We may have mentioned before one of my favorite quotes from Keith Cunningham’s book The Road Less Stupid. “Ordinary things, consistently done, create extraordinary results.” This applies to our work ethic, our relationships, and even our habits.
What I like about this quote is that it’s so obvious, except that it’s not. When you stop to think about it, really the only thing that creates extraordinary results is consistency. We say it in many ways, don’t we?
“Gradually then suddenly.” “An overnight success (after decades of hard work)”
I’m realizing that sometimes it takes two sources, saying something just a little differently for me to hear it. When I read that quote, I really liked it. However, I don’t think it would have had so much power if I hadn’t just read Atomic Habits by James Clear. (There’s another similar book out called Tiny Habits, too, that I hear is also pretty good!)
Make small adjustments to ordinary things.
In Atomic Habits, James talks about making small adjustments (ordinary things) to affect big changes. If you have the habit of mindlessly flopping on the couch and watching tv after dinner and want to change that simply take the batteries out of the remote and put them in a different room.
Could anything be more ordinary? Want to eat healthier? Put the apples on the counter where you’ll see them first. Ordinary things.
Now, consistency. If I take the batteries out of the remote and really want to watch something, I’ll put them back in. If I don’t remove the batteries when I’m done, I’m right back to the old habit.
Don’t stack your habits.
James Clear also talks about “habit stacking.” I really like this one. How many times have you said “I’m going to start….” And yet, whatever that is never really happens because you don’t have a trigger to remember.
“I’m going to start planning my day in the morning. I will be purposeful and get all the important things done.” Then, the next day, you get up, check email and social media and bam! The day is ahead of you. What if you tied it to coffee? (You do drink coffee?) Put your calendar or notepad right next to the coffee pot. As soon as you grab that first cup, sit down with the calendar and notepad and plan out your day.
We all brush our teeth in the morning. What can you tie to that? What if you took 5 minutes to write something down? It could be everything that didn’t get done. Have any worries? Write it down. Bet you sleep better!
How to change your habits.
Now, you may have noticed, nothing suggested here is particularly earth-shattering. Especially not if done just once. However, implement something daily and your world can change. Some suggestions that I find pretty easy to start with:
- Place a notepad by the bed and write things you worry about. This will help you sleep better
- Set a timer on the plug to the TV so you go to sleep at a reasonable hour
- Put your calendar or to-do list right by the coffee pot
- Use your bathroom mirror as a whiteboard to write yourself notes of encouragement (or reminders. I often write “What time are we walking today?” on mine)
- Get a nice fruit bowl and make it “front and center” so when you need a snack, it’s what you see first. (ok, you may still go get the chips, however at least you saw the fruit first)
Ordinary things. Little things.
An agent asked me this week during a Real Estate On Purpose coaching call, “What’s the best tiny habit I can implement?” I answered, to train yourself to follow your calendar, any time a calendar alert goes off, physically change positions. If you’re sitting, stand. If you’re standing, sit. That will train your brain to say “oh, something is happening here and I need to take notice.
What’s your hack? Let us know! Check out realestateonpurpose.com/blog for more articles about lifestyle, real estate, and real estate coaching.