by guest blogger Lewis Howes, author of The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” That old Greek understood how important positive habits are to overcoming adversity and enduring the quest to become a champion. I have learned that champions aren’t just born; champions can be made when they embrace and commit to life-changing positive habits.
Inspired by others, I decided to examine my own habits. I saw how quickly positive habits built strength and resulted in a deeper sense of belief—in myself, in my vision, and even spiritually. This process wasn’t easy at first. I never got into any of the obvious things we think of when we talk about bad habits—drugs, drinking, or smoking—because from an early age I saw what they did to my brother and realized I didn’t want to make those same mistakes. I wasn’t perfect by any stretch (and achieving greatness isn’t about being perfect, anyway), but my bad habits were less clear.
It took a lot of time and constant feedback to realize what wasn’t working in my life, and it will be an ongoing journey until the day I die. (You can discover the 8 principles of greatness that I used to transform my life at the free Unleash Your Greatness online summit I’m hosting.) Over the years, I began adding positive habits and noticed a dramatic change in my results and the way I felt internally, as well.
Some of these include:
- Constantly expressing gratitude
- Smiling at as many people as possible
- Going to bed early
- Getting 7 to 8 hours of committed sleep
- Making my bed in the morning
- Staying organized
- Acknowledging myself and others
- Loving people wherever they are on their personal journey
- Eating clean
- Training my body
- Saving and investing my money wisely
- Visualizing my results and creating a game plan
- Respecting others
- Investing in my personal growth
- Preparing before big moments
- Surrounding myself with inspiring people
Staying consistent with positive habits can be a challenge. I still go back and forth on them. There have been many times when I was working out intensely and in the best shape of my life, and then for whatever reason, I got off track. Before I knew it, three or four months would go by, and all of a sudden, I’d find myself exhausted halfway up a flight of stairs! The key to surviving and then thriving after these moments is to not beat yourself up when you do break a habit. Rather, you need to reconnect to your vision to refamiliarize yourself with why it’s important to stay true to your positive habits in the first place.
The tricky part about habits is that any one of them (good or bad), when you look at it individually, doesn’t seem all that critical. It’s when you take them all in combination or as a whole that they become incredibly powerful. Habits can easily and shockingly thwart the same amount of progress as they can create. This is why we admire people with great self-discipline. It’s not because they were born great. It’s because they learned the power of habits and applied that power to create a lifestyle that supports the best version of them.
Join Lewis Howes at Rodale Wellness’ Unleash Your Greatness online summit November 16 to 23 to learn more about practicing positive habits. Register for free, and enjoy 28 inspiring talks. Speakers include Gabrielle Bernstein, Josh Axe, Pedram Shojai, JJ Virgin—and more.
Lewis Howes is a lifestyle entrepreneur, high-performance business coach, author, and keynote speaker. A former professional football player and two-sport All-American, he is a current USA Men’s National Handball Team athlete. Lewis hosts The School of Greatness podcast, which has received millions of downloads since it launched in 2013. His newest book, The School of Greatness, provides a framework for achieving real, sustainable, repeatable success and gives you the tools, knowledge, and actionable resources to take your vision and turn it into a reality. Learn more at LewisHowes.com.
This story originally appeared on RodaleWellness.com.