11 Simple Steps for Building Habits That Guarantee Success
Step one: Start with purpose.
This article is written by Katrina Ruth, founder and CEO of “The Katrina Ruth Show,” a multimillion-dollar online coaching business for entrepreneurs.
Whether your goal is to run a multimillion-dollar business or get in shape, your habits can make or break your success. No matter how talented you are, unless you leverage the power of habit to work for you, you’re unlikely to build the momentum you need.
Everyone knows what it’s like to go to bed feeling mad at yourself for failing to follow through on what you intended to do that day. What if you could accomplish everything you wanted without thinking? That’s what habits can do for you. Here’s how to cultivate the discipline and consistency to achieve all of your goals.
1. Start with your purpose.
Your daily actions need to be based on a vision and deep passion within yourself. The most successful people have a far higher purpose than just success, which burns deep within them.
First, you have to identify your soul’s purpose. Get really clear on why you want to accomplish your goal, then reconnect to that purpose every day.
2. Use this trick to identify the right habits.
Most people ask, “How do I get there from here?” Instead, ask yourself: “If I were already there, what would I be doing?” If you were already running that seven-figure business, what would you do (and not do) with your time? What beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and actions would be in place?
You’ll fail to integrate habits if they aren’t the right ones. So stop, take a minute, and clarify how you would show up every day. What time would you wake up every day? Who would you spend time with? What routines would be in place? Write it down in full-color detail, then start thinking and acting accordingly. Then all you have to do is let your reality catch up to who you already are. The only way to be there is to be there.
3. Notice your every move.
You have to be that person in all areas of life, from the big things to the little ones. With every move you make, press pause and ask yourself: “What would the next-level me do here?” “Would I go to bed at that time?” “Would I treat my body or others that way?”
Deep down, you already know how to be this person. It’s not that hard; it just takes courage and repeatedly stepping outside your comfort zone.
4. Do this one thing first every day.
In every area of life, there is one habit that moves the needle most. For my business, it’s writing my daily blog post. So I don’t let myself do any other work until that’s done. Every day, no exceptions. I don’t worry about whether I feel inspired or know what to write, because the rule is the rule. Repeatedly putting that first changed my business more than anything.
If you could only do one thing to move yourself forward in a particular area, what would it be? Even if you think you don’t know, you do. You may just need to spend a few minutes excavating it from your soul.
5. Create a daily plan with this formula.
To complete the rest of your important tasks and still have time for life, you need to know your priorities and stick to them. Start by identifying the big things you need to do in the next six to 12 months. Then determine what you must do each month, week, and day to get there.
Each day, get honest with yourself about what actually matters today, with no more than three important tasks; then do those first.
6. Ignore your feelings.
You can’t only show up when you feel like it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone live on Facebook when I felt unsure of myself. I hate that feeling when I didn’t do something I said I would do. Avoiding that feeling drives me.
Don’t wait to feel ready or motivated; act as if you are anyway. Eventually, you’ll show up regardless of whether you feel overwhelmed, busy, or tired. Take responsibility for your energy, even if you don’t know where to start. Otherwise, “I didn’t get to it today” becomes “I didn’t get to my entire life.”
7. Prioritize your well-being.
Self-care is often the first thing to go when you’re busy. But being successful takes a clear, focused, and healthy mind, which requires eating well, exercising regularly, meditating, and getting enough rest.
Stop telling yourself you don’t have time to prioritize yourself. I used to have 75 minutes to work on my business each day while my daughter napped, and I’d still squeeze in a 15-minute workout and five-minute meditation at the end.
8. Reward and reprimand yourself.
You are a rock star for beginning, so don’t forget to celebrate. Do something nice for yourself after every seven days of consecutive action. Give yourself something to strive toward until the habit itself becomes the reward.
Conversely, create consequences if you don’t follow through. For example, I once had a rule that I couldn’t shower until I finished writing each day. Identify whatever will motivate you.
9. Automate your actions.
Building habits is all about making it easy and automatic. Leverage an existing habit to trigger your new one. For example, set a timer to tidy the house for 10 minutes after you shower. While your brain is clear after a workout is a great time to do something creative. Build habits around whenever you tend to hit a slump during the day.
10. Know when it’s OK to procrastinate.
Make a nonnegotiable personal policy that you always keep your word to yourself. When you don’t feel like doing something, you can remind yourself of that rule and get on with it. But you’ll still come to a crossroads at times — so, who will you choose to be? Ask yourself: “If I was at my best, what would I do?” Focus on how you want to feel afterwards, remembering that action will usually energize and empower you.
Sometimes it’s helpful to understand what the resistance is telling you; for example, maybe you do need more sleep instead of going to that 7 a.m. workout. Procrastination can give you greater clarity or a better way. But you usually just need to do the thing.
At the same time, if you really need time for rest or reflection, take it. You are also allowed to press pause for no reason. Just be honest with yourself about when that is truly what you need.
11. Don’t forget the most important habit of all.
Don’t try to go from zero to 100 at once. Slow and steady wins the race. The more you practice, the easier this becomes. The most important habit is believing in yourself. This requires inner work such as journaling, meditating, and sitting in stillness to connect back to your truth and what really matters.
Motivation will kick in when you just start. Find something to do to move toward your goal, no matter how small. If you keep repeating that every day, motivation will find you.