In the pursuit of becoming the best versions of ourselves, we often fall into the trap of trying to change several habits at once, hoping that’ll get us faster to the finish line. But let’s be real here, it rarely works out that way.
The truth is, when we try to change too much at once, we end up feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. It’s like we’re trying to juggle many balls, and eventually, they all come crashing down. And then what? We revert back to our old ways, defeated and frustrated.
But there’s a better way, and that’s what this episode is all about. You’ll learn why it’s better when you tackle only ONE habit at a time.
You’ll also learn how to gain clarity on which habit you should take a swing at first, the one that will make the biggest impact on your life, and my top strategy for making it easy to follow through on your habits each day.
- Why the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your habits.
- How to break down grandiose goals into daily manageable actions.
- If you feel overwhelmed, try eliminating just ONE bad habit.
- What to do when you hit a plateau.
- Tiny changes = remarkable long-term results.
- Why stacking your habits makes it easier to follow through on them.
- The blueprint for making sustainable changes to your daily routines.
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Rise by CURED Nutrition is a natural supplement made from CBD, Lions Mane and Ginseng (among others) that helps boost energy, performance and cognitive function. There’s no caffeine, no jitters and most importantly, no crash. Visit CuredNutrition.com/Hal and receive 20% off of your entire order. They have tons of other products as well, hopefully you’ll find something that works for you. :^)
- Miracle Morning App
- The Miracle Morning for Addiction Recovery: Letting Go of Who You’ve Been for Who You Can Become by Hal Elrod, Anna David, Joe Polish, Honoree Corder
- Lucy Osborne
- Anna David
- Joe Polish
- Artists for Addicts
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
- Eben Pagan
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Rich Christiansen
- Scott Ford
- The Way2Wealth
- Stephen Covey
- Charles Duhigg
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
- Stephen Guise
- Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise
- J. Scott
- The Miracle Morning for Writers: How to Build a Writing Ritual That Increases Your Impact and Your Income (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod, Honoree Corder, Steve Scott, S.J. Scott, James Altucher
- Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness by S.J. Scott
- BJ Fogg
- Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg, PhD
- Brendon Burchard
- High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
- James Clear
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
- Mark Victor Hansen
- Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth by T. Harv Eker
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Hal Elrod: Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod. And my wife and I are just talking right now. She’s in the background. I always record a few takes to try to get this intro right, and she goes, “When are we going to record our podcast?” And I said, “We were going to do it, and you kind of felt like you changed your tune,” and she’s like, “We should do it for our wedding anniversary,” which is this month. So, anyway, we might or might not. I don’t want to promise because we have not done it yet. We’ve been talking about it for I don’t even know how long but hopefully that will be a reality sooner rather than later. Today, we’re talking about habits though or specifically that you only need to change one habit. What does that mean? What could the one habit be that you need to change? Aren’t there a lot of habits you need to change? The answer is probably but you can really only change one habit at a time effectively or I should say you only need to change one habit at a time. In today’s episode, we’re going to dive into the idea of habit change. We’re going to look at why are there so many books out there.
Some of the most popular books in personal development history, in nonfiction history are books on changing your habits, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Power of Habit, Mini Habits, Habit Stacking, Tiny Habits, High Performance Habits, Atomic Habits. Like, there’s just book after book after book on this topic. And so, we’re going to talk a little bit about what those books teach you about changing habits and then we’re going to ultimately end today’s episode or not end it but we’re going to lead to a really simple approach to changing one habit at a time. And I’m going to invite you to take action today. So, please be ready. Be in that mindset that you’re going like start thinking right now. What’s one habit in your life? It could be a bad habit, a destructive habit that you’re engaged in that you know isn’t good for you, right? Eating too late or drinking soda or I don’t know why those are all these examples I use. There’s a lot of different habits but smoking. Is there any bad habits that you’re engaged in that you should stop? It could also be a bad habit that triggers you, gets you angry, etcetera. It could be a relationship or a habit in your relationships where you continuously react to your significant other in a way that’s not productive and you’re aware of it, but you have not yet made a commitment to changing the habitual way that you respond to your partner.
So, there’s a lot of different habits you can approach. And also, of course, there’s positive habits like changing a habit around being productive or doing your Miracle Morning or income-producing habits, right? Maybe you know what you need to do to take your success in a certain area of your life or your income to the next level but you haven’t committed to doing it. So, today I’m challenging you, I’m inviting you, I’m encouraging you to make a commitment to change one habit in the next 30 days that will add value to your life and then continue that momentum and continue every month to change at least one habit. And today, I’ll talk about the difference between changing just one or approaching more than one. But then I’m going to leave you today with, yeah, that challenge to actually take action and make a difference in your life. So, go into today with that mindset and thinking of what habit you might want to change or establish over the next 30 days or so.
Before we dive in, I want to thank just one sponsor today. I want to thank Organifi. Organifi, I’ve been using their products for I think seven years, give or take, and they make some of, if not the highest quality organic nutritional supplements. And they’re not made in the lab, they’re not synthetic, they don’t use fillers, no binders, none of that. In fact, they all come in powder form that you can scoop into a glass of water, your smoothie, etcetera. I do both every day. I take their vanilla protein powder in the morning, I do the red juice after lunch. It’s kind of an energy boost. I pair that with a little green tea, which I talk about my addiction to green tea today, by the way. So, take that for what it’s worth. And then last but not least, when it comes to Organifi, like when I’m sick, I take their immunity formula, their Critical Immune. They’ve just got a great variety of products. And I think I mentioned this last week or so that, for me, I first find the company who I feel like I can trust. That’s how I choose my supplement companies or any companies, nutritional companies, companies I buy food from, etcetera, is I try to get to know the company and their values and their mission and their standards, if you will.
