We live in a dramatic world where it seems that everything needs to be big and newsworthy. If something is not going to be a spectacle, is it really worth doing at all? The advent of social media has only made this worse. If you don’t believe me, just go onto youtube and check out how many people love to talk about how they hustle all day and all the big ‘hacks’ they do to be more productive.. I have no time for ‘hustle culture’ or attention seeking. I prefer to make simple changes which, if repeated consistently, lead to significant improvements.

Warren Buffet’s small habit

A few years back, I read an article on Warren Buffett; the most successful investor of all time. At the time, Buffett was worth $85 billion. That is incredibly impressive but what is more impressive is that an estimated $81.5 billion dollars had come from interest via the power of compound interest. Since the time he was 10, Buffet has consistently invested money in stocks and shares. That is not hustling and he wasn’t looking for anybody else’s attention. He simply developed the small habit of putting what he could afford into stocks and shares and he did so consistently for years on end. Of course he did his research and made use of his intellect but ultimately, he built an amazing life via small, unseen habits. 

The earlier you start developing small, positive habits, the more you will benefit from them but even if you are late starting them, it is much better than never starting them at all. I turn 45 this year and I only started a pension plan last year which is about 25 years later than I should but starting it last year will still leave me in a much better position than I would be at retirement if I didn’t start. I have only recently opened an investment account and the same applies. Every Thursday, I pay my pension, my investment account and my mortgage. There is nothing sexy about any of it but over time, it is going to put me in a much better financial position. 

And there is a very  important element to developing these habits, a cue to perform them. In the instances I have outlined above the cue is Thursday. I have reminders set for Thursday afternoon to make the payments. The reminder gives me a cue to make the payments and it soon becomes an established habit. Performing the habit once will not make a big difference in my life but whenI repeat it consistently, I will start to see real results.

It's not all about finances

There are many areas of your life where you can use cues to remind you to perform quick habits which, if repeated consistently, will change your life for the better. The following are some I have in my life. They might give you some ideas for your own life:

  • When I get up in the morning, I meditate
  • When I take a quick break between work tasks, I stretch for a couple of minutes
  • When I am taking a 15 minute break, I clean a room in my house
  • Whenever I pass my kitchen table (a place where clutter gathers) I remove an item that doesn’t belong there and put it in its rightful place
  • On Sunday, I plan my week ahead

These are all simple little cues but when the cue occurs, the habit gets done. It is no different than setting an alarm on your phone. Over time, the habit becomes so ingrained that you no longer think about the cue; just as after a while of consistently setting  your alarm for the same time each day, you begin to wake before the alarm.

Start small but start

Most of what you do on a daily basis is habits. You instinctively do these things without much thought. It is therefore critically important that you take the time to develop the right habits; habits which support your growth and development. These habits will allow you to become more of the person you want to be. When choosing new habits, start with small habits and choose a cue to help you get them done. After that, you just need a little patience and persistence. In good time, you will start to see the changes you are looking for.

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