“Success isn’t owned. It’s leased, and the rent is due every day”-J. J. Watt
Paula White once said, “Your future is found in your daily routine. Successful people do daily what others do occasionally”. Losers do occasionally what winners do daily! If you really want to know the reason why some people succeed and others don’t, you need not look far-the secret is in their daily routines! Tony Robbins corroborated this when he said, “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently”. The idea of a fixed future is a farce! Our future is constantly changing because of little things that happen in the present.
The #1 leadership coach, John C. Maxwell once said, “You will never change your life until you change something that you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine”. Successful people don’t have New Year resolutions; they have daily resolutions. Success is a daily job! When people wait for the New Year to make a resolution, then they have waited too long. Resolution must never be a yearly event; it must be daily.
A brief look at the origin of New Year Resolution will actually give us the reason why it is bound to fail from the beginning. A New Year’s resolution is a tradition that originated about 4000 years ago from the Babylonians in which a person makes a promise on New Year’s Eve to make certain changes or self-improvements in the year ahead. The practice was further carried over into Roman times with worshippers offering resolutions of good conduct to the two-faced deity named Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings, who looks backward into the old year and forward into the new.
The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year, which began in mid-March but later shifted to January after the Romans tinkered with the calendar to reflect their own first month named after Janus. Ancient New Year resolutions were only made on two premises: that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts but the modern form has been extended to cover anything thereby diluting the sacredness of the practice. The Babylonians and Romans had a greater motivation to stick to their promises than what we have today, because for the ancient people of Mesopotamia, keeping their promise would mean that their gods would bestow grace on them throughout the course of the following twelve months, and breaking those promises would put them out of favour.
Today, the only thing that has changed (for some) is that, rather than making promises to gods, we make promises to ourselves. And since we cannot possibly rain thunders and lightning on ourselves as punishment for not keeping our promises, it need not surprise us that sooner or later we fail in staying true to our words. Ancient New Year resolutions were born out of deep commitment and reference to a deity, it was more religious then but has now gradually become more of a casual practice. People now make New Year Resolution with impunity!
A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions failed, despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning. Lack of accountability in modern New Year Resolution eventually became its doom. Where there is no accountability, there can never be success! For New Year Resolutions to be sustainable and workable, it has to metamorphose into daily resolutions. The object of this piece is to help the reader make a mental shift from a doomed New Year resolution to a workable daily resolution. Man is designed to live daily. We sleep daily, we eat daily, we bathe daily and that is why the only religions that have survived modernization are those with daily rituals! I have realized over the years that systems that cannot be monitored daily are bound to fail.
Aristotle, Alexander the great’s teacher and mentor once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”. No wonder that the younger Alexander was able to conquer the whole then world of his time by living repeatedly on his teacher and mentor’s admonition. From Ludwig van Beethoven, Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, and Winston Churchill to the new generation of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg, one critical thing they all have in common is a formidable daily routine.
Instead of consulting oracles, mediums, palm readers, and priests for the reasons for your failures, why can’t you take a diagnostic look at your daily routine. The truth is that the reason for your failure is hidden in how you live daily! Some parts of your future are actually quite predictable by just taking a deep look at your daily routine. There is one thing that success and failure have in common-they happen ‘intalmentally’! Whether for failure or success, they are both gradual; they rarely come by suddenly. People either fail daily or they succeed daily; they don’t fail or succeed suddenly!
Robert Collier said, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” As a personal development coach, the major thing that I normally do around my clients and mentees is to see how to influence and tinker with their daily routine in such a way that it will align with their ultimate destination. My competency watchword has always been: If you want success in the long term, you must be able to make daily adjustments on a short-term!
Most of the time I watch with utter dismay how people attach the reasons for their failure to environment, family, background, etc. without any proper recourse to their daily routine. Failure is simply a pointer to the fact that your daily routine has been indicted! The easiest way to influence your outcome is simply to influence your daily routine.
In the Ancient Greek mythology, the story was told of how everything is achievable through consistent daily routine. There was a boy who wished to be strong when he grew up, so strong that he would be able to lift a fully-grown bull. In order to realize his ambition, he started to train by lifting a bull calf daily from the day that it was born. Each day, he would lift the calf into his shoulders and carry it on the same defined circuit. As the bull calf grew, so also did his strength, until the day arrived when the bull was fully-grown and the boy had become a man. The man lifted the bull unto his shoulders and carried it around the circuit as he had previously every day. The spectators were fully amazed at his strength but not the man or the bull, to them it was a daily routine and it had become a part of them! That is the power of daily routines; it makes herculean tasks look casual.
How can we live daily and intentionally? How can we transform yearly resolutions into a more quantifiable and monitorable daily routine?