And then from there I go, okay, this company seems you never can be 100% sure, but this company seems to be in alignment with making quality products that are actually healthy. And don’t just pretend to be healthy and Organifi checks all the boxes. So, head over to Organifi.com/Hal. Check out their products and then if you find something there that you want to try, use the discount code “HAL” at check out and as a listener of the podcast, a member of our community, you get 20% off your entire order. So, we love to know what you think of Organifi. I always hear great feedback from our listeners.
All right. Goal achievers, let’s talk about it. You only need to change one habit. Oh, I don’t know about you. That feels so relieving because I always feel like I need to change like 12 habits but today we’re talking about changing one habit. Here we go.
Hal Elrod: Goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning Community, good morning. It is 9:35 a.m., oh, 9:36 a.m. Central Time and I just listened to a track in the Miracle Morning app called Happy Little Meditation. I don’t know if you have the Miracle Morning app or if you’re using it or if you have the premium version which is all the guided tracks. There’s a bunch of free guided tracks as well just to sample it but, anyway, I just feel so happy. Like, Lucy Osborne, who’s the voice of the Miracle Morning app, and there’s a bunch of guided mentors within the app, not just Lucy, but she’s the main voice and I described her voice. It’s like, well, giving me a hug like when she talks to me. It’s so like loving and caring and comforting and peaceful and then often inspiring and motivating. Anyway, MiracleMorningApp.com, you can check out the app. And if you want to do the premium version, you could do a seven-day free trial and check out all the different tracks in the app and I recommend that one. And again, there’s a bunch of free ones you can try before you do the seven-day trial, and then that gives you access to all of them.
All right. Today, we’re going to talk about the only habit that you need to change. The only habit that you need to change, gosh, what a relief that is, right? There’s only one? There’s only one habit I need to change? I thought there were so many. One’s a lot easier than so many. But we’ll get there. We’ll get there. Thank you for listening today, as always. And let me ask you just a few questions to start this out. Are there aspects of your life that you want to change? Are there aspects of your life that you want to change or improve? I’d imagine the word change really means improve and I’d also imagine the answer to that is, yeah, there’s aspects of our lives that we want to change or improve. Have you tried to make changes in the past but not been successful at making them? I’d imagine the answer to that is probably yes. I think we’ve all tried to make changes and some changes we may have been able to stick with and others possibly not. And then the next question that really is the topic of the podcast today is what is the key to making change stick in your life? What’s the key to making lasting changes so that you can make a change and then stick with that change indefinitely?
And, of course, the answer is habits, the quality of your life. I’m talking in every area of your life, your health, your wealth, your relationships, your overall success, however you define and measure that. It’s all determined by the quality of your habits. Of course, this is true for all of us, thus understanding how to first identify which of your habits, which are often unconscious, which are destructive, which are the bad habits that are preventing you from what you want in life that are causing you compromised health or energy or harm and disharmony in your relationships? What are the destructive habits? And then which of your habits are productive and how do you eliminate or minimize the bad habits, the destructive habits? And how do you amplify and or instill? First, you’ve got to instill the habits, the positive, the proactive, the good habits. How do you instill them and then how do you sustain them? And I’ll tell you, in terms of where I come from on this topic, for 24 years, I have been obsessed with optimizing my habits. It started when I was 19 years old when I started in sales and actually it was probably when I was 20.
Well, when I was 19, I started but I didn’t really get it until I was 20. It took me a year of trial and error to really kind of figure out the habit thing and how important that was because here is what most of us do. Most of us, especially if you’re listening to this podcast, it’s the Achieve Your Goals podcast, and most of us are focused on the goal, the end result that we want to accomplish. And very often we’re focused on the end result and we’ll do whatever it takes to get there, often to the detriment of our mental, emotional, physical, financial well-being. I know that for me, for example, one of my goals used to be when I was in my twenties, it used to be to get really buff, right? I was single and I wanted to put on a lot of muscle and be strong and look strong and look good in my shirt off and all of that. So, I went to GNC. It was the General Nutrition Center. I think that’s what it stands for but GNC in the mall, right? And I loaded up on supplements. I was like, “Hey, what should I take to get big? I want to put on muscle. What do I need to take to get big?” And so, I used to take this what was it called? It was like Blue Rocket or something. Now, what was it called? Blue powder or something.
Anyway, it had like tons of caffeine and all sorts of crap in it but it had exactly that crap in it. It had blue dye 40. It had a whole host of cancer-causing chemicals. Is that why I got cancer? Maybe. I don’t know. It’s not the only cancer-causing chemical that I put in my body over the years, many of which I just bought at the grocery store. You know, the food I was eating or the fast food drive-thru window as I was growing up. You know, maybe it was that. But the point being often we’re focused on the end result and whatever it takes to get there. And so, for me, I was willing to put just about anything in my body. I mean, I didn’t know like I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know that it was bad for me. Literally, I had no idea. Nobody at GNC was like, “Hey, there’s a lot of cancer-causing chemicals in this stuff. Are you sure you want it right?” Nobody said that. They’re like, “Yeah. This stuff, you’ll feel jacked. Your workouts will be better. You have a pump and your muscles will feel so strong and your veins will pull.” I’m like, “Dude, sign me up. I’m buying it.” But the point is, did I really want to put on muscle or did I want to be healthy? At that time, I probably didn’t even know how much I was valuing health when I was roughly 20, probably 22 years old when this was happening.
