When I was younger, I had a few habits: Eating poorly, rarely getting exercise, sitting in traffic for three hours a day, and barely keeping in touch with friends and family. Working a normal 9 to 5 job.
I never felt the urgency to change. There was no reason to. Or at least, so I thought.
And then one of my best friends died of cancer.
And it changed everything. Losing someone changed the way I looked at the world.
I began asking myself the hard questions.
What was my purpose? What do I really want out of life? Why am I doing what I do every day?
It became really clear what I wanted out of life:
I wanted to help other people live the best life possible. I wanted to build great relationships with my family and friends. I wanted to constantly grow. I wanted to fall in love.
Once I wrote down these goals, I realized that I had to change my habits drastically. There was a slight problem. Changing habits that I had acquired over two and a half decades would be really hard to change overnight.
So what did I do?
I made incremental changes.
Want to know why?
Great life habits compound over time.
Here are my top 7 compounding life habits:
- Practicing your skill - I love to write. I was also really terrible when I first started. My first book sold less than 50 copies. My mom bought one of those copies. My friends laughed at the book cover that I made in Microsoft Paint. I kept writing anyhow. My newest book now has over 40,000 Kindle downloads and hit #1 in the Amazon "resumes" category. When I first started writing on Quora, one of my old answers only got 272 views. I kept writing anyhow. Now I have over 8 million views and over 15,800 subscribers. Recently I just started a . Right now the first two podcasts have over 4,000 listens. Guess what's next? I'm going to keep podcasting. Perseverance leads to mastery.
- Slow down - I used to do everything at a million miles per hour. And then I traveled to Europe for three months. I met so many people who would say, "Wow, you eat fast man! Do you even enjoy it?" And then they would laugh. But they were right. Learn to slow down. Breathe. Enjoy the moment. I get it - you want to move mountains. You want to make a difference. You want to make a dent in the universe. Just remember to slow down and enjoy the journey. ( )
- Finding inspiration - I love to write. A lot of times I'll tell myself, "I'm so motivated to write this Saturday!" And then I don't write. I go grocery shopping. Or I do the laundry. Or I watch Game of Thrones. Or I nap. I've noticed that this changes when I find inspiration. One of the best ways I've discovered inspiration is by hanging out with people that are doing awesome things in their lives. One of my friends is chasing his dream as an actor and just recently wrote and acted in the #1 box office movie in South Korea. When he shared the news with me, it got me so pumped up. It inspired me. It made me want to do more with my life. Find great people and get inspired. Greatness is contagious.
- Reframing - This is one of the most powerful habits you can learn in life. Many times when we run into challenges, we stress out. We panic. We worry. The trick to stopping these reactions? Reframe the situation. Once I managed a sales territory for a technology company that was underperforming. I could have worried. I could have thrown my arms up in the air. Or I could do something about it. What did I do? I came up with a new training and customer outreach program. After just one trial, the program generated a deal worth over $800,000. View your challenges as opportunities.
- GSD - I used to work at a startup that had this phrase "Getting Stuff Done." Well, they didn't use the word "stuff," but you get the idea. I love this phrase. All too often, we spend too much time on research and planning, and then nothing happens. The hardest part is getting started. Recently I made the decision to get into the best shape of my life. I could have planned a lot. For example: What shoes should I wear? What types of workouts should I do? What kind of diet should I eat? I did a little bit of research. But then I just started. I ran 7 miles a day for 40 days, and now I'm in the best shape of my life. Stop planning. Start doing. You'll learn along the way.
- Growing your relationships - Meaningful relationships are critical to your happiness. People are inherently social. People want to connect with others. People want to love and be loved. As you age, a lot of things will distract you from investing in your relationships. Work and distance, for example, can make it harder to keep in touch with people. Don't let that happen. Keep investing in the relationships that matter to you. It's much easier nowadays because of technology. For example, some of my closest friends live in different parts of the world like New York, South Korea, Thailand and Los Angeles. 15 years ago it would have been pretty tough to keep in touch. Nowadays? We use Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Skype to stay connected. The same goes for business relationships. Make time to network with others, whether it's in person or on LinkedIn (Just make sure you have ). Invest in your relationships.
- Making your health your top priority - I used to eat a lot of processed foods. I mean, who doesn't love a good breakfast burrito? Around 26, I found myself getting chest pains during my work commute. One of my recent tests showed that my cholesterol levels were getting high. I decided to make a change. I bought a Nutribullet and started making green smoothies every morning for breakfast. (Pro tip: you can freeze your fruits and vegetables to make them last longer) At first, it was hard to stomach. But after a few days, I learned to make recipes that I enjoyed more. It's all about the mixed greens and frozen mangos, folks. Anyhow, over time it began to taste better. Now they taste delicious. If I don't have a green smoothie for a while, my body will crave it. By making one simple replacement at breakfast, it also altered the way I think about food. Now I opt for minimally processed foods for lunch and dinner too. I feel healthier than ever. These decisions are by far the most important habit I've picked up. Everything else fades away if you don't have your health. Stay healthy my friends.
The habits you put in place today will help you build the tomorrow you want.
What are you waiting for?
Start building the life you've always wanted. Now.
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