When I retired from the military, I spent a long time figuring out what I wanted to do next. I have always had the drive to be “successful.” The problem was, I didn’t understand my definition of success. Stephen Covey wrote an entire book on seven habits highly effective people have. If you have not read that book, I strongly encourage you to do so! Covey, and his son Sean, have gone on to make various versions of this book and different educational programs. All of them are amazing and highly recommended! These books and others, have truly helped me understand what “success” is all about.
Developing Bad Habits
While I was in the military, I was highly motivated and had a definite major purpose in my life. When I retired, there was a massive shift in that purpose, direction, and motivation. I let a lot of “distractions” in and lost focus on my drive. I loved that I didn’t have to miss a kid’s sporting event, school concert, or family activity. But I missed the camaraderie of my military family. I stopped doing PT (exercising) and gained a bunch of weight. I was working every day, but I was “going through the motions.” In short, I was developing a bunch of bad habits, making me highly ineffective. Not good.
Highly Effective People Have Habits
Fast-forward to what led to morning rituals. One morning in 2017, I got out of the shower, dried off, and then had to sit down because I was so winded. It was then that a sequence of events led me to listen to an audio from Jim Rohn. One of the things he said in that audio hit me like a sack of potatoes.
I realized that I had stopped dedicating any time to my personal development. It was no wonder I was not enjoying the feeling of self-worth that I missed from my time in the military. I was not becoming the person I needed to be to create the success that I wanted in my life.
I then decided to learn about what the most successful people in the world do for personal development. Of all the different personal development techniques out there, my research taught me that the most successful people had six in common. That’s it! Just six simple habits that they claimed were the catalysts to their wildly successful lives.
The funny thing is, none of these six habits were new! Today’s society is so conditioned to want the latest, shiniest gadgets and gizmos that I almost disregarded these concepts. But, it dawned on me that these “successful” people do these things; I don’t do these things. Light Bulb! So, which one of these six things was I going to start doing to help me achieve the missing success? That’s when the real epiphany hit me! Why do just one? What if I hunkered down and did all six of these things? Genius!
As a retired military veteran, early mornings didn’t bother me, so I decided to get up an hour earlier each day and practice these six habits. The next day, I woke up and did all six, and I sucked at all of them! I was downright horrible! But, one hour into it, I felt incredible! That’s right, only one hour into day one, and I felt energized. I felt more confident and motivated than I had ever since I retired, and I had more clarity than I can remember having in a long time.
It was in that clarity that I came to a realization. If I start every day working to become a better version of myself than I was the day before, it was only a matter of time. If I do these six things day after day, I would eventually become that person I needed to create the success I wanted. I figured it would take me six to twelve months to see any significant changes. It took less than two. In less than two months, I doubled my income, improved my physical and mental health immeasurably, and my depression was non-existent.
What are these six habits? Well, you know military folks love our acronyms, so here is an acronym for you. S.A.V.E.R.S.
The first “S” stands for silence. Most people do not spend a lot of time in silence. It seems like life is one big ball of chaos from the time we get out of bed until we are in the car on our way to wherever we are headed for the day. In the car, headed to work, school, or wherever we have to be, we’re listening to the radio, podcasts, talking on the phone, etc. Then, when we get where we’re going, we have a whole additional set of distractions to worry about. You see where I am going with this.
The problem is, we need a peaceful and purposeful silence each day. A time when we quiet our minds and tap into our inner wisdom. Call it what you want, meditation, prayer, zen, happy time; I don’t care what you call it. But, our best ideas come when we quiet our mind. When people teach meditation, they often teach you to clear your mind. But that is HARD! Notice I said “quiet our minds,” not “clear our minds.” Successful people use this silence to set their mindset for the day. How? I’m glad you asked! Read on.
Look at your schedule, plan, or figure out what you need to accomplish for the day. Then, set your intention for the meditation on how you plan to achieve those tasks. For example, if I am working on writing an article or a chapter in a book and need ideas, I “set my intention” for the meditation to getting ideas for my content. Then, grab a notepad and a pen (or a notes app on your phone) and set a timer for 10 minutes. Start the timer, and sit there. Don’t try to think of anything; sit in silence IF a thought comes to mind; great! Pause the timer and write it down. Then, start the timer up again and sit. That’s it. Make sure you give yourself ten full minutes of silence, and don’t force your thinking.
If you force your thinking, you will not get your best ideas. It’s always