But often we’re focused on the goal without focusing on what’s going to get us there and what’s going to keep us there. And the answer to what’s going to get us there and what’s going to keep us there, of course, is our habits. And so, when I was 20, the big breakthrough for me around habits because I was in sales, I was a sales rep for Cutco Cutlery, as you may know, and what – oh, the guy is out my window blowing the leaves. Hopefully, you can’t hear that. It’s kind of loud. But, anyway, the Cutco I was selling and the breakthrough was one night I was making my calls and I had a bad night on the phone where I didn’t schedule any appointments. And it was really frustrating. I was thinking of quitting. I was like, yeah, man, this is such a frustrating career like there are so much failure and rejection and disappointment. Every day, I just want an easy job where I just clock in and clock out. Maybe I’m going to do that. And what ended up happening was that night, as I was falling asleep, I had a breakthrough and it was a breakthrough around my habits. I realized that if I could develop the habit of making X number of phone calls every day or five days a week.
So, if I figured out how many call, when I say X number of phone calls, it was because initially I didn’t know how many I needed to make, like I needed to figure out my averages. How many calls would it take on average each day for me to achieve my goal, the goal at the end of the year, meaning in the end of the quarter and the end of the week? My big-picture goals that I was working towards, what would it take in terms of my daily number of phone calls to achieve those goals? And so, I spent the next week tracking my phone calls and figuring out my averages. And I determined at the end of that week that, okay, I need to make an average of 20 phone calls a day, five days a week minimum. That’s like my baseline. In order to schedule the amount of appointments, I need to schedule to reach my goal for the year. And the breakthrough was followed by kind of a secondary breakthrough, which was this. I’m committed to make 20 calls a day, five days a week no matter what, regardless of my results along the way. Because I also know that something called the law of averages is that you’ll have ups and downs.
This is life, though, ups and downs but if you continue to put forth the consistent effort, if you continue to maintain these positive habits that we’re addressing today, then you will see positive results in your life. It doesn’t mean that every day’s going to be perfect or positive. You might have good days and bad days and average days, etcetera, but ultimately I realize that if I make 20 calls a day, five days a week, even though some days I’m going to sell nothing, and some weeks I’m going to sell, hopefully, not nothing but a lot less than I want to but then some weeks and some days I’m going to have huge orders that come out of nowhere and I’m going to exceed my expectation but the point is that if I maintain this positive habit of 20 calls a day, five days a week, then at the end of the quarter of the year, I’m going to reach my goal. And of course, I can adjust if I need to for some weeks if I’m not on track and I need to make an extra ten calls in a given day or I need to make an extra 20 calls on a Saturday or whatever, I can adjust my habits but the habits are the baseline for our success. And so, today, I’m going to walk you through a pretty simple process on examining your habits and determining if there are any bad habits that you want to eliminate or any productive habits that you want to instill.
And when I say there’s only one habit you need to change, what I mean by that is that you could choose probably from dozens of negative or positive habits that you could focus on, you’re going to likely set yourself up for failure if you try to focus on more than one. And not that you can’t do more than one but the more we try to focus on and this is like scientifically proven, right, they’ve studied in the habit studies and we’re going to talk about a little bit of the science and the books and the research that’s been done on habits here in a minute, but the more you try to change at once, the less likely you are to succeed at making those changes. If you try to change five different habits at once, it’s overwhelming and your focus is diverted and it’s dispersed between these five habits and you’re less likely. But if you focus on one habit and you commit and all your energy goes into that one habit, then you’re much more likely to succeed at making and sustaining a change. Of course, for this today’s episode is not about focus, the power of focus, but this applies, it’s true for every area of life.
You know, I’m working on the Miracle Morning Updated and Expanded Edition right now. I’m almost done. In fact, I’m less than two weeks away from, oh, my editor and wanting the final draft of that. I’m definitely feeling the pressure and this as an author, I felt many, many times. And so, I am ultimately focused right now on that manuscript above all else. And my team knows that. Everyone in my life knows that right now I need to focus on finishing this manuscript. And it’s been that way for the last few months. And the point is that if I was focused on five different projects, which I kind of am, I’m having to keep pulling my focus back because we’ve got a lot of different things going on in the Miracle Morning world with the app and the books and the movie and on and on and on. We’re looking at getting the monthly gatherings back and we want to launch a Miracle Morning Messenger’s group, which is like the most dedicated Miracle Morning practitioners that get together probably once a month and support each other and then spread the Miracle Morning message and the movement. I’ll share with you more on that when we have more clarity because that’s going to be something that you can apply to be a part of.
But the point is when I’m focused on many, many, many things at once, the manuscript that’s my highest priority is not getting the attention that it deserves. And you can apply that to your habits if you’re trying to change or implement five new habits all at once. Not that it can’t be done but it is far more difficult and statistically you’re far less likely to succeed at establishing and maintaining positive habits if you are trying to do more than once. And the more you’re trying to change at once, the less likely you are to succeed. So, when I say there’s only one habit you need to change, you can change more than one, but I’m going to encourage you to choose one. And if you want to choose two or three, again, that’s completely up to you. I just want you to be aware as you’re working on your habits this week and this next month and beyond, if you catch yourself feeling overwhelmed, if you catch yourself not making the progress that you want to make in these areas that you’re working to improve and the habits that you’re working to establish or upgrade, be aware. “Oh, you know what? Okay, maybe I’m focusing on trying to change too much at once so I’m going to narrow this down. Of all these habits, what’s the…?” And it could be the most important one. What’s the most important habit? But it also might be what’s the easiest habit?
I know that might seem counterintuitive like you’re letting yourself off the hook, but not necessarily true. If you went, “What’s the easiest habit? What’s the habit that would make a positive difference in my life?” it might not be as important as, let’s say, quitting smoking, right? For example, if you’re looking at all your habits, you’re going, “What’s the most important habit of change?” You’re like, “God, I have got to quit smoking or I’ve got to quit eating cheeseburgers at midnight and ice cream sundaes at 1 a.m. Like, I got to stop it.” Maybe those are more consequential in your overall health and well-being. But if they’re very difficult, smoking’s a great example, right? Smoking is something that if you’ve had an addiction and now, by the way, addiction is a synonym for habit. Think about that for a second. Addiction is a synonym for habit. It’s simply a habit that is so deeply rooted that changing would be so painful that you’re addicted to it. You’re addicted to the habit of smoking, the habit of drinking soda, the habit of overspending, the habit of watching pornography, whatever your addiction is. I co-authored The Miracle Morning for Addiction Recovery.
