Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." That old Greek understood how important positive habits are to overcoming adversity and enduring the quest to become a champion. I have learned that champions aren’t just born; champions can be made when they embrace and commit to life-changing positive habits.
Inspired by others, I decided to examine my own habits. I saw how quickly positive habits built strength and resulted in a deeper sense of belief—in myself, in my vision, and even spiritually. This process wasn't easy at first. I never got into any of the obvious things we think of when we talk about bad habits—drugs, drinking, or smoking—because from an early age I saw what they did to my brother and realized I didn't want to make those same mistakes. I wasn't perfect by any stretch (and achieving greatness isn't about being perfect anyway), but my bad habits were less clear.
It took a lot of time and constant feedback to realize what wasn't working in my life, and it will be an ongoing journey until the day I die. Over the years, I began adding positive habits and noticed a dramatic change in my results and the way I felt internally as well. Some of these include:
• Constantly expressing gratitude • Smiling at as many people as possible • Going to bed early • Getting 7 to 8 hours of committed sleep • Making my bed in the morning • Staying organized • Acknowledging myself and others • Loving people wherever they are on their personal journey • Eating clean • Training my body • Saving and investing my money wisely • Meditating • Visualizing my results and creating a game plan • Respecting others • Investing in my personal growth • Preparing before big moments • Surrounding myself with inspiring people
Staying consistent with positive habits can be a challenge. I still go back and forth on them. There have been many times where I was working out intensely and in the best shape of my life, and then for whatever reason, I got off track. Before I knew it, 3 or 4 months would go by, and all of a sudden, I’d find myself exhausted halfway up a flight of stairs! The key to surviving and then thriving after these moments is to not beat yourself up when you do break a habit. Rather, you need to reconnect to your vision to refamiliarize yourself with why it’s important to stay true to your positive habits in the first place.
The tricky part about habits is that any one of them (good or bad), when you look at them individually, doesn’t seem all that critical. It’s when you take them in combination or as a whole that they become incredibly powerful. They can easily and shockingly thwart the same amount of progress that they can create. This is why we admire people with great self-discipline. It’s not because they were born great. It’s because they learned the power of habits and applied that power to create a lifestyle that supports the best version of themselves.