m.!
We got up day after day, week after week, and month after month at that crazy, early hour. Honestly, we didn’t have any lofty goals. We didn’t even necessarily want to lose weight. We simply wanted to be healthier—and, I’m telling you, it paid off. I was in the best shape of my life.
Do you know why I saw such improvement in that season? It wasn’t because I exerted high, intense effort over a short amount of time. It was the result of being consistent with a new habit over a long period of time. The result was looking better and feeling better—and y’all, I even had biceps!
You know, when I look back at the last 10 or 15 years of my adult life, it’s easy to pinpoint the reasons why some years were really good and others were not so good. I can almost always trace the good or bad of any particular season to the habits I was cultivating (or not cultivating) that year.
Believe it or not, getting up at 4 a.m. to work out with my friend wasn’t super difficult. Sure, getting started that first week was hard. But after that, it got easier and easier because it became a habit. It became something I did without thinking.
The Difference Between Goals and Habits
We talk about goals all the time—y’all know what a major role they play in my life. But goals are different from habits.
Goals tend to have a starting point and an ending point. They’re an intentional action where you take initiative to do something new, big and impressive.
Habits aren’t exactly like that. Habits are a recurring action you commit to doing day in and day out. They’re often not new, big or impressive. They’re small changes and tiny tweaks you make to your daily routine.
When you first start to cultivate a good habit, it feels insignificant and like you’re not making much of a difference. But over time, you begin to see the dramatic impact they can have on your life.
For example, cultivating a good habit might look like:
- Choosing water over Coke every time you eat out at a restaurant
- Reading Scripture first thing in the morning rather than scrolling through Instagram
Those are tiny, unimpressive habits. But over time, as you continue choosing water over Coke and Scripture over Instagram, you’ll notice a change in your life.
And it won’t happen because you set some big goal of losing 20 pounds or memorizing the entire New Testament. It’ll happen because you created a small, new habit. These tiny wins don’t have a defined finish line—they just become a part of you.
I love how James Clear says that building good habits is about small wins and tiny breakthroughs that compound over time. Y’all, that is so true. Small wins. Tiny breakthroughs. Big results.
5 Good Habits to Cultivate in Your Life
Because I know the power of good habits to transform your life, I want to talk about five areas in your life where you can intentionally cultivate new ones:
1. Taking care of you.
Taking care of yourself isn’t a pedicure once a year on your birthday. It’s not waiting until the holidays to buy yourself a gift. And it’s not holding off on a massage until someone gives you a gift card.
Taking care of yourself needs to be a regular practice.
This is one of those habits I don’t struggle with. I’ve learned that taking care of myself makes me a better mom, wife and business leader. It’s not out of selfishness—I actually take care of myself out of love for others. When you live your life busy, rushed and running ragged, you’re doing no one any favors.
2. Believing the best.
Choosing positivity and an optimistic attitude will be harder for some than others. But regardless of your personality type, we all can make the choice to believe the best in any situation.
When someone cuts you off in traffic, you can choose to believe that maybe they didn’t realize their turn was coming up. When someone forgets to text you back, you can choose to believe they just got busy. When someone says something that hurts your feelings, you can choose to believe they might be having a hard day.
When you give people the benefit of the doubt, it always works out better for both you and the other person. You always get to choose between assuming the worst or believing the best—I encourage you to choose the latter.
3. Working hard.
Coming from me, this one shouldn’t be a surprise. Whenever you have a task in front of you—whether it’s cleaning your kitchen, building your business, or anything in between—you better expect to work hard for it.
The truth is: There’s no such thing as an overnight success—not in your marriage, parenting, business, finances, etc. Anybody who got anywhere in any of those areas of life got there by working really hard.
That’s why I want to encourage you to work like it all depends on you and pray like it all depends on God—because it takes both.
So, let me ask you: What do you want? Whatever it is, cultivate the habit of working hard and you’ll accomplish more than you ever thought possible.
4. Investing in relationships.
It’s amazing how the quality of your relationships will impact the quality of your life. Have you noticed how they tend to go hand in hand? That’s why I want to encourage you to invest in creating real relationships.
Get together with your friends for coffee and meals. Take vacations with other couples. Show up for your friends in person and on purpose.
