How habits help drive success

How habits help drive success

Have you heard the joke about how you eat an elephant?  

One bite at a time.  

It’s the same with success. We often think of success as the result of a massive achievement. But the truth is, success is achieved through the accumulation of all the myriad smaller habits we formed to get us there in the first place. 

It’s a good thing then that humans are creatures of habit – we thrive on routine. Studies have shown that 45% of what we do is driven by habits.  It seems that having engrained positive habits are one of the keys to achieving success. 


Isn’t it just about being more motivated? 

Recently I’ve been having more and more conversations with those I coach talking about habits vs motivation. What’s more important out of the two? It’s an interesting conversation.  

For me, I think you need a motivator to start. For an endurance athlete, that’s probably going to be an event. Very quickly though, it becomes apparent that you need to form positive habits to actually achieve that goal, to help drive success. 

There are plenty of examples of the kinds of positive habits that endurance athletes need to form to be successful. An obvious one is training. If you’re a triathlete you may go to swim squad at 5:30am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as I did for countless years. 


Habits are the stepping stones to reaching your goals 

When we set ourselves big chunky goals, we often get disheartened if we don’t see significant progress towards that goal. We become too focused on the result and lose sight of what we need to execute during the process of getting there.  

This often knocks our confidence and limits our desire to maintain the behaviours (the habits) required to thrive. So what’s the solution? Breaking our goals down into smaller habits that can be achieved more easily.  

And here’s the kicker: when we achieve our goals – big or small – we get a hit of dopamine, the feel-good hormone, and adrenaline, the energy hormone. All natural, and perfectly legal! These feel-good, motivational brain neurotransmitters ignite our desire to maintain those behaviours that lead to success, and as a result, very quickly, habits become part of our routine.  


Success leads to more success  

Ultimately, the sum of all these habits and mini goals achieved allow us to thrive and become successful. A win-win.  

To help drive your success, focus on engraining the positive habits into your routine that powers the process of achieving your desired end-result. Once that’s done, your success will take care of itself. 

In the wise words of Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle:  

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act but a habit.”  

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