It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through. —Zig Ziglar
Several years ago I was invited to attend a presentation by several well-known motivational speakers, one of whom was Zig Ziglar. While he gave a thorough presentation, one particular concept stuck out to me, so much so that I immediately incorporated it into my life.
Mr. Ziglar built a habit over time, making coffee for his wife every morning. As he explained it, while making coffee was something his wife was quite capable of doing herself, he enjoyed taking care of it as a loving gesture toward her. I was so motivated by this idea that I took it upon myself to do this as well to demonstrate my love for my wife.
As a physician, there are many mornings I leave our house before my wife wakes up. Making coffee for her before I go is my way of saying good morning. Through this simple action I’m telling her that I love her and value her.
This started with intentionality. I made an effort to work this into my morning routine. Over time, it has become a habit.
How to Build New Habits
A habit is born through intentionality. With continued effort and intention, our initial activity becomes a new routine. When we perform a routine frequently enough with ongoing intention, that activity becomes a habit. Research has shown that a new habit is formed when an action is repeated anywhere between 30 and 120 days, though the average length of time it takes to create a new habit seems to be around 66 days.
Knowing this, we transform our behaviors into routines in order to eventually create a new habit. Also, to build a healthier lifestyle, we can take on a practice called “habit stacking” (more about this later) to gain a healthier lifestyle.
Tools for Establishing a Healthy Routine
Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day. —Jim Rohn
To help others achieve healthy lifestyle goals, Melissa and I developed The Power of 5: A Journal for Health, Longevity and Wellness.
The Power of 5 Journal helps people establish healthy routines. It is designed to promote actions which become the beginnings of new habits. These habits are instrumental in enhancing lives and result in an extended healthspan.
As I continue my study of making adaptations to result in a healthier life, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about developing good habits. One of my favorite authors, Steven J. Scott, often recommends habit stacking.
Habit stacking is pairing a new habit with an already-established habit in order to achieve greater success. I hope you’ll research this concept as well. In the case of the Power of 5 Principles, each “S” (Sweets, Sweat, Sleep, Stress & Sex) is able to be stacked with another principle to improve health, longevity and youthfulness.
Take small bites from the recommendations in The Power of 5 Journal. Implement one aspect of the journal as part of your daily routine. Once it is an established habit, begin stacking it with another habit you would like to form. Before you know it, you’ll have a healthier lifespan in sight as a result.
Writing down goals and tracking progress is an essential component to success. Use The Power of 5 Journal as a guide, reflect upon your habits, and adjust as needed as the Power of 5 principles become second nature.
To a Long and Healthy Life,
David Bernstein, MD