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Building good habits, one at a time………………

Today I am going to exercise for an hour, eat healthy meals, get seven hours of sleep and read an educational book for at least a half hour before bedtime….. Does that sound like something you would say? Every day, every new week, month or year, a litany of “I am going to” things, are put forth as if saying them will make them a reality.

I had lunch last month with a friend who is trying to get his business life in order. He was and is working on a multitude of projects and ideas as to how become more efficient and, hopefully, more profitable in his business venture. The next day I stopped at my favorite store (Barnes & Noble), bought a book and took it to my friends’ office. I asked him to read at least a chapter every day and then we could get together and visit about his business. I told him that the message in the book would help prepare him for our meeting and perhaps give him a new view on how to grow a successful business. He called me a few days ago to schedule an appointment. I asked him if the book I left for him had been beneficial. His response, “I didn’t have a chance to get to it.” My purpose in giving him the book was to help him establish a habit of doing some “out of the box” learning about how to grow a business.

There is a difference between a habit and doing a job that has to be done. A habit is something that you want to repeat every day, perhaps for the rest of your life. You want it to become second nature, like driving a car. It is something that will help you reach a vision; it is something that you want to feel good about doing.

Habits are not hard to establish, but only if you work on one habit at a time. A lot of “seminar gurus” tell us that a habit can be formed in a 30 day period, and it will remain with you forever. In my experience, a habit takes at least 60 days to become second nature; and if it isn’t used, it will dissipate. I also believe that only one habit at a time can be placed in that initial 60 day process. Trying to establish more than one habit at a time usually results in no habit being formed.

Go back to your “habit to build list” and select the one that will have the most beneficial effect on your life, be it business or personal.  Next create a 60 day chart and work on the habit every day. Put a check mark each day in the appropriate box.  At the end of 6o days you probably will feel better about yourself and your new habit. Now you can work on establishing another habit.

I challenge you to devote the next 60 days to creating the habit that will be most beneficial in your life!

Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.                               Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Nick J. Petra CFP    Helping businesses achieve profitability and sustainability is our goal.


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