I talk a lot about habits on this blog because I strongly believe they are the foundation to creating the life you really want.
Achieving wealth and success aren’t dependent on your education or your talent. Over and over I’ve heard and read, the difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t is the fact that the successful ones just didn’t give up. They had created habits that supported their goals and developed a persevering mindset, so even in the most challenging times and through the biggest failures, giving up was not an option.
I find this extremely encouraging. Because, if I just choose to keep moving toward my goals, I will eventually reach them. I may not know how or when, but I do know I will.
The key is in building the right habits that will set you up for success. I’ve already written about financial, household, and lifestyle habits you can develop to help you reach your financial goals. In this post, I’m going to focus on mindset habits that will strengthen your motivation and commitment to turn your life vision into your reality.
1. Practice gratitude
Research has proven there are so many benefits to expressing gratitude. Some of them include increasing happiness, reducing depression, improving self-esteem, getting better sleep, lowering stress, and becoming more optimistic.
In addition, maintaining an “attitude of gratitude” can increase the motivation to achieve goals and seek self-improvement.
The cool thing about practicing gratitude is that, the more you do it, the more you want to do it. This is because when you are thankful about something, your brain releases dopamine. This “happy” chemical tells you that feels great, do more of that!
Gratitude is a practice to be exercised – meaning, you’re intentional about expressing gratitude daily. A few ways to do this are:
- Write down 3 things you’re grateful for
- Make a point to tell at least one person a day why you’re grateful for them
- Identify 5 things you’re grateful for that came out of a negative experience
- Write someone a thank you note
- Meditate on what you’re grateful for
As you practice gratitude consistently, your brain actually changes. Wow!!
If you’re stuck in a negative thought pattern, try developing a gratitude practice. You’ll be amazed how much more positive you’ll feel in just a few short weeks.
2. Practice visualization and affirmations
Visualization is a technique often used by professional athletes and other high achievers. The process activates the subconscious mind through visualizing a successful outcome before it actually occurs.
This is something I’ve recently started doing, because I’ve read about it in so many self-improvement books. People have different takes on how to do it, and I’m sure my approach will evolve the more I practice.
I would typically think this type of thing is a little too “out there” for me, but there have been studies that show the benefit of visualization. If professional athletes and wealthy entrepreneurs say it helps them, I don’t see why it can’t benefit me.
Besides, it’s fun!
If you’ve never visualized your dreams being your reality, you may put limitations on your vision. You might let your lack of knowledge or belief hold you back from dreaming big.
Don’t do that.
Allow yourself the freedom to go as far as your mind will take you, holding nothing back. When you envision your future goals being your present reality, you’re training your subconscious mind to accept these “requests” as truth. And even though we all know that just thinking something doesn’t bring it into existence, your subconscious will now be alert for the opportunities that will align your current reality with your vision.
Anybody can learn this skill, but there are some guidelines to follow if you want to be effective:
- You must immerse yourself in your visualization as deeply as you can. As you “see” yourself having already achieved your goal, identify the sights, smells, tastes, and sounds around you. Think about what your surroundings look like, what you’re feeling, who you’re with. Watch it like a movie in your mind, and conjure up a deep, emotional connection to it.
- Do it daily! Think of your visualization practice like a workout for your mind. Just going to the mental gym every now and then is not going to make a difference. If you want to strengthen your mentality and beliefs, you need to exercise them every day.
- Use affirmations to support your visualization. Affirmations are sentences that evoke related mental images that inspire, energize, and motivate. They also become programmed into the subconscious mind and consequently affect our behavior, habits and actions.
3. Practice delayed gratification
Delayed gratification is the discipline of resisting a present temptation to receive a greater future benefit.
And the more you practice this discipline, the easier it will be for you to walk straight on by the donut bin, the shoe aisle, the Apple store, and the Toyota dealership.
If you’re used to giving in to the impulse to buy something based on how you feel, you’ll be challenged at first. Just keep reminding yourself that you are in charge of your thoughts, feelings and actions. You have the power to resist what you want today so you can achieve your goals in the future.
However, you don’t have to just rely on will power. Here are a few things you can do to help you develop the discipline of delayed gratification:
- Review your goals daily. Write them down in places you’ll see them often. Look at them whenever you feel the pull to spend emotionally.
- Follow a budget where every penny is accounted for. Update your spending every day, so you’re constantly aware of where your money is going.
- Read personal finance books that deepen your knowledge of wise money management and investing. Be aware of the “opportunity cost”, which is the benefit you lose out on when choosing one alternative over another.
- Keep a tracking system to stay consistent. Use a calendar or spreadsheet to track your progress, and put it on your fridge or bathroom mirror so you keep it updated and see your progress.
4. Write and read your goals every day
There are many benefits to putting your goals in writing. The act of just writing down your goals activates a greater part of your brain than just thinking about them, and thereby you increase your chances of achieving them.
I have my goals in writing (though, I admit, I need to go back and make them more specific) and I read them every day.
But I recently read Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis, and learned that she actually writes down her goals *every single day*. So, I did a little digging.
I typically like to find some kind of research-based study to back up someone’s claims. I found plenty of studies about the benefits of just writing down your goals, but I didn’t find any scientific findings on writing them down every day.
However, when I read articles on *why* some choose to do this practice, I could understand their reasoning behind writing down your goals every day:
- You maintain a sharper focus on what you want to achieve
- You strengthen the alignment between your behavior and goals
- You feel a greater sense of accountability
- You generate more ideas on how you can achieve them
- You become more aware of what adjustments you need to make
Each of these reasons can be met to a lesser degree by just writing them down once and reading them daily. But for those who want to “supercharge” their efforts, writing them down daily will help.
Just be sure you’re not creating a glorified to-do list. The goals to write down every day are your major, long-term objectives.
5. Create your life from your future
I first heard this phrase from Brooke Castillo, creator of The Life Coach School. She claims that achieving your dream life all depends on the belief you have in yourself that you can. And not only that you can, but that it’s inevitable.
When you have zero doubt in your future success – when you believe 100% that your vision for your life will eventually be your reality – then you separate your circumstances from the result. In other words, it doesn’t matter what challenges or failures you come up against along the way. You know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that your success is inevitable if you don’t give up.
In line with this belief, Castillo says you need to “create your life from your future – not your past”. Too many people define themselves based on what they’ve already done, and this keeps them from moving forward. When you define yourself based on your future, successful self, then you develop the mindset to be the person you need to be *now*, in order to grow into that person in the future.
Also, once you deeply believe in your future success, you don’t need to worry about how you’re going to do it. You won’t get caught up in feeling incapable or inexperienced or not skilled enough or smart enough.
The only thing that will keep you from getting there is giving up. Because giving up means you’ve lost belief.
Belief in your future success will be the reason you keep trying after 99 failures. As long as you believe that your success is inevitable, you will keep trying, because you know that eventually you will succeed.
The difference between the one who succeeds and the one who fails comes down to one thing: the one who succeeded never gave up.
I encourage you to take heart in knowing that your success doesn’t depend on what you’ve already done. Your success depends on the choices you make now, and not giving up on your future.
Keep moving forward. Believe your future success is just up ahead, waiting for you. If you don’t give up, you will get there.