Your habits make you who you are. This isn’t a new concept. What you do, you become.
Small actions done consistently over time add up and become much larger things. Small things done over time add up into pleasure, joy, and comfort. Those same things neglected over time lead to pain, disease, discomfort, and restlessness.
While my life is far from perfect, I have lived a fairly great life for someone of such a young age. Thriving social life, lots of travel, successful business, tens of millions of readers… it’s been a good run thus far.
My life isn’t always going smoothly… but when it is, I attribute my good fortune to good habits.
Here are some of the greatest habits that I would contribute my success and happiness to.
1. Daily journalling
Journaling, aka writing in your diary, aka a gratitude practice, aka the written practice of observing your ego, is hands down one of the most valuable things that I do on a daily basis.
Close to 24/7, I have something that I can jot down my notes into within arms reach.
I either have a fully charged phone that I write notes into, or a pocket sized Moleskine notepad on me whenever I leave the house.
Some days I simply jot down whatever comes to me throughout the day, and other days I intentionally sit down with my writing receptacle and brain-dump for half an hour to an hour.
By getting my thoughts out of my head, I come up with new and exciting ways to add value to the world, to have more fun in my daily life, and to grow and develop as a person. I also sleep better, find it easier to focus, and am more present in conversations because the chaos in my mind is externalized and therefore doesn’t have to be carried around by me all day.
If you’re looking for somewhere to start, the five most frequent writing prompts that I use are:
– What is true for me in this moment?
– What am I afraid to write about right now?
– What am I currently trying to avoid facing?
– Who do I love and why?
– What am I grateful for?
Either borrow from the above list, or create your own prompts that work better for you.
2. Investing in myself
Some people expect bigger and better results from their life without putting in the work.
They want a more loving, caring, attentive, and amazing romantic partner, without being those things themselves. Or they want a business that generates 5x more revenue, without becoming 5x more valuable to the market that they serve. In short, they want the results without the effort.
I have been a fiendish autodidact for the past 10+ years… investing in every book, seminar, mentor, coach, and mastermind group I could get into. And while self-development in the traditional sense isn’t the only path to greater life mastery, it’s certainly one of the most predictable ones.
Personally, I don’t think that there’s enough that you can invest (time, energy, and money wise) into your personal growth. I even have several friends and clients who spend over $100,000 per month on their coaches, mastermind groups, and personal growth. And, without exception, all of them attribute the success in their lives to their willingness to invest in themselves. They don’t invest in coaches because they have money, but rather they have money because they have always been the type of people to invest in coaches.
Where in your life could you enlist the help of other coaches, mentors, or programs to improve upon yourself? The more blind spots you can discover, the more every area of your life is destined to be lifted into a different level of fulfillment.
3. Morning smoothie
I wrote a deep dive analysis of this particular habit in my article review on Vitamix blenders, but suffice it to say that this habit (which I’ve been engaging in for over 3 years on a daily basis) has changed my energy levels, sleep patterns, digestive health, and productivity for the better.
Long story short, I consume 3-10x more vegetables than I used to (pre-Vitamix) because I can drink them. The blender also makes them more readily absorbable.
My go-to recipe is a calorie and nutrient dense beast of green goodness…
Combine spinach, kale, swiss chard, half a can of organic coconut milk, a full avocado, a few chunks of cooked and/or frozen yam, half a cup of chia seeds (soaked overnight in your fridge, in water), a handful of blueberries, a full scoop of vegan protein powder, a teaspoon of a quality greens powder, a half teaspoon of sea salt, and a heaping tablespoon of cashew or almond butter.
4. Studying people, psychology, and emotional processing
You are a human being. And, unfortunately, you weren’t given an operating manual when you were born.
Or were you!? Dun dun dunnnn…
I would argue that your operating manual is out there. It’s just scattered out across multiple texts that you have to go digging around in to find your specific answers.
One habit that has served me well over the years is studying everything to do with people, psychology, and emotions as possible. The more I learned, the more I understood myself, and the less judgment I found myself having for other people around me (because I could always understand where they were coming from).
There isn’t one definitive book that I could recommend that you need to read, because you have a different operating system than I do, and it’s highly probable that you need to do your unique research to find that books that will most resonate with you. However, if you’ve been following my writing for any length of time, then there’s a good chance that we have a high degree of overlap in how we operate.
Some truly illuminating books, for me (that you will likely also benefit from), were:
5. Creating relationships by leading with the giving hand
This next habit is something that every person can apply to every situation and every relationship.
Some people argue that there’s no such thing as altruism… that everyone, ultimately, is just out for themselves. And while I don’t agree with this entirely, it certainly has a large percentage of truth for a lot of people.
When you want to make friends, or date someone, or be employed by someone, or get a leg up on your career by picking the brain of someone who is already ahead of you in that industry… it is absolutely imperative that you begin the relationship by leading with the giving hand.
In more practical terms, this means that you begin the relationship with the context of providing value for that person.