So, if you do feel like you’ve got some major addictions that you want to change or that you need desperately to change, that’s a great book for you. It’s co-authored by Anna David, who’s an addiction expert, and Joe Polish, who is the founder of Artists for Addicts and some other organizations that he’s really dedicated his life to helping addicts as a recovering addict himself. So, anyway, just something to think about that habit and addiction they’re one and the same. An addiction is just an extreme habit, if you will. But the point is, circling back to what I was talking about, that when you’re identifying which habit you want to change, it could be the one that you most need to change that’s having the most detrimental impact on your life. But remember, it could also be the easiest habit. And the reason it would be the easiest habit is to create momentum, to build confidence because once you commit to make any change in your life, to change any habit, and then you follow through and you succeed, that creates self-confidence. You’re like, “Wow. Yeah, that was easier than these other ones but I did it. I committed to make that small change.” And I’m going to tell you today, by the way, the habits that I’m changing. So, I’m not going to leave myself out of this. As I was preparing for today’s call, I identified what are some of the habits that I need to change, what are some bad habits that I need to change, or some positive habits that I need to implement. And I’m going to share those with you as well so you can see a personal example.
I want to take a few minutes right now to address all of the books that have been written on habits. It’s one of the most popular topics in all of personal development and even professional development. It’s changing habits. So, the most famous book, arguably the most famous book on habit change is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It was published in 1990. In fact, the 30-year anniversary came out a couple of years ago, but that book has over 40 million copies sold. I imagine you realize that’s a lot but that’s one of the bestselling books of all time. I don’t have a ranking here of all the bestselling books of all time but that’s up there. I know Rich Dad Poor Dad is one of the bestsellers or I think that’s the bestselling financial book of all time. And last time I checked, it had sold like 26 million copies. It’s probably over 30 now, but that’s a lot of books, right? So, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Now, I’ll run through those habits with you real quick, just to give you some context. We’re not going to go deep into them, but the first habit is be proactive. He talks about the difference between being reactive where you just react to everything in your life versus being proactive, which is where you are very intentional about the goals you set, about the schedule you keep, about the habits that you establish and change, but you’re proactive, you’re intentional, and you’re taking action to improve your life. So, habit one, be proactive.
Habit two, begin with the end in mind. That kind of explains itself but it’s where that you ask yourself, what is the end result? And that’s really just setting goals. It’s going, okay, what’s my objective here in my health, in my finances, etcetera? And it’s setting these long-term goals, beginning with the end in mind and then working backwards and going, “Okay. What do I need to start doing today? In fact, what are the habits that I need to put in place that will get me to the end that I desire?” Begin with the end in mind and you can even say the ultimate beginning with the end in mind is thinking that you’re going to die someday. You’re going to die someday. And so, what are you going to do now to ensure that when you are lying on your deathbed, you feel complete, that you lived a great life? Habit number three, put first things first and that’s simply about prioritizing. Great example from my own life is when I had cancer, I realized, “Oh, I say that family’s my first priority. They’re number one, but my schedule doesn’t reflect that. My actions don’t reflect that. My habits don’t reflect that. My habits would tell you that work is number one at that time.” And so, that was a big wake-up call. It’s putting first things first, deciding what matters most.
Habit number four by Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is think win-win, which is instead of trying to get the most at every situation, think win-win. Think how can they win and I win. I love the way Eben Pagan has a spin on this, which I learned early on, and it has really informed my work for the last 10, 12 years. Eben Pagan says, “Learn to love getting the short end of the stick.” He said, “In business and in life, everybody is trying to get the big end of the stick. They want more. I want to get the most. I want to get the most of every situation.” And Eben Pagan said, “No, learn to love getting the short end of the stick, meaning learn to be really generous in all of your dealings, your relationships.” And he said, “Here’s the benefit of that. People will want to give you their stick because they know that you’re a generous soul, that you are someone who looks out for the best interests, not only of yourself but other people as well.” So, habit four, think win-win.
Habit five, seek first to understand, then to be understood. This really goes back to the famous book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. That was the theme of that book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. So, it’s the idea that everybody’s trying and I’m terrible at this. This is my biggest area of improvement is I’m a talker and you ask me a question and I will just start talking and talking and talking and then I get on a tangent and then rant like you listen to the podcast. I mean, you’re literally experiencing this firsthand every week but, ideally, you want a habit of asking questions. I did this well yesterday. I had a call with someone that I had never met before, and he was introduced to me by Rich Christiansen. His name is Scott Ford and he leads a podcast himself, The Way2Wealth, I believe it is. He invited me on the show so I’ll be on there relatively soon. But what I do because I know that I’m a talker and I know that if somebody asked me a question first that game over, like there may not have a chance to talk after that because I just like unconsciously, I have a habit of just talking and talking and talking and going into stories and all this.
And so, what I do now to implement habit number five from Stephen Covey is I always try to make sure that I get the first question. I try to make sure that I ask first because I know myself. So, in order to override the bad habit that I have of talking people’s heads off, I try to get in the questions first and I try to ask, “Hey, so what’s new and exciting for you?” and then they tell me. Then I try to ask another question. I try to delay talking about myself as long as humanly possible. That way I ensure that I first seek to understand them, understand what they’re up to before I try to share what I’m working on.
