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Forget motivation; habit is your key to success

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Muthoni G | Apr 24, 2018 | Photograph by: Debby Hudson

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” – F.M. Alexander

Mark Manson, New York Times bestselling author of “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” said, “Most people exert their willpower on achieving temporary fixes whereas willpower should be expended on developing life-long habits.”

If you become the master of temporary fixes, you will become the recipient of temporary success.  I can say with complete confidence that nobody puts their heart, soul, blood, sweat, and, tears into any project for temporary success.

Don’t get me wrong; motivation and her equally great sibling, inspiration, are great to have along for the ride.  However, you cannot motivate or inspire your way to success because you have zero control over any of those two elements.

Motivation and inspiration answer to nobody but themselves.  They show up if and when they want and stay for as long as they want and not for as long as you need them too.

Entrepreneur, author and, motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.  It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure.”

Success requires consistency and repetition.  This is the reason why success for many, remains elusive.  Consistency and repetition are tedious.  Especially in a world that has grown accustomed to things being fast, fun and immediate. However, consistency and repetition are and will always be king.

As business mogul and author of  “The Slight Edge,” Jeff Olson points out, “You simply cannot do something regularly and fail.  You cannot practice and not get better.” 

Habits make desired actions and subsequent outcomes predictable.  They allow us to act consistently regardless of the environment we find ourselves in.

Habits are easy to build.  The majority of them are built unconsciously. Habits that change our lives for the better though are not as easy to build.  Those habits require us to be fully present and conscious of their creation until we are able to do them automatically.

On average, that takes more than 2 months or 66 days to be exact says Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London.

Don’t let this information crush your spirit though as there is good news on the habit-building front.  You don’t have to build all the habits you need for your success, one-by-one. Some habits delightfully and graciously compound.

Pulitzer prize-winning reporter and best-selling author Charles Duhigg, in his book “The Power Of Habit,” calls these type of habits, keystone habits.

Building keystone habits makes building other good habits a lot easier as building them sets off a chain reaction.  It starts a positive ripple effect that transforms other actions and behaviors.


What you need to know about building keystone habits

  • Keystone habits can vary from person to person.
  • Any habit can be a keystone habit so, don’t feel the need to limit yourself to a particular one.
  • When deciding on what keystone habit to focus on first, pick the one that creates the most benefits.
  • Make building your keystone habit extremely easy by starting small and focusing on only one habit at a time.  Remember, keystone habits spawn multiple good habits over time so you’re not losing out on anything.
  • Track your progress as building habits requires momentum. Momentum comes from consistency.  Tracking your progress also accelerates it.
  • Stay focused on the process and not the prize.




Natalie Hughes founded Miss Independent in 2017, to educate and mentor women and help them make their best career and business decisions. Natalie is an experienced business woman and non-executive company director focused on organisational design, strategy, growth and innovation. Her goal is to help you think differently, work differently and feel in control of your own destiny.

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