How I Stopped Believing That Real Change Comes From Anything Else Than Habits
We have a saying here on the Balkans that literally translates into “Selling the fog.” What that means is that anything which is a bit woo-woo is considered a hoax (selling the fog). People are skeptical about everything and I was one of them.
So it was quite hard to sell me anything regarding mindset and paradigm shifts, having a positive belief that things can change if you believe in it, taking Law of Attraction by your side and making it a friend in your quest.
I approached all of this with the utmost skepticism and after years of exploring, experiencing and learning about it, I learned the biggest truth out there.
All of the mindset shifts and positive beliefs are great but they fundamentally don’t change your life. Period. This was crushing at one point for my life because I invested heavily into changing my mindset, becoming a positive person and believing that mind trumps everything.
But that’s when I fell on my ass, broke, hungry for food, and with only my positive beliefs to fall back to. Nothing has changed for years and there had to be something that I’m missing. And indeed there was. As soon as I found them out, my life fundamentally changed and not only did the change happen in my head but in the real world.
I’m talking about habits.
Small daily actions trump everything
I don’t want to shit on the “inner journey” of a person. It is truly valuable and I am completely grateful that I spent years trying to find the meaning of my life. And I did find it in all of that introspection, self-awareness, and inner life journey.
But there is a huge point we tend to miss on all of these journeys, no matter what they are.
We mistake the necessary first step with the one that comes after that.
We always listen to people telling us “to take the first step.” First step here, first step there. “Changing your mindset is the first step…. Acknowledging that you have a problem is the first step…” All of this was great but what about the second step. I spent years on the first step because I, like many others before and after me, got convinced that the “first step” is the only one that counts.
The phrase “what got you here, won’t get you there” didn’t even count here. This wasn’t about innovation in a field, this was about a complete “paradigm shift” of thinking about change in life.
Believing that you can change, that you need to grow a growth mindset and look positively at life is great. It truly is. But this left me completely naked, vulnerable and literally the same as I was before I started the journey to explore that. Even worse, it showed me all the things that I now know but haven’t obtained, widening the gap between who I am at the moment and the person who is portrayed as successful.
No matter what I did, I wasn’t getting any closer to any fundamental shift in my life. I was still broke, alone, miserable, and unsuccessful. Is this all there is to life? There had to be more.
So I started looking at different places and then I stumbled on a phrase which gave me a direction to pursue.
The old know what I’m talking about
The quote I stumbled upon was by Jim Rohn and said the following, “Motivation gets you started. Habit keeps you going.” Hm… maybe there was something to these habits, I should check them out.
And that’s when I realized the secret ingredient. From Aristotle to James Clear, habits have been the fundamental blocks of change in every single person’s life! I was shocked that so little people talked about this experience. Everyone was telling you about mindset shift and positivity, but nobody was telling you about Kaizen, compounding effect or habit stacking.
These little things changed everything for me. As soon as I identified which habits would bring me to my goals and started practicing them daily, I saw massive shifts in my life. And this wasn’t a one-off experience. This was the fundamental shift that I always wanted in my life but never knew how to accomplish.
I started reading 20 pages of a book a day and after 6 months added one more habit — daily writing of 500 words. These two propelled me into making writing a full-time job and they did that in just one year.
One freaking year!
I spent 7 years mindset shifting, changing my paradigm, and exploring my inner self only to change my life with two habits in a mere year. This was ridiculous. The power of habits clearly had the upper hand in changing my life so I decided to spend my time perfecting them.
I read everything there was to read about habits and dissected every model I could find. I wanted to know the ins and outs of how to build and maintain a habit and I wanted to learn the easiest possible way to do it.
After 2 years of experimenting and learning, I can say that I learned a couple of things when it comes to habits. So far, I made a habit out of daily reading, daily writing and going to the gym. I’m currently in the building phase of my “build a successful online business” habit and will add up more habit habits in the future as I deem fit.
The thing is that my life is now radically different than it was before. I finally live alone, make a living out of writing and have fundamentally changed my daily life which gave me massive results. My work has been featured in major publications like Lifehack.org, Goalcast, Pick The Brain and Addicted2Success.
All of this is the result of daily habits which I carefully stacked on top of each other over years and I can tell you that it was quite challenging. But that’s why I now know how to build and maintain habits the easy way and I want to share that with you.
If you take care of the minutes, the hours will take care of themselves.