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INSIGHTS

Turn Setbacks into Setups

“Good Habits” Are Bullshit

May 21, 2019

You probably grew up with your mother nagging you to make your bed and clean your room. It’s one of those classic “good habits” that some of us never quite manage to master in life.

And as an adult, you likely hear “good habits” thrown around like undeniable truths: get up early for a productive day, be a regular reader, start with your hardest task first. It’s gotten to the point that not following these “good habits” makes you wonder if you’re missing out on some crucial strategy or failing in life…but is that truly the case?

Watch out for the “good habit” hype.

We’ve been bombarded by “good habits” since ancient times. Philosophers like Aristotle famously believed in rising early for health, wealth, and wisdom, thus creating a common practice for productivity-seekers to aim for in centuries to come…whether or not it truly worked for them.

Today, in any industry, you’ll find lists upon lists of “good habits” to ensure success. There are habits to ensure better work, studying, sleeping, dieting, spiritual growth, happiness, creativity, well-being, and more. To read the articles, you’d think you must adopt these habits immediately in order to progress. Worse still, depending on the niche, the list of habits will change regularly as best practices phase in and out of style.

And if you’re just trying to find a pattern that works, it’s enough to make your head spin.

They’re only “good habits” if they’re good for you.

There’s no denying the power of habit. By nature, we humans are creatures of habit, and we perform many actions automatically throughout the day. And habits are powerful because they have the potential to boost our productivity. We’ve talked about consistency in the past, about following through with the same practices, day after day, to achieve success. Habits can be a critical tool in getting us there.

But there’s no sense in sticking with a habit that isn’t moving you further toward your personal goals. If you’re following through with a habit that doesn’t make sense with your vision, or if it simply doesn’t bring the results you want, then stop wasting your time.

In those cases, something considered a “good habit” for everyone else becomes a “bad habit” for you, something that drains away valuable time and energy without moving you forward all. Every action (and therefore every habit) has an outcome. And that outcome should be good for you personally.

Clear out your personal habits.

Take a moment and think: are you aspiring to any habits that aren’t working for you?

There’s no reason why you can’t be successful with a messy bed, there’s no reason to get up early in the morning if you work best late at night, there’s no reason to watch the news if it eats away valuable time, there’s no reason to write in a journal if it doesn’t make you feel productive.

It’s all about what works for you. Keep that in mind, and be clinical in dumping habits that aren’t getting you anywhere. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what works for anyone else, or what anyone else thinks of your personal good habits. All you need to do is find habits that match your vision, stay consistent, and keep moving forward.

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