I would say that this habit is easily one of the most responsible for me being where I am at in my career development at such a young age. I am where I am because I worked hard, but also because I had access to some truly world class coaches and mentors. And I gained access to those coaches and mentors because I proactively found ways to add massive value to their lives FIRST before ever asking them for anything.
Here are two different examples to drive this point home…
It would be more probable that someone would say yes to dating you if, upon first meeting you, you made them laugh, you made them learn something new, and you challenged the way that they saw the world for the better… versus doing none of things. Why? Because you added value to their lives.
Career development/getting to know someone you look up to
Charlie Hoehn has written extensively about taking on unpaid internships with your idols/mentors/people you look up to in order to gain work experience and to eventually work for them in a paid position (read: The Recession Proof Graduate here). But the point isn’t to work for free forever… it’s to add so much value up front, that the person realizes that they can’t afford to not have you work for them.
At the time of writing this article, my writing reaches well over one million people per month, many of whom are self-employed people who want to build businesses in the likeness of mine. On a daily basis I get messages from people asking me how to build/scale/grow their businesses. Not just that, I get anywhere from 10-50 messages per day from people asking for free advice.
Now, if I had zero social life, relationships to maintain, eating, or sleeping to do, I could probably still keep up with these messages. And, honestly, I wish that I could (because I used to be able to follow up with every single person when my writing only reached 10,000 people per month… but those days are long gone).
Even though I get inundated with these messages on a daily basis, there are still people who I DO respond to, amongst the flood of others. So what’s the differentiating factor that has me reply to some people and not to others? You guessed it… I reply to the people who lead with the giving hand.
If someone sends me a quick question and I recognize their name because they purchased one of my video courses months back, or because they left me a glowing Amazon review on one of my books, then I will go out of my way to respond to them to the best of my ability (even if it’s midnight and I should be sleeping… balance shmalance!).
Even if I don’t recognize their names from past interactions, they could simply start off their email letting me know about a typographical error in a recent article, or a website with badass stock photos that I can pull from for future articles, and I would already have a warmer feeling towards them than the majority of people who send me questions without any hint of reciprocity.
Start by giving, or give multiples times first, and your ask will be much better received. Meet the needs of others, and they will be more likely to meet yours.
You are either a battery that charges people up, or a black hole that sucks energy. Be the former, as often as possible, and your life will be better for it.
6. Reporting my mind to others
Journaling is great. Meditation is great. Sitting with your thoughts and allowing them to be there is all well and good. But at certain moments in time, we must share our thoughts with others.
Whether you’re looking to feel emotionally validated, encouraged, or just less crazy, externalizing your thoughts and emotions to others is hugely beneficial.
The more you keep your thoughts to yourself, the more prone you will be to feeling disconnected from others, the more you’ll feel alone day to day, and the more prone you’ll be to judging others.
Over the years I have done group therapy (primarily with my men’s group), I have seen various therapists and coaches, and I have had lengthy conversations with friends, family members, and intimate partners regarding the chaotic nature of my thoughts.
By exposing your thoughts to those closest to you, you can practice radical honesty, emotional authenticity, and vulnerability all at the same time.
If you ever feel like the word has turned it’s back on you, or that everyone is out to exclude you, first make sure that you are not the one turning your back on those around you and choosing to isolate yourself.
Put it all out there. You’ll be glad you did.
7. Asking for help
“If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” – African proverb
Human beings are a social species. We need to seek and accept the support of others in order to truly thrive.
If you are susceptible to trying to figure out all of life’s problems on your own, then this point will be especially crucial for you to hear.
I used to want to do everything on my own. I wanted to build my business on my own. I wanted to get in better shape on my own. I wanted to be as self-sufficient as possible. And while there is certainly some character growth to be had through struggle and adversity, many people overindulge in struggle because they’re married to the martyr/victim mindset and the validation that they get from being able to complain to their friends about how tough their lives are.
Regardless of what area of your life you’re looking to improve upon, it’s imperative that you seek the counsel and support of others.
Want to get in shape? Hire a personal trainer and/or nutritionist.
Want to start a successful online business? Hire a coach who has done it before.
Want to have a better love life? Let’s talk.
Whatever it is that you’re looking to improve upon, there is someone (or several people) that can help you achieve those goals much faster.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. If you can hire a time machine and get to where you’re going faster by getting out of your own way, why wouldn’t you?
Your Habits Make You Who You Are
I am not a ‘special’ person. I am a unique person with my own gifts, just as you are a unique person with your own gifts.
I have gotten to where I am today through the consistency of my habits.
Wherever you have ended up in your life, as of this very moment, is the cumulative result of your habits in action.
Hiring a coach, waking up early, drinking lots of water, and progressively chipping away at a worthy goal will lead you to a different place than spending 12 hours a day on Facebook, biting your nails, smoking cigarettes, and eating highly processed foods will.
So, if you’re completely fulfilled with your life and nothing could improve, then I have nothing for you. But if you wish something (or several things) were different, then that is up to you to decide that you want something to change.
All change starts with desire, quickly followed by action. And you have to want it badly enough to courageously take the leap towards your new life.
Are you ready?
Dedicated to your success,