7 Habits That Will Change Your Life (Book Summary)
What habits do you need to adopt in order to build the life you want?
Hi, my name is David and in this article, I’m going to give you the 7 habits that have helped me basically recreate my life in over the last 18 months.
These all come straight from my new book “Habits That Change Your Life”
A little over a year ago I was in a really unhealthy place. I weighed about 25lbs less than I do now, I was at a job I couldn’t stand, and I felt like I had lost all control over my life and the direction it was heading.
But thankfully, I came across some amazing resources, like Leo’s blog Zen Habits, and little by little, started to move my life in the direction I wanted it to go.
Fast-forward to today, I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been, I get to work from home as a full-time writer now, and I get to make videos like this where I ask people to hit that like button.
But in all seriousness, if something in your life just feels out of place – that means there’s probably a habit you need to address to turn that area around and make it into what you want
I’m going to give you 7 different habits you can use to do just that.
HABIT #1: Eliminate The Non-Essential
So often the reason we feel overwhelmed is because we haven’t consciously filtered out all the demands that have come into our lives.
As a recovering people pleaser – this is something I still struggle with. How can I be true to what I want without burning bridges along the way?
I’ve found 2 ways to do this.
First, is to make your default answer to other people’s requests: NO. Of course, do this in a nice way, but your first answer should always be no and then you can make an argument about why it might be a yes.
This can be immensely helpful if you find yourself saying YES all the time. Eventually, people assume you will always answer the same way – so by beginning to say no – overtime people will filter themselves out, and you won’t have to say no as much – so that you can focus on what really matters.
HABIT #2: Exercise
Everyone knows you need to exercise but there are a few keys that will help you do this habit successfully.
First – choose an exercise you actually enjoy doing. I like to bike ride, lift weights, and right now my wife and I do Crossfit classes. It's fun. We enjoy the environment and the people – and those things help pull us in.
If you hate running – don’t run. Get on a bike or jump in a pool for a few laps. Make exercise something you look forward to doing
HABIT #3: Single-Tasking
Multi-tasking is literally one of the most unproductive things you can do. And you might even be doing it without knowing.
Is your desk littered with random project notes?
Do you have a half unplayed Ted talk on one tab, music in another, and what you're working on in another tab?
All of these little unfinished tasks create open loops in your mind that drain away pieces of your concentration and energy.
The solution is to get serious about single-tasking. Pick 1 thing to work on and complete, and until it's done – close every other tab, put away every other note or book, and just focus.
For more on this idea, I highly recommend Cal’s book Deep Work.
HABIT #4: Shorter Goals
Hands down, one of the most impactful habits I’ve instituted is the idea of treating my goals as though they had 12-week deadlines.
When we set a goal, we usually give ourselves a pretty generous timeline (like a year) and because of that, we take action in accordance with that time frame.
This is a version of Parkinson's law which says that any task will fill up the time allotted for it.
So by setting shorter time frames, you will actually accomplish just as much as you would have, if not more, in a fraction of the time.
For example, I wanted to take my coaching curriculum – what I used to walk people 1-on-1 on how to write their first book, and turn it into a course. I knew going into 2019 that was one of my big goals. But rather than giving myself till the end of the year to do it, I gave myself the 3rd quarter (July – September) to complete it.
Guess what – I finished it last week and now I’m already enrolling students ahead of schedule.
Make it a habit of setting shorter time frames around your goals and see what happens!
HABIT #5: Develop Positive Thinking
For this habit, what I mean is that you need to learn how to take ownership of your thoughts.
Of course, you can post positive things around your walls, but in my experience, you usually need a little more hands-on approach.
What worked for me was keeping a thought journal for about 6 months.
In this journal, I did the following
- Every time I had a negative thought – usually because something stressful happened, I would pull out the journal and describe the situation in 1 sentence
- Next, I would write down what I'm feeling (fear, worry, etc)
- Next, I would fully write out the negative thought I had in my mind
- After that, you identify what belief system is making you think that way (I will include the 7 negative belief systems in the description box below)
- The next step is a really important one, and this is where you write out how YOU would like to think about the situation. What would a positive way be to see this?
- After that, you take it one step further and explain how that situation could turn positive and how being positive can help the situation
- Finally, write down the feelings you have at the end of this exercise (calm, relief, etc.)
It can be a little time consuming the first few times you do it, but it is insanely helpful. If I was in a stressful situation in public, I would just find a bathroom or quiet place where I could take 2 minutes and use my journal.
Eventually, your mind will rewire itself so that the positive thoughts you used to have to work for now become your default.
HABIT #6: Kindness
This might sound a little cheesy but I promise you its important.
By the habit of kindness, what I mean is the habit of seeing the best in people, giving them the benefit of the doubt, and making your default reaction to others be one of genuine care.
This is a huge one for business.
One of my favorite quotes is that humility is not thinking less of yourself, but rather, it's thinking of yourself less.
That is the heart of the kindness habit. When its time to interact with others its important that you become other-focused.
My only hack for this is to think of the kindest people you know and spend more time with them. There was a janitor at a place I used to work who was hands down the kindest, most selfless person you’ve ever met. People gravitated to him. And in the rare case that he asked for something, people were literally climbing over each other to help.
His kindness set him apart and you can use that too.
HABIT #7: Develop A Night Routine
There’s a lot written about morning routines, and I’m sure I will make a video about my own morning routine.
But I don’t think there is enough said about how to end your day properly.
If you know how to close your day, you’ll get better rest, you’ll feel more relaxed, and you’ll have way more energy to tackle tomorrow.
Right now, my night routine consists of:
Stretches, turning off all technology, prepping for tomorrow, a small amount of reading, brushing my teeth, and that’s it.
I highly recommend you spend some time planning out how you can intentionally close out your day – because it will pay dividends in the long run.
Now you can find more about all of these habits in my new book: HABITS THAT CHANGE YOUR LIFE. This is a compliation of some of Leo’s best writing, and 20 brand new mini-chapters from me.
This book is on sale for a limited time so grab your copy – it is such a good resource on habits and how to start moving your life in the direction you truly want.
If there's a habit that has made a positive impact on your life, I’d love to know what that is – so go ahead and leave a comment below.
Until next time my friend.