Habit number six, synergize. I haven’t read the book in so long. I don’t remember how to elaborate on that habit. So, you have to check out the book yourself. And then habit number seven, sharpen the saw. And that is based on the metaphor of the young man and the old man that were both in a tree-cutting contest that were sawing down trees. And the young man was just work and work and work and sawing, did not stop, did not put down his saw. And every time he looked over at the old man, he would see the old man sitting on a stump with his back turned to him with the saw on his lap and he’d go, what’s this old man doing? I’m going to crush this guy in the contest.
And at the end of the contest, the old man sure enough, he actually went down first. And the young man went over and said, “How did you beat me? It makes no sense. Every time I looked over, you were sitting on the stump resting and I was sawing the whole time. How did you beat me?” And the old man said, “Oh, I was resting, sure, when you looked over. But what you couldn’t see is I was sharpening my saw. So, my saw was far more effective every time I put it to the tree and your saw was getting duller and more and more dull as you went on. And so, I was sharpening my saw.” And so, the metaphor is that in life, physically, mentally, emotionally to always sharpen your saw. That’s what the Miracle Morning does, right? The Miracle Morning is an opportunity every morning for you to sharpen the saw, for you to become a better version of who you were when you went to bed the night before.
So, those are the seven habits of highly effective people. And there’s a reason that book has sold 40 million copies. Number one, because habits are crucial. Number two, because those habits really are universal for anyone. If you do those seven things consistently and you integrate those into your life, you’re going to be more successful at everything you do because the key to success is becoming the best version of yourself. As you become better, you are able to create better results and live a better life. Your life improves in parallel with your self-improvement.
And then just other books on habits that have come since Stephen Covey, in 2012, Charles Duhigg came out with The Power of Habit, which has 27,000 reviews on Amazon, an obscene amount of reviews. And again, that’s because the power of habit is, again, habit is just such a crucial topic. Then there was Mini Habits by Stephen Guise in 2013. My coauthor for the Miracle Morning for Writers, S.J. Scott, wrote a book called Habit Stacking in 2017, which is one of the reasons we partnered on the Miracle Morning for Writers because I realized that that’s what the Miracle Morning is, it’s habit stacking in action. I write about this in the new updated and expanded edition.
But what I mean is this, the SAVERS are six habits that will change your life, right? Any one of them. But when you stack all six of them, you see miracles. You see results beyond what you thought were possible, which we described every day in the Miracle Morning Community and by practitioners of the Miracle Morning. So, habit stacking is where you identify something you do in your life, such as brushing your teeth, and then you add in other habits on top of that. So, now, every time you brush your teeth, you have a glass of water there, and now, you brush your teeth and then drink the glass of water. So, you’re stacking two positive habits in a way that they become automatic. And now, you are hydrating yourself first thing in the morning without even thinking about it because it’s paired, it’s stacked with brushing your teeth. Then you can throw in jumping jacks or whatever. The point is, you identify these habits and then you stack them together.
Well, the Miracle Morning, if you were to ask yourself, if you were to identify the six practices of the Miracle Morning, the six habits, if you will, that are silence, your meditation, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing, if you were to say, “Yeah, man, I really– I should start meditating. I’ve heard that meditation is so good for you and good for your mental clarity and your stress levels, lowering it. But affirmations, I feel like if I would just have written affirmations that articulated what I was committed to and why it was a must for me and what I needed to do, I feel like that would really keep me on track everyday by reminding me of what’s most important. But visualization, I mean, you look at the world’s greatest athletes, they all use visualization to perform at their best. I feel like that would help me perform at my best if I could see it every morning, that’d be great. But exercise, I’ve got to start exercising. I’m putting on some weight and my energy levels aren’t really need to be. I really need to exercise. But I should start reading. I mean, there’s so many books out there that can teach me how to be more successful and improve my mindset and my habits. And gosh, I should start reading. But journaling is so important. I really should start keeping a journal, writing what I’m grateful for and identifying my highest priorities for the day so I can be more productive. And God, these six habits, I don’t even know where to start.”
So, imagine looking at these six habits of the Miracle Morning and trying to look at your schedule and go, “When am I going to fit all of these in?” Like fitting in one of them is challenging, let alone all six. And what happens is habit stacking. You go, “Wait a minute.” And that was my epiphany. “What if I did all six of these in one ritual in the morning in the course of one hour, 10 minutes each.” I go, “That would be the ultimate personal development ritual. And I would do it all, all at once. I would just knock it all out one after the other.”
And so, that’s the power of habit stacking is that you’re able to take more than one habit, which is counter to what we’re talking about today, which is changing one habit at a time. But you can do more than one and you can stack them, and then it’s much easier because you’re pairing multiple habits together. Some examples are on my lunch break. After I eat lunch, then I go and I go for either a walk or I go shoot hoops for about 10 minutes. And then I lay out in the sunshine for about 10 minutes. And I also usually walk with my shirt off. And so, I’m getting sun there.
So, what I’m doing is I’m stacking multiple habits. I’m getting exercise during my lunch break. So, the lunch break is the habit. I eat lunch at the same time every single day, or at least Monday through Friday. So, now, I stack exercise on the lunch. It happens automatically now. I mean, think about it, I eat and then I go for a walk right afterwards. And then I go, and after my walk, I go lay. I just sit on a recliner outside on a lounge chair or whatever. And I take my shirt off, pull my shorts up, lay down, and I get my vitamin D for the day.
So, it’s three habits. I mean, lunch is kind of an obvious one, but I’m stacking two other habits where I’m getting vitamin D and I’m getting exercise, and it’s all stacked in that lunch habit. So, it happens every day automatically without fail. It’d be a lot harder for me to try to look at my schedule and go, “When am I going to fit in a walk? I’m so busy. I’m back to back to back. When am I going to fit in getting vitamin D and laying out and relaxing, like that would be nice, but I don’t have time for that. Well, now, I do because it’s on my lunch break.” So, that’s habit stacking.
