Developing habits is a key to success

John Maxwell writes, “The successful person has the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do. The successful person doesn’t like doing them either, but his dislike is subordinated to the strength of his purpose.”

One of the things that has helped me accomplish many of the things I’ve been able to do is to develop habits and consistently follow them. When I decided to return to school at the age of 35 I was working third shift in a factory, pastoring a church, and raising a family. In a class in my first semester we had to record everything we did for two weeks. When I turned in my form the instructor questioned it. He said there was no way my life was structured as tightly as the form indicated. I finally convinced him that it was.

As a pastor I had to remember that Sunday came every seven days. It didn’t matter what else I had to do that week, I had to prepare a sermon to deliver on Sunday. As a pastor who also worked a full-time job outside the church I had even less time than most to prepare my sermons. I had to develop a system to ensure I was prepared every Sunday, and I had to develop habits that would follow that system. Did I always enjoy those habits? No, but to ignore them could have bad consequences.

Each of us have developed habits over the years, but the question we need to ask is are those habits leading to our success or failure. Some develop the habit of procrastination. They put off everything as long as they can. This can get you in trouble real quick. Some develop the habit of making decisions without seeking input from other people. This can also lead to problems. There are many habits people have that do not contribute to their success.

The habits we want to develop are ones that will lead to our success in every aspect of our lives. I have a habit of reading my Bible and a chapter of an inspirational book every morning with my second cup of coffee. I have a habit of writing nearly every night. It might be a post for one of my blogs or a page or two in a book I’m working on. I have a habit of reading every day for at least one hour. (This is in addition to my devotional reading mentioned earlier.) I have a habit of paying my bills for the next month on the last day of the preceding month. Each of these habits help me achieve things I want to do in my life, and I have many other habits that do the same thing.

What habits have you built into your life that help you be more successful? What habits do you have that have a negative affect on some aspect of your life?

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