Why Habit can be a Friend or Enemy of Future Success

It takes struggle to attain a particular goal e.g., a college degree, successful business or even a happy family. The struggle involved in achieving some of our goals demands so much of our blood, sweat, and tears that we become reluctant of dreaming big and having high hopes again. This happens probably because we begin to associate big achievements with pain, especially the pain of sacrificing for the sake of a goal. The subsequent ambitions we pursue after a big achievement tend to be less demanding in nature, owing to having sacrificed so much time, energy and attention (more than originally intended) in the previous big goal. We resign from big dreams and hopes and settle for what we call more realistic/practical goals.

Present-Day Happiness/Sadness is a manifestation of the choices/habits made in the Past. © Matijakeber ID 17701148 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

What happens after achieving a major life goal is what I find interesting. People build a fortress(habit) around the achievement and live in a comfort zone. One develops a sense of identity and pride associated with the achievement (family, academic qualification, job title or business brand), then do all they can to promote and safeguard this new status. Anything that challenges or poses a risk to this status quo creates a sense of insecurity – and that is when perspective becomes that life is unfair. Life becomes unfair because one’s fortress(habits) suffers insecurity, with the person being at risk of losing the pride and identity associated with whatever they have come to value so much. This published post appreciates those moments of discomfort as ideal moments to re-evaluate and re-adjust our habits into those that bring us closer to our goals.

Changing a habit makes us uncomfortable, whereas life seems unfair when we are at risk losing something gained from the effort. And yet, if you want different results in your life, you have to replace some old habits with new ones – and lose a few things in your life.

If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got

Henry Ford

The following example demonstrates the reason as to why habit is a key determinant of success: one coveting money and power would develop habits different from another seeking love in friends and family. As one spends money attending conferences and doing promotions, the other would spend money on holidays/gifts for their loved ones. As one spends time with the who is who, the other shall be home next to their kids, spouse or parents. As one accumulates wealth for power, the other invests in the future of those who matter to him/her.

Therefore, he who hath no knowledge does that those who have knowledge do to gain knowledge. He who hath no money does what those who have money do to get money. He who hath no friends does what those who have friends do to get friends. To get the money, friends or knowledge they don’t have, people substitute old habits for habits that will attract what they desire. It is a similar principle that we must regularly substitute old habits with habits that bring us closer to our goals.

As I conclude, I suggest a technique that makes it easier to achieve goals and achieve a change of habits. An Airforce friend of mine calls it the 6P’s of life. Change of habits for the sake of a new goal shall always be a struggle if one does not have a ‘why’ that is strong enough to hold them when the going gets tough. That ‘why’ is the purpose. The 6P’s  guide you into the ‘how’ of fulfilling your goals. The 6P’s are: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Planning unrolls actionable steps in the journey to your big goals and often reveals potential barriers to your success.

For everything there is a price to pay. Part of the price to pay is knowing the price to pay.

I appreciate your reading up to the end, and wish you fruitful habits 🙂



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