BJ Fogg wrote a book called Tiny Habits in 2021, just a couple of years ago. BJ Fogg, if you don’t know who he is, he is a habit expert from Stanford University. And that book is a New York Times bestseller. And then two very recent books on habits are High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard in 2022. And by the way, similar to Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Brendon Burchard gives us six high-performance habits. Number one is clarity. So, developing a habit of thinking through your goals and your priorities in your life and your habits, a habit where you actually are gaining clarity consistently.
Number two is energy. So, you have a habit of optimizing your day for peak energy so that your diet, your exercise, your sleep, everything revolves around. These are all habits that are related to optimizing your energy levels. The third priority is necessity, which is very similar to Stephen Covey’s third habit, put first things first. Number four is productivity, which again, very similar to Stephen Covey’s habit number one, be proactive. Number five is influence. And again, I haven’t read the book in a long time. I don’t remember exactly– that’s actually just focusing on how you’re impacting the people around you. And then number six is courage, developing the habit of fostering and nurturing courage within yourself so that you’re motivated to go out there and achieve the things that you want in your life. So, those are the high-performance habits from Brendon Burchard.
And then James Clear most recently wrote the book Atomic Habits. This is one of those what rock have you been sleeping under if you’re not aware of the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. To my knowledge, it’s the number one bestselling book in the last few years, period. And maybe there’s a Harry Potter book or something that outsold it, but at least in the self-help, personal development space, Atomic Habits has sold over five million copies and I think it was only published just a few years ago. So, I mean, you’ve got to wonder why are some of the most popular books, the bestselling books, the highest rated books on Amazon, James Clear’s book, by the way, Atomic Habits, last time I looked at have like 80,000 reviews, which I’ve never seen any book in the history of books, literally, that has over that many reviews.
But the question is, why are these the most popular books? And I believe there are two answers to that. Number one is people are aware that they need to improve their habits. They want help, they want support, they want strategies. So, number one, people want to improve their habits, need help with it. And number two is just the fact that it’s the key. It is the key to making lasting changes in your life. You don’t focus on the goal. You focus on the habits that will get you to the goal.
So, here’s what I’m going to encourage you to do. All right, let’s take some action and identify one habit that you’re committed to changing over the next 30 days. You may have heard me say before, I actually did a podcast episode on living your life in 30-day challenges. Living your life in 30-day challenges, which is the idea that every day, you identify one habit that you want to change in your life, one bad habit you want to stop doing, one positive habit you want to do more of or start doing that you’re not doing.
And so, I’m going to invite you to examine your current habits. And remember, they’re often unconscious behaviors or thought patterns. So, you have a habit of thinking negatively or positively in general. We have habits of how we think and they’re unconscious. We don’t think about how we think. We just think that way. We have often habits that are unconscious in terms of our behavior in how we behave. For example, if every time you see something, your spouse says something or someone in your life said something that triggers you, that being triggered is a habit. That’s an unconscious habit.
So, for example, in diet, you might have a habit like drinking soda consistently that you know it’s not good for you or drinking alcohol consistently and you know it’s not good for you, might have a habit of eating too late at bedtime or eating too much sugar, right? Maybe you’re eating too much sugar. Maybe you’re eating unhealthy foods or fast food. So, maybe there’s a habit around diet.
Finances, maybe you have a habit of spending too much money or maybe you have a habit in terms of not making enough money where the habit is that you’re not doing the work you need to do to make the money you need to make. Like back when I identified that habit to make 20 calls a day, well, guess what? When I looked at my habits, I go, wow, my phone calls are totally inconsistent. Some days I make 20 calls, some days I make zero calls, some days I make three calls, some days I might make more than two, but typically, they’re very inconsistent.
I’ll give you some more personal examples. I told you that I would do that. I have a bad habit, dare I say, addiction to caffeine, which consistently causes me headaches. I probably have a headache, at least, I don’t know, once a week, maybe more often. So, here’s what I’m doing. I identified that is a bad habit. I am addicted to caffeine because I need it to get through the day. It’s gotten to a point, it used to be very minimal, I’d have one cup of coffee a day and I would sip it from morning until night.
But then I switched to green tea and I’m like, well, this is healthier than coffee. And then it was like every day, you justify it’s healthy. So, I’m going to have more of it and more of it and more of it and more of it and more of it. And so, now, I have more. So, what am I going to do? Simple. I’m committed to cut my caffeine intake in half this month. And the way I’m doing that is simply cut every source of caffeine in half. So, instead of two cups of green tea in the morning, I’m going to have one. Instead of putting one full scoop of matcha green tea in my smoothie, I’m going to go to half a scoop. I did that this morning. So, I still will have the caffeine, but it will be half my normal amount.
And think about how you might apply that half strategy to something in your life, such as alcohol. If you drink every night, drink every other night. And then that’s not maybe the end goal. Maybe you eventually want to get down to drinking not at all. But I’m all about Mark Victor Hansen’s strategy, which is to lean into something. Lean into something, meaning you don’t have to jump both feet in. You don’t have to go from 0 to 60 instantly. You can just make gradual improvements, lean into the changes you want to make. So, that’s an example of how you might lean into changing habit is this half strategy where you cut something you’re doing that’s bad for you in half. So, how might you apply that?
And by the way, speaking of alcohol, I used to have a habit of drinking one beer every day after work. I had one beer every day and I realized, you know what? Beer is poison. Alcohol is poison, poisoning my liver every day. It’s probably not ideal. Not to mention, I don’t really feel that nice, relaxing buzz from the beers that I used to feel because I’m doing it every day. So, what did I do? I went from beers every day to I committed to only two days a week. So, I went from no beers Monday through Fri– or it was only a beer Friday and a beer Saturday. So, I went from seven days a week to two days a week. And then now, I probably have a beer, I don’t even know, maybe once a week but not every week. It’s not all the time. But it’s an example of how going from a habit of doing something that’s not healthy for you every single day to just moving it to the weekends. I ended up with coffee, too. Not that coffee’s unhealthy as alcohol, but I only have coffee on Saturday and Sunday and I have green tea Monday through Friday. And you can research the health benefits of green tea, but there are quite a few.
