Building new habits only seems easy when the habits are bad. Forging good habits is a constant uphill battle, but it can be done. With the right mindset and a lot of hard work, you can create new habits and build the life you’ve always wanted.
So what is the mindset that will spur you to success? In a nutshell, it’s the belief that you can accomplish it and the willingness to work at it every single day. Really. Take it back to basics, those two things are all you need to be successful.
To break it down further, there are four important beliefs which make up the mindset required for success:
1. I am already successful in many ways. Grab a pen and paper. Write down everything you’ve done this week. Did you make food every day? Did you put several hours into a day job? Did you write a paragraph? Did you walk the dog? Clean the house? Organize your bookshelf? Pitch a guest post? Meditate? Edit a friend’s resume and cover letter?
Odds are your list will take up the entire page–possibly more than one–pretty quickly if you’re honest with yourself. Give yourself some credit. Yes, you probably can find more time in your week to devote to writing. You probably could work harder to build your storytelling career. Still, as long as you do one thing, however small, every day to create the life you want, you’re accomplishing much more than millions of other people.
2. I am someone who works hard every day to build the life of my dreams. Right now, you’re that person some of the time. You write every day for a month, but only get a few pages out the next month. You keep the house spotless for months, then stop cleaning at all until the mess is unbearable. You apply for jobs regularly for two weeks, then give up entirely for a month. Whatever it is you’re struggling to create, you take two steps back for each one forward.
That needs to change. You need to spend every day working towards the life you want. Consistently. And it will mean working on yourself, your habits, for the rest of your life. But you can do it, and you will. What you need to do, every day when you’re tempted to slack off, is tell yourself this: “I am the kind of person who works hard every day to reach my goals”. Then get to work.
If you need a booster, take a look at your list from #1. Someone who did all those things wouldn’t give up on improving their life, would they? If you can make time for all those things, you can make time to write more, to exercise, to meditate, to create whatever habits you believe lead to a better life.
3. I will live the life I’ve always wanted through good habits. Some days all the hard work seems pointless, but building good habits is the only way to create success. Writing one page every day for a year gives you 365 pages–that’s one long book or two short ones, well worth twenty minutes of your day.
Applying for one writing job every day means 365 different people looking at your resume or CV. Yes, it can be hard to find writing work, but that’s even more reason to apply every day. The more jobs you apply to, the more likely you are to find one.
Missing a day doesn’t mean you should give up either. There are still 364 days, and that’s a pretty big book. That’s also still a lot of people looking at your resume or CV. A lot of people reading query letters if you send one out every day. Staying focused on your goals, day in and day out, is the only way to achieve success.
4. The best way to create my dream life is one step at a time. You might be able to work on creating multiple, even several habits at a time, doing several things every day, but you can’t instantly change your life. Be realistic. Plan the creation of your ideal life one step at a time, focusing on the smallest steps first. Some people work better with complete upheaval, but most will give up if they take on too many life changes at once.
Next time you start getting frantic, wondering when you will achieve the life of your dreams, slow down and take a deep breath. Your dreams will come with time. As someone once said, “Nothing in life worth doing is easy.” Creating healthier habits and building your dream career isn’t easy. If it was, everybody would have their dream job by the age of twenty.
One step at a time. That’s the only way to undertake any journey, whether it be literal steps or metaphorical ones.
These four beliefs will give you the strength and confidence you need to succeed. When life tries to knock you back onto the old path, remember these four things. More than that, believe them. Every one is true, but only if you believe it.