Over the past year my husband and I have both been interested in the power of habits. For health, taking care of our home, making it through the day to day monotony of a "day job", eating well, you name it. We both have read the blog Zen Habits for a while now. I find Leo's posts so inspiring and motivating. Last year I started using the Lift App and went back and forth determining which habits I wanted to track and stick with. One of my strengths is being a "strategist". I love tracking, seeing progress, and being efficient with my time and energy. Sometimes I think I could create my whole day out of small habits.
Last week I read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, which I can't recommend highly enough. Goal setting, dreaming big, and personal development are some of my biggest passions (hence this blog), so I've been working my way through some of Jess Lively's book suggestions for the top 10 resolutions. The Slight Edge focuses on daily practices that, compounded over time, will drive you directly to your own definition of success. Olson says that "People who live with huge, vivid, clearly articulated dreams are pulled along toward those dreams with such force they come practically unstoppable". The author brings up the incredible point that you don't have to be a genius to be happy, successful, healthy, or anything. All you have to do is be consistent about the things you already know how to do.
The first step, according to Olson, is to create your personal philosophy. I had been thinking about this for a while now, even before I read the slight edge. Thanks to my inspiring words board, I had a good place to start. Have you ever thought about your personal philosophy or mantra? Olson says, "by your philosophy, all I mean is changing the way you think about simple everyday things. Once you do, then you will take the steps you need to take, to lead you to the how-to's you need". He says it's the attitude behind your habits that have the power to create lasting change. Sounds easy enough!
Some quotes, philosophies, if you will, I've been thinking about are... "She designed a life she loved", "Do what matters, forget the rest", and, "How you spend your days is, of course, how you spend your life", among others. As I continued reading through the philosophy chapter, a few sentences jumped out at me immediately. "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. There is a natural progression to everything in life: plant, cultivate, harvest." Once I read those few lines, my personal philosophy was self evident.
"If it matters to you, cultivate it"
Cultivate has many definitions, one that says, "to foster the growth of, to raise or grow something under conditions you can control". This is a philosophy that can stay in the back of my mind when laziness or fatigue set in. When I don't feel like waking up at 7, even though I know it''ll start my day off right. I can think of this philosophy when I'm watching TV instead of playing with Rowan, even know I know I value quality time with him. When I'm tempted to order a pizza instead of cook, start my workday late, let too many days slide without flossing. These things are important to me! They are so easy do do, but just as easy not to do. On Wednesday I'll be back with a post on my 16 daily habits for success & how I track them. On Friday I plan to post about how you can incorporate simple daily disciplines to drive your success as a creative entrepreneur. Have you read The Slight Edge? Are you intrigued?