Rules for Building Strong Habits

Advice from One Smart Lady

As I continue to grow professionally and personally, I marvel at the fact I have all I need to know right at my fingertips. Over the years, I have attended many seminars, workshops both online and in classrooms. I even called myself, “The Seminar Junkie”. Recently, I have been concentrating on my mind and how it works. I have been blessed with many skills, talents, and gifts. I say ‘blessed’, but it is also a curse. Because of my varied interests, I tend to be all over the place.

I have been given the heart of service and teaching and I tend to answer, “Yes” when asked, “Can you help me with…” You fill in the blank.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was unpacking my books, I came across “Habits of the Mind” by Dr. Archibald D. Hart. He may or may not be a familiar name. I was introduced to Dr. Hart through my Biblical Counseling training. His book was recommended by my Counseling Teacher and at that time it was out of print and unavailable. I was not daunted, as a publisher, I knew that authors always had their own stash so I wrote tracked him down and asked if he had a copy available for sale. He was pleasantly surprised that I went to such great lengths to get a copy of his book. I sent him a check and he sent me an autographed copy, “To Deborah, With God’s Blessings. Archibald D. Hart”. I will treasure this book forever.

One of the skills we are taught is how to take our counseled clients through the process of swapping out bad habits and replacing them with good habits. The process was called “put off – put on”.

It would go like this:

Put Off – Lying                                     Put On – Truth
Put Off – Negative Talk                      Put On – Positive Self-Talk
Put Off – Procrastination                   Put On – Taking Action

In the “Habits of the Mind”, Dr. Hart takes the reader through ten exercises to renewing your thinking. Along with these exercises are six (6) rules.

Rule for Building Strong Habits

  1. Have A Plan
  2. Define the Habit You Desire
  3. Challenge Whatever Sabotages Your New Habit
  4. Set Up A System of Reminders
  5. Reinforce Your New Habit
  6. Challenge Your Plan if isn’t Working.

Have A Plan

Be intentional about what you plan to do. No good habits can be formed without a plan. Imagine a building contractor who is hired to build a skyscraper. He or she would not take blueprints which lacked a strong foundation.

I want to be Financially Wealthy and Debt-Free.

Define the Habit You Desire

Be specific in defining your desired outcome. If it is setting a dollar amount that you want to earn each month, write it down and also list every skill, product or idea you have to bring in a specific dollar amount. It is learning a skill. Write down the source of training, the length of time it will take for you to achieve this training and a target deadline.

I want to earn a Six-Figure Income a month. Write down the steps to achieve this. Place it at the top of the tier and work your way up from the bottom. Build a strong foundation. What will it take?

  1. Six-Figure Income a month
  2. $75,000 Income a month
  3. $50,000 Income a month
  4. $25,000 Income a month
  5. $15,000 Income a month
  6. $10,000 Income a month
  7. $5,000 Income a month
  8. $1,000 Income a month

Challenge Whatever Sabotages Your New Habit

Be a good steward of your income. Challenge yourself to Tithe 10% (or more), Save (10%), (60%) Pay Your Bills/Discretionary Spending  and reinvest 20% in your business. Note: Paying your bills will decrease as your bills are paid off. The challenge is to still hold down discretionary spending.

Set up a System of Reminders

Set up a daily routine of monitoring your activities:

  • Morning Devotion to align yourself with right thinking
  • Reflection of the previous day’s activities
  • Setting out the plans for the day
  • Act on your plans

Reinforce Your New Habit

Set up an accountability partner and receive confirmation you are on target. Reinforce yourself knowing that God is pleased with your progress. Remember it is a journey and a process we all are going through.

Change Your Plan if it isn’t Working

Examine the areas of your plans that are not working and don’t hesitate to change or get rid of them.

Next: How the Ten Habits Fit Together
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