1. MAKE DAILY GOALS: Anthony Robins said, “People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals that do not inspire them”. There is nothing as potent as daily goals! Daily commitment to a goal is essential to its accomplishment. The first level of commitment to a goal is to write it down. Committing your goals to paper increases the likelihood of your achieving them one thousand percent. Zig Ziglar said, “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”
2. GET DAILY FEEDBACKS: Ken Blanchard said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions”. We’ve all heard the saying, “What gets measured gets done.” It means regular measurement and reporting keeps you focused because you use that information to make decisions to improve your results. Track your progress!
3. MAKE DAILY CONTINOUS IMPROVEMENT: Kim Collins said, “Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection”. I have observed that people that are committed to daily improvement ultimately reach their destinations, even if it is little! Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results. The Japanese economy was revolutionized through the culture of unending improvement called Kaizen. The competitive success of Japan in the world’s marketplace is greatly as a result of their implementation of the Kaizen concept in their corporations. In contrast to the usual emphasis on revolutionary, innovative change on an occasional basis, the Kaizen culture looks for uninterrupted, ongoing, and incremental daily change. Edmund Burke said, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”
4. BE ACCOUNTABLE DAILY: Steve Covey said, “Accountability breeds responsibility”. Being accountable to somebody such as friends, family, or a trainer can be a powerful tool to ensure progress towards your goal. Confucius said, “A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.” As a personal development coach, I have come to realize that the only way to intercept our ‘destructive’ tendencies is through accountability.
5. REWARD YOURSELF DAILY: Gautama Buddha once said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” One of the major reasons why people get frustrated in life is because they’ve designed their lives around the kindness of others; you have to learn how to be kind to yourself. Rewarding yourself brings positive reinforcement. You need to develop a daily reward system for your goals. For your resolutions to be resolute, you must NEVER forget to reward yourself!
6. AUDIT YOUR RELATIONSHIPS DAILY: Never plan a future with people who don’t have future plans! I have often said that success is letting go of people, perspectives and places that hold you back in life. Never allow a toxic person to stay a day longer in your life, just one more day with a toxic person can bring irredeemable and irreversible damage! Brian Tracy said, “Your choice of the people you associate with will have more of an impact on what you become than any other single factor.”
7. MAKE PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT A DAILY AFFAIR: The greatest hindrance to personal development is daily neglect. Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Rich people would rather be educated than entertained! Take billionaire Warren Buffett, for example, who estimates that 80% of his working day is dedicated to reading. Do not underestimate the long-term impact of compounded knowledge. If you really want to attract good things into your life, then you have to be intentional about making growth a daily ritual.
8. SET DAILY BOUNDARIES: You must continuously re-evaluate boundaries in every aspect of your life. One critical aspect of healthy living that is worthy of emphasizing is the aspect of healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries produce healthy relationships, but a lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect. Stop opening yourself up to every Tom, Dick and Harry! Disrespecting someone’s set of boundaries actually marks the onset of abuse. You must set daily and vehement boundaries that will keep and insulate you from distractions and disrespectful intrusions. Don’t ever give people sensitive roles in your life that they’ve not earned! Lack of boundaries most times makes us give minor people major attention and major people, minor attention.
The secret to achieving true success is found in your daily routine. You need to start asking yourself some very sincere and candid questions: How is your daily routine holding you back without you realizing it? Which parts of my past behavior led to this (present) future that is not as fulfilling as I had imagined it to be? What are those things you need to stop doing daily, and those things you need to start doing daily? Is your daily routine in tandem with the future that you are anticipating? How can I get a coach or a mentor that I can be accountable to? I have realized that in order to change your life, you need to change your questions!
I will be recommending some books that will guide you on the idea of evolving a winning daily routine: Daily Rituals (How Artists Work): How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration And Get To Work by Mason Currey; Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters by John C. Maxwell; The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey; The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (before 8am) by Hal Elrod; The Compound Effect: Jumpstart your income, your life and your success by Darren Hardy; Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy; Wake Up Successful – How to Increase Your Energy and Achieve Any Goal with a Morning Routine by Steve Scott; Act Now! A Daily Action Log for Achieving Your Goals in 90 Days by Peter D. Winiarski; The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose by Matthew Kelly; Vision to Reality: How Short-Term Massive Action Equals Long Term Maximum Results by Honoree Cordor; Take Control Of Your Life: A 2 hour plan to help you set and reach your goals by Rachel Rofe.
If you really want to make the best out of this year, make daily goals and get daily feedbacks. Your daily routine matters! The way you start your day matters! Your morning rituals matter! Don’t wait for the year to end before making adjustments. Adjustment begins now! Wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “The Secret of Your Future is Hidden in Your Daily Routine”- Mike Murdock
Originally published on LinkedIn
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