If you want to predict where you’ll be in ten years, look at what you do every single day. Humans are creatures of habit, so you can safely assume that you’ll be doing approximately the same things unless you intentionally make a change. If you don’t like the forecast, make the changes now. Tiny course corrects can dramatically change a trajectory, and you won’t notice them at first.
Here are seven powerful habits to try at least once, and how to build them in under 30 days.
Waking up at 5am
Before the sun rises is a glorious time. Everything is quiet, no one is vying for your attention, and you can do the things that you need space to think about. Making the most of those early hours can set you up for an incredible day, one where you feel like you’ve won it by noon.
Create the habit by starting gradually or going straight in. Start gradually by waking up 15 minutes earlier every day and adjusting your bedtime accordingly. Your body will adjust and soon the 5am start will feel normal. Dive right in by setting your alarm for 5am now, ready for tomorrow. For the first few mornings you might feel terrible, then you’ll know what to expect and your body clock will too.
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Making audacious requests
Huge wins go to people who ask, with no exceptions. Stop believing that you’re waiting to be discovered. It’s a myth. Instead of hoping to be picked, make requests of those who can help. Email an author who inspires you, put your name down for a new challenge, ask for a call with a big cheese. You might be surprised by who grants your wish.
Turn making audacious requests into a habit by making one per day. With the goal of being rejected, send the email, make the call or ask the question. There’s no pressure on the yes, you’re just building the skill of audacious confidence and seeing what happens.
There are many surprising benefits to meditation, and one is that it rewires your brain so you are better able to concentrate. Focus is a superpower of entrepreneurs, so improving your ability to concentrate is never a bad thing.
A meditation practice doesn’t have to take up hours each day. Starting with ten minutes can make a lot of difference, and you’ll likely make up those ten minutes later when you get distracted less during a work project. Turn it into a habit by setting a daily reminder for the same time each morning or downloading a meditation app to be guided along.
If you’re in the habit of saying thanks you’re in the habit of receiving. But so many people don’t do it. Say thanks to your team every time they do a good job. Say thanks to your parents for raising you. Say thanks to everyone that opened a door, gave you a leg up or put in a good word.
No one is really self-made, everyone got there by being lifted by others. Remember who those others are and make sure they know you’re grateful. Make saying thanks a habit by starting today. Give verbal thanks more than normal and have suppliers on standby when sending a card or box of chocolates is appropriate.
I guarantee you can get more done in a meeting-free workday than one when you’re back-to-back. The space gives you time to think and breathe and imagine a bigger future for your business. It means you can get deep into work and projects without looking at the clock. You can go down rabbit holes of ideas that might move the needle significantly.
Making this a habit starts with choosing a day. One day, next week, where you’re not going to book any meetings or calls. After that goes well, repeat for the following week, then make it a recurring event. Soon you’ll wonder what you ever did without this meeting free day.
Reaching out to journalists
Here’s a secret about journalists: they like it when you make it easy for them. If you can land in their inbox with relevant ideas, that they want to write about, they’ll likely work with you. Here’s another secret: they often use the same sources multiple times. That means once you get on their radar you can maintain your position with relative ease.
The habit to create is reaching out to journalists. Whenever you read an article about something related to your industry, make note of who wrote it. Email them and put yourself forward for future pieces. Tell them why you liked what they wrote. Be useful and give some ideas. Keep a record and follow up, until they are asking you for quotes and writing your ideas into their words.
Collecting customer feedback
When large companies fail it’s often because they are out of touch with their customers. Although they wouldn’t have started out that way, over time they grew and rose further away from the people on the ground that they were serving. Decisions were made in glass offices instead of coffee shops. Customer services was outsourced instead of being looked after by the owner. Separation ensued.
Create the habit of collecting customer feedback and doing something about it. Make sure the routes for feedback collection are in place, looked at and responded to. Make this a habit to keep it going even as your business grows. The best businesses are hungry to hear from their customers and they keep doing it. Make yours one of them.
Waking up early, making audacious requests, meditating and saying thanks can set you up for huge success. Follow them by having meeting-free workdays, reaching out to journalists and collecting customer feedback and you’ll be an unstoppable force. Imagine the future of the entrepreneur that got intentional about making each of these a habit.