What the Successful Know About Habits is Why You’re Not Achieving Your Potential

Control Your Habits, to Control the Outcomes of all that you do

If you remember my On My iPhone post from the end of March, you may already know that I have been listening to a very popular business book called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. I actually recently finished the book and I have to admit it was pretty eye opening to hear about the role our habits plan in our lives and specifically how this pertains to success. Not just success as in a vague representation of our lives, but in terms of how often we as individuals are able to achieve the things we set out to do. I know I’ve discussed before that people often comment to me that they believe I am a very focused and disciplined person, an observation that never fully made sense to me until I was exposed to this book. The book basically explained to me the key information about habits that successful people know and use to their advantage, including how my own habits were bringing me consistent success without me ever feeling like I was “working hard.” Since childhood I have been operating under a certain set of habits that were instilled in me as a child and basically have defined my work ethic ever since. So, the fact that I am constantly achieving my goals, while obvious to outsiders as being a result of disciplined action and focus, just felt like normal day to day life to me. Now, if you feel like you are someone who is not achieving their potential, guess what? I have good news for you! You can change your habits so that success is a habitual activity for your. You just need to understand what successful people know about habits, something I fully realized while reading this book, and am going to share with you today!

Successful People Know that Our Lives are Ruled by Habits

You may think that you have control over your life, but when you boil down your days everything comes down to your habits. Humans are creatures of habit that rely on a sense of regularity to their lives in order to survive, but successful people are able to leverage knowledge of their habits and use these instinctive procedures to make them better at what they do. You can argue against this point if you want, but just accepting the fact that habits play a major role in our lives will make changing them to your own benefit that much easier. Everything from our work, sleep, social relationships, and diet are based on our habits and unfortunately, habits are a hard thing to break. If you have ever tried to quit smoking or implement a new diet or excursive regime, you know first hand that it’s hard to change habits because they are part of an overall routine. When you just try to start or stop a habit cold-turkey, you fail because the overall routine kicks in, resets itself and brings you back to your old habits fast, but when you swap one habit for another strategically, you find that success is achievable!

Successful People Know that You Achieve More when You Don’t have to Think

Remember back to grade school when you were learning math and the teacher taught you how to add and subtract. But it wasn’t enough that the teacher would teach you HOW to perform addition and subtraction, they always went a step further and forced the whole class to remember lines of equations repeatedly. 1 + 1 = 2, 1 + 2 = 3, 1 + 3 = 4, etc and so on. Well, if we knew how to add and subtract, why did we need to basically memorize addition tables? Wasn’t it enough that we knew how to add, so that if we were faced with the situation of having to add 1 + 1, we could figure out how to get to 2? Well the answer is no, it’s not enough, and the reason is because it’s always easier, quicker, and more efficent to know information or to perform an activity when the outcome is a knee jerk reaction as opposed to having to think. Thinking requires effort, it’s a process in and of itself, so when it comes down to having to complete an action, it’s actually more efficient when you know what to do, as opposed to having to think about what to do. When you have to think, time is wasted, errors can occur and questions can even arise in your own mind of whether or not you are correct. When things are an automatic response, its much simpler and smoother of a process. This is why successful people have systems and routines in place that allow them to remove the burden of thought from their lives and work so that important tasks are habitual and therefore more efficient and accurate. Then they can reserve all that mental energy that they would have used on thinking and put it to good use working on solving problems and developing new sources of income!

We Are What We Repeatedly Do - Aristotle Quote

Successful People Know that You Are What You Repeatedly Do

Aristotle said it best “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” If all our actions in life boil down to our habits, then being a person who is aware of and in control of their habits is almost like a litmus test for success. If you can control your habits enough to achieve success once, you can do it again, and soon you can become a person who seemingly succeeds at all they do. Success and achievement are recipes, they are not the same for each and every person, but once you find the recipe to success in your own life, the sky is the limit for what you can achieve once you apply that knowledge and routine to other aspects of your life. This is actually the reason I purchased this book to begin with. As an online entrepreneur, I noticed that other successful entrepreneurs had many of the same habits and once I started seeing the pattern, I knew I needed to learn more about how to control my habits so that I was achieving at a higher level! If you look around and notice that all the people you look up to seem to have habits and routines in place that you are currently lacking, it may be time for you to change your habits as well!

Overall, I think that The Power of Habit was a great business book, and I’m certainly glad I purchased it! I will say, it was a very fun book to listen to on tape as I did, via Audible.com and I would suggest for other entrepreneurs or anyone else who categorizes themselves as a life long learner, that you sign up for an Audible membership because you are seriously able to devour more books and knowledge this way! I’m not sponsored by Audible or anything, you guys know that when I find something I like, I love to share it with you all, and so far Audible has been an excellent tool for me that I plan to use to the fullest extent!



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6 comments on What the Successful Know About Habits is Why You’re Not Achieving Your Potential

  1. Karen
    April 7, 2015 at 9:52 am (3 years ago)

    Wow Alexis great advice, you really got me thinking about what it takes to be successful. I am definitely going to check out audible.com

    • MissTrenchcoat
      April 13, 2015 at 11:18 am (3 years ago)

      So glad I’ve got you thinking about this!

  2. faye
    April 7, 2015 at 1:36 pm (3 years ago)

    I have to say you truly inspire & I live receiving your newsletters & watching YouTube. I follow yourself & Lisamarie Landreth & both of you continue to inspire me to achieve my potential. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to the world of possibility

  3. Sarah
    April 9, 2015 at 1:09 am (3 years ago)

    Great takeaways! I am obsessed with all the new books on habits. Steve Scott has a great one in the kindle store, James Clear has a FREE book on habits that is spot on, and Gretchen Rubin’s new book Better Tgan Before is a fascinating read. She identifies categories of people based on their reaction to habits that was so frighteningly accurate for me I wondered if she snuck into my thoughts when I wasn’t paying attention?!

    • MissTrenchcoat
      April 13, 2015 at 11:17 am (3 years ago)

      I’m listening the Gretchen’s book right now too!


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