And there’s one relationship I want you to be insanely intentional about: your marriage.
If you’re married right now, I want you to know your marriage is not secondary to anything else in your life. It’s not secondary to your work, your business or your children. Your marriage will not be amazing by accident. It will only happen through the daily habit of investing in your spouse.
5. Protecting your time.
Your time is the most finite resource you have—if you don’t protect it, no one else will. If you don’t set up guardrails, everyone around you will tell you what should be important to you, what you should focus your energy on, and where your attention should be.
It is your right and your responsibility to protect your time. So, what makes it on your calendar? The only person who should be deciding that is you.
Related: Ep 34: Excuses That Steal Your Time
This list is a great starting point. But you can and should add to it!
What are some habits you want to cultivate in your life? Do you want to create new habits or kill bad ones? Whatever it is, I want you to know that your life is made up of the habits you create and the habits you live out every single day, so choose wisely.
Building Good Habits with Anthony ONeal
My guest today is going to inspire you to rethink how you make everyday decisions. Anthony ONeal is a national bestselling author, speaker, and Ramsey Personality. Anthony is passionate about helping millennials make better choices so they can build a successful future. I love how he says, “The caliber of your future will be determined by the choices you make today.” Amen to that!
On this episode, Anthony and I talk about:
- Adjusting your mindset to cultivate better habits
- Anticipating the reward rather than the sacrifice when trying something new
- Focusing on a vision when starting a new habit
- Noticing bad habits in your life you might’ve missed
Challenge: A New Habit for the Decision-Making Process
Y’all know I love to teach from life experience, things I’m learning, and things I’m just not that good at.
Well, here’s something you may not know about me: I’m a yes person. Have you ever thought about why I spend so much time teaching you to say no? Because I struggle with it!
Any day, any time, if you ask me to do anything, my default answer is usually yes.
But, you know what? Saying yes all the time usually doesn’t lead to good results—it leads to resentment. You’ll find yourself doing things you don’t want to do, in places you don’t want to be, with people you don’t want to be with.
This is so hard for me because typically, when I first say yes, it feels like such a good idea. At the time, I always think, I can do this.
Related: How to Say No and Stand Your Ground
Here’s a great example:
Months ago, I signed up my son Carter for spring soccer at the local YMCA. I loved playing soccer growing up, so I thought my son might love it too. On the application, I put myself down as an assistant coach thinking, Sure, I can help in some way.
Well, a week before the season was supposed to start, I got an email from the YMCA saying they weren’t sure what they were going to do because the team didn’t have a head coach.
Can you guess what happened next?
I decided it was Christy’s job to save the day, so I responded, “I’ll do it!”
In a matter of seconds, I was signed up to be the head coach of my four-year-old’s soccer team while being pregnant and in my busiest season of work.
That season turned out to feel so long—and it was so difficult. The worst part is, it turned out Carter didn’t even like soccer!
Now how did I get myself into that situation—a situation where I had to fulfill a commitment that wasn’t fun for me or my child?
I got there by saying yes without thinking.
I don’t know about you guys, but often, when making decisions about how I spend my time or whether I say yes to a commitment, I ask myself two questions:
- Do they need me? (The answer is usually yes because they’re asking.)
- Can I do it?
But you know what? When you make decisions on those two questions alone, whoever’s the neediest, loudest, and can produce the biggest guilt trip will end up deciding how you spend your time.
So, instead of only considering those two questions, I want to give you some different questions to ask yourself before you say yes:
- Is this in line with my goals?
- Is this a priority?
- How will this affect my family?
- Do I want to do it?
- Does this compete with a higher priority?
- Will I want to do this a few weeks or months from now?
Friend, I want to challenge you to cultivate the habit of asking better questions when making decisions. Maybe your answer will be yes or maybe it’ll be a no—wherever you land, at least you’ll know the answer was right for you.
1:21 The Difference Between Goals and Habits
6:24 Five Good Habits to Cultivate in Your Life
20:05 Building Good Habits with Anthony ONeal
42:31 Challenge: A New Habit for the Decision-Making Process
Business Boutique Conference
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If you have a success story you would like to share with the Business Boutique community, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.