Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit”.
What is excellence? It is thinking, speaking and acting your best (without comparing yourself to others except to be inspired by them). Are you giving your best efforts to everything you do? If you adopt a habit of excellence, you will transform your professional and personal life in amazing ways.
Creating any new habit takes about 30 days of DAILY repetition of just a few minutes a day. The hardest part is starting and sticking with it while it’s new, weird or uncomfortable. Are you willing to create excellence in 30 minutes or less a day? A few minutes a day is manageable! Think of the repercussions as you create excellence in your thoughts, speech and actions!
The following are excellence habits you can create in a month. Take on no more than one or two at a time, and start with the ones that:
- give you the most return, in terms of accelerating your goals achievement
- resonate with you (not all of these are habits you need; they’re intended to cover a broad range of needs)
Commit to them wholeheartedly. Practice them EVERY DAY without fail. Once the one or two habits you’ve chosen become automatic, pick another one or two. And watch your personal and business life transform before your eyes!
1. Try something new every day for 30 days. Constant learning is a form of excellence. Learning and using a new word a day is a great way to establish this habit. Have fun with this: try urbandictionary.com for some unexpected definitions and made-up words.
2. Give, to get what you want. Give, help and reach out with no thought of reward; selflessly and genuinely. Create a powerful OUT-flow of energy that has no choice but to come back to you as an IN-flow of what you want. Nature abhors a vacuum and the more positively you give, the more positively you’ll receive.
3. Smile. Smile at yourself in the mirror, smile at strangers, smile at everyone. Nothing opens doors faster than a warm, genuine smile. A smile changes your physiology – instantly lifting your mood! Encourage people to smile back by acts of kindness and an uplifting attitude.
4. Learn and practice a new skill daily. Can’t use a power tool? Trouble with technology? Can’t figure out a spreadsheet? Learn and practice until you feel comfortable and confident.
5. Teach what you know (or what you’re learning). Nothing cements a concept in your mind and accelerates your own mastery faster than teaching. You don’t have to wait until you’ve completely mastered a skill. You only have to be better at it than the person you’re teaching!
6. Control your response. Even if people are horribly rude to you, maintain your calm and remain in a state of grace. Don’t stoop to their level. Be respectful and compassionate, and watch how people’s attitudes change (especially as you become practiced in this).
7. See the lessons in every difficulty. Journaling helps you see beyond problems to the hidden positive and valuable lessons. Look at the bright side; the silver lining; the opportunity. Look for the best in people and situations.
8. Take time for your passions. Take at least 30 minutes a day to do something you love. Bring happiness and meaning into your life and positively influence people around you!
9. Simplify. Get rid of one thing every day for 30 days: unused books, clothing, household items, office equipment, etc… all the clutter that surrounds you. Everything you own requires energy: you must work for the money to purchase, store, insure, maintain, repair and even use the things you own. How much of them are useful NOW and bring you joy NOW? Keep them and simplify your life by getting rid of the rest.
10. Be absolutely truthful for 30 days. Most of us tell little white lies – even those count.
11. While you’re busy acquiring new habits, quit an equal number of unwanted habits. Just as you are creating new neural pathways by creating excellence, you can un-create destructive habits like procrastination. by giving yourself a REWARD for doing the opposite of an unwanted habit: with repetition, you’ll lose that habit forever.
12. Wake up 30 minutes early every day and spend them on meditation, journaling, feeling good, doing what you love, exercising, goal-setting, planning… anything that moves you in the right direction!
13. Work on your goals for 30 minutes a day. You will achieve your goals remarkably quickly through small but consistent daily actions!
14. Do something every day that makes you laugh.
15. Substitute reading for TV for 30 minutes a day.
16. Practice EXCELLENT self-care for 30 days. Exercise for 30 minutes every day (a brisk walk is excellent!); avoid or drastically cut back on alcohol, drugs, coffee, sugar, wheat and junk food. Get more sleep.
17. Live below your income for a month. That goes for businesses and individuals. Don’t create any more debt; pay cash for everything, and learn to say no to impulse purchases.
18. Tell a new story. Our lives are full of “I am…” and “I have…” statements. But are they positive and proactive, or are they painting a negative picture? Be very careful how you use these statements. Start telling a story of WHAT YOU WANT as though you already have it.
19. Do something scary or uncomfortable every day. Face your fears and take action anyway – small actions are fine. Just don’t allow fear to paralyze you.
20. Spend the last few waking moments of the day thinking about what went well, what you did right, and on gratitude for everything.
21. Write in your journal every day. Write about the highlights of the day; ideas; inspirations; mistakes; triumphs; lessons; conversations; regrets; actions; observations; delights; hurts. Be completely self-aware and honest as you describe your inner and outer life.
22. Take full responsibility for every action you take and every thought and interpretation you have. For 30 days, DO NOT: blame, complain, criticize, judge or condemn.
Inspired by a blog post on www.marcandangel.com