As I learned from my Rich Habits Study, building a wealthy, healthy and happy life is just a process. The process begins with a vision of the ideal future life you desire. That future life is actually a collage of a series of realized dreams that make your ideal life a reality. Think of each dream as a picture of those things you want in your life. These are very personal things. And they need to be very personal things. As Steve Jobs said in the 2005 Stanford commencement address: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living some Else’s life.”
In other words, don’t put your ladder on someone else’s wall. Pursue your own dreams. Not those of your parents, teachers or some other significant influence in your life.
In order to make that ideal life a reality, you need to follow a process:
1. Define each specific dream that is part of your collage of your ideal life.
2. Build individual goals around each dream. In order to realize a given dream, it may, for example, require that you accomplish numerous goals.
3. The final step requires that you forge daily habits (goal habits) that, when accomplished each day, brings you closer to achieving each individual goal.
Building new daily habits isn’t difficult if you know what to do. It simply takes time and persistence. Consistency is the key. There is an easy trick that you can use in order to forge new goal habits to help you accomplish the goals behind the dreams that make up your ideal life. This habit shortcut virtually guarantees they stick. It’s called the 20 Minute Rule. The 20 Minute Rule involves a simple three-step process. Here’s how it works:
1. Define any new goal habit you wish to adopt.
2. Devote 20 minutes a day to that new goal habit.
3. Repeat that daily goal habit for a minimum of 30 days.
The new goal habit could be:
• 20 minutes a day of reading to expand your knowledge in a particular area that you need to become more proficient in, in order accomplish an individual goal (i.e. getting some license or certification).
• 20 minutes a day of networking to develop relationships with other successful individuals doing what you want to do. These relationships will open the door to opportunities that will help you accomplish your goals and realize your dreams.
• 20 minutes of listening to a podcast related to one or more of your goals. This provides knowledge and insight you didn’t have before.
• 20 minutes of watching a TED video in an area you need to become more knowledgeable in, in order for you to realize your individual goals.
• 20 minutes of developing a side-business you hope to one day devote yourself to full-time.
• 20 minutes single-mindedly focused on achieving one singular goal. Once you accomplish the goal you can then apply this 20 minute rule to the next goal.
• 20 minutes of jogging, if an active, healthy life is part of your ideal future life vision.
• 20 minutes of lifting weights, if having strong muscles is part of your ideal future life vision.
• 20 minutes of developing a new skill, if this new skill is needed in order to give you the skill set to even begin pursuing a goal.
• 20 minutes of thinking positive thoughts. Positivity is a common characteristic of all successful people. A positive mindset keeps you optimistic, motivated and focused on overcoming obstacles rather than being stopped by them.
• 20 minutes of helping your spouse with home chores (laundry, dish washer, make the bed, clean the house, etc.), if a happy home life is part of your future ideal life.
• 20 minutes engaged in some hobby that you are passionate about and would like to eventually transform into a money making business.
• 20 minutes of doing home-improvement projects, if your ideal future life includes remodeling your home.
Thirty days gets your brain cells talking to one another, forming a synapse. Once the synapse is formed, the tracks are laid for habit formation to occur. Over time, it becomes easier and easier to engage in the habit. At some point, between 66 – 256 days, according to the latest science on habits change, the habit becomes an automatic, unconscious behavior. The brain loves habits. Habits conserve brain fuel and save the brain from work. But it does take repetition and time in order to get brain cells talking to each other. Thirty days gets the conversation going inside the brain.
Once the new goal habit sticks, then you can move on to the next new goal habit, following the same three-step process. In the course of a year it is possible to add three or more new goal habits using this three-step process. In a few years you will have created dozens of new habits and your life will begin to improve as you accomplish one goal after another and realize one dream after another.
Adopting good habits are like snowflakes on the mountainside. You hardly notice the cumulative positive effects these habits have on your life on a daily basis. But over time these habits create an avalanche of success event. When success hits, it appears to the untrained observer as if that person became an overnight success. Of course, what the untrained observer does not realize is the fact that that success was the byproduct of years and years of doing certain things every day that created the avalanche of success event.
Define your ideal, future life today and start yourself on the path to wealth, health and happiness. Start by adopting just one new goal habit. Stick with it for 30 days. Baby steps. That’s the secret to a perfect life!