And then here’s a big one. And I think that this would be a strategy you might be able to implement yourself. It’s around finances. So, I am impulsive. I realize this the other day. As I was preparing for today’s podcast, which I’ve been doing the last– not quite a week, but the last few days, I realized, okay, so what are my bad habits? And I realized one is spending money. I am impulsive and I have a bad habit of just ordering things primarily on Amazon, but other sites too, but mostly Amazon because it’s so easy but without any consideration. It’s way too easy, ooh, I think I literally have a brain fart. Ooh, I want that, I need a thing. And then I go to Amazon, I search it up, I click buy now, I click a button, and I get it the next day, way too easy.
Here’s the problem. And again, you can probably relate. I’m guessing many people listening can relate to the Amazon shopping. And the problem is this, if you don’t have any kind of habit in place to monitor your Amazon shopping, then you spend 20 bucks here, 40 bucks here, 60 bucks here, 80 bucks here. And you’re not paying attention to the big picture. You’re focusing on the one-off. I could afford 20 bucks. I could afford 30 bucks. I could afford 45 bucks. I could afford 80 bucks. I could afford– but it adds up. But you don’t know how much it’s adding up because you’re not paying attention.
So, listen to this strategy. I’m actually excited about this. I approached my wife when she woke up that morning and I said, “Hey, sweetie, we spend too much money on Amazon. We shop. We’re impulsive. We just buy stuff and there’s no rhyme or reason. And then the end of the month, the credit card bills are way too high. We got to stop this.” And she’s like, “I know. You’re totally right.” I said, “So here’s the deal. We’re only allowed to buy on Amazon once a week. We’re only allowed to buy on Amazon once a week.” I said, “So, whenever you want something on Amazon unless it’s an emergency and you have to have it, which is rare, add it to the shopping cart and I’ll do the same. And then we’ll pick our day a week.” And for us, we decided it’s Saturday or Sunday. We’re not exactly sure, but we’ll see. This will be our first week and we literally just are starting this. So, I’ll let you know how it goes.
But the point is we’re going to add to the shopping cart out, add to the shopping cart whenever we want something, but not order it. And then at the end of the week, we will together look at our shopping cart because we buy things in isolation. I don’t know what she’s buying, she doesn’t know what I’m buying. Therefore, our finances are disconnected in that way. We’re spending too much. And so, we’re going to add to the shopping cart. And then every week at the end of the week, we’re going to look in the cart.
And here’s the difference. When you order something that’s 30 bucks and it’s like I can afford 30 bucks, but if at the end of the week, you look at your shopping cart and it’s $700, now you have perspective. And now, we’re going to go, okay, wow, this shopping cart is $700, or who knows, $2,000, who knows how much, right? $700. That’s more than we should be spending. And we’ll probably– this will evolve into an Amazon budget of $200 a week or $100. I don’t exactly know what it’ll be, but the point is, by adding to the shopping cart, we are going to be able to see the large amount of how much all the things we want for the week are actually totaling, and then we’re going to be able to make a much more informed, thoughtful, big picture decision on what we really need. Not to mention, you have that urge, that impulsivity, oh, I really want this.
But then a few days later, you might go, I didn’t really need that. In fact, I ordered this chair thing that just came, it is really relaxing chair. And it was 200 bucks. And I’m going to return it. I was like, I don’t need that. I want it, but I don’t need it. And my wife and I are really working on not buying things that we want just because we want it, but only buying things that we really, really need, and then having a budget for things that we want.
I loved the book Secrets of The Millionaire Mind. He talks about dedicating 5% to 10% of your money every month or in total to what he calls a play account. He said money is not meant to be a source of stress all the time. You should actually enjoy the money that you work hard for. And ultimately, for me, that was a game changer, but we’ve fallen away from it, with the Amazon thing. We’re not budgeting the 10% anymore. I did that for years and then I forgot, I stopped doing that habit. It was a great habit. Every time I got money, I would organize it into these five accounts. In fact, as I’m saying this, I need to get back to that because it was a game changer for me, right? I developed a habit that I learned in the book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, or when I got paid, I started with five accounts. That’s what the book teaches. And then I ended up enlarging more accounts. But one was for personal development, one was for necessities, one was for play, one was for giving, donating money to other people, one was for– I forgot, I don’t know if I got all five.
But anyway, the point is if I got a paycheck and it was $2,000, I would allocate X amount, 10% to this one, 20% to this one, 5% to this one. I’d allocate it to all the accounts. And then when I wanted to buy something that I didn’t need, which would fall under the play account, it wasn’t, oh, I’m going to buy it and put it on a credit card and figure out how I’m going to pay for it later. It was I’d log into my bank account and go, how much money do I have in my play account? I’d go, oh, I have $238 in my play account, but this thing I want to buy is $300. So, I need to wait until next month. And so, that’s an example of a habit that creates a discipline that if you didn’t have that simple habit in place, that there’d be no space for the discipline. The discipline wouldn’t be there. You would just buy the thing you wanted, put it on a credit card. And is that not what we do as a society and as individuals? Most of us, our spending habits are not ideal. So, anyway, that’s one very specific example of I identified a financial habit, a spending habit that is not healthy, that is putting my wife and I in debt that our credit card bill is way too high at the end of each month, and almost every month, I’ve complained about it and go, “Sweetie, we need to spend less. We need to spend less. We need to spend less.” She goes, “Yeah, you’re right, You’re right.” Every month, we need to spend less. But we didn’t do anything about it.
So, I’m not shaming you for any bad habits that you have because I’m just as guilty, but it’s amazing. I mean, this episode, it’s why I’m recording this, is for you to do just like that. If that’s the only habit that you change, like for me and my wife, that one habit, I’m so excited. It’s not hard. It’s all of this habit, this is us not buying the thing we want the moment that we want it. Just instead, it’s adding it to a cart, and then at the end of the week, assessing the cart. What do we really need? What can we afford? And then eliminating things we don’t need. Maybe we save them for later, for next week or next month or whatever. But that simple habit is going to save my wife and I hundreds, if not thousands of dollars every single month. And it’s not hard at all. It’s a simple habit.
Same thing with cutting my caffeine intake in half. I’d say that’s harder. That actually can be a little more challenging. But the beauty of it is, again, it’s a strategy to make the habit easy because I’m not eliminating caffeine. I’d be a mess, right? My focus would be a mess. Now, I do want to get to a point now where I eliminate caffeine, but I want it to be very minimal. I want to get to half. That might actually– that’s probably a healthy range. I’m not so out of control. So, when I get to half, that’s probably a much better place. But I have identified that I am addicted to caffeine and I use too much of it and I have headaches. And when my caffeine runs out, I start to crash, on and on and on.
So, that’s my invitation for you. Take some time. I’m actually going to be one more step to implement this. So, don’t hang up yet. Don’t turn this off yet, but take some time. Look at your habits and just pick one. What is one habit that you want to change that would benefit you? Something that is destructive that you’re doing, like drinking alcohol, soda, caffeine excessively, or something positive that you want to implement in your life, like start exercising, start drinking a smoothie in the morning, start doing your Miracle Morning if you’re not doing your Miracle Morning, if you fell off and need to get back to it, whatever it is. So, identify one habit that you want to change. And if you’re feeling extra ambitious and you’re like, Hal, I could do more than one, do one positive and one negative, right? Like one habit, you’re going to stop or do less of, that’s a destructive habit, and then if you want to pick the one habit that you’re going to start doing or do more of.
Also, consider habit stacking, right? Once you identify the habit, if you go, okay, where I could stack this habit with another one that I’m already doing so they’re together. So, now, when I do the one thing, I do the other thing automatically, like for me, I wanted to start walking, which I wasn’t doing at all, and I wanted to start laying out and just getting some sunshine to increase my vitamin D levels, which I had done a hormone test or a vitamin deficiency test and determined I was low. So, I’m taking the vitamin D supplement, but I’d rather get it from the source, which is the sun. So, I identified two habits that I wanted to put in place and all I did is just boom, I popped them into lunch break and they’re done easy. I don’t know about you, but I like easy. I like making change as easy as possible. So, choose one habit, at least one, but no more than one is needed. One habit change in the next 30 days.
And here’s the last piece of advice. Write it in the form of an affirmation that supports your habit change. And if you know the Miracle Morning habit formula, then what I’m about to say is a reminder for you. Step one, affirm what you’re committed to. Affirm what you’re committed to. So, I have an affirmation now. These are in my affirmations that I read every day that says I am committed to adding– it’s a new affirmation so it’s not memorized yet, but basically, I’m committed to adding items to my Amazon shopping cart but only buying them on a designated time once per week where Ursula and I review together and decide together. So, that’s number one. That’s what I’m committed to.
Number two, why is it a must for you? And I wrote, it’s a must for me because we are spending too much money and I’m not being a good financial steward with the gifts that I am being blessed with, the financial gifts I’m being blessed with, not being responsible, not being good steward of the financial abundance that I desire in my life. And so, it’s a must for me to be that steward. And then number three, which specific actions will you take and when? I guess, I kind of covered that in my first where I was committed to, I also covered the actions.
So, recite that affirmation and recommit every single morning. And if you do this every day ongoing, where you become someone who has a habit of, Brendon Burchard talking about clarity, where you are always maintaining a sense of clarity on what are the habits that I want to change in my life. And you can keep an ongoing list. You can go, ooh, I need to stop doing this. Whenever you think of it, add it to your affirmations, in your affirmations. And my affirmations are three pages long. They’re like a full blueprint for the life that I’m committed to creating, living, sustaining right now and beyond. So, that’s how your affirmations can be, right? My affirmations are a multi-page blueprint, and I’ve realized that they’re the most important thing I can do to be successful in my life every day is read those affirmations because they are clarifying, right? They are clarifying, establishing clarity for me as to what I’m committed to in my life, what I want, what I’m committed to, why it’s a must for me, what I need to do to achieve it in every single area of my life.
There’s nothing more important during my Miracle Morning, in my opinion, than reading my affirmations. And maybe we’ll do an episode on affirmations, but that’s the gist of it, right? Number one, affirm what you’re committed to. Number two, affirm why it’s a must for you. Number three, affirm which specific actions you will take and when. And do that with this one habit that you’re going to change your life.
And please let me know. This is Episode 472. Go to MiracleMorning.com/472. And please in the comments, let me know what’s the habit you’re committed to. And if you want, go put it in the Miracle Morning Community on Facebook. Be accountable. Make it public. Don’t keep it a secret. You’re more likely to follow through if you are public about the commitments that you’re making and you don’t just keep them to yourself. So, do both, make it public but also create an affirmation so that you are committing every day and recommitting every day to change your habits in a way that will create the life that you want because, again, how do you make meaningful, sustainable changes in your life? Through your habits. You identify the habits that you need to change or that you need to establish, and then you make a commitment one at a time to changing or establishing those habits. And when you do, your results, the outcomes that you see in your life will improve in alignment with your habits.
All right, goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning Community, friends and family, I love you so much. Thank you for tuning in today. Hope this is valuable for you. And yeah, we’ll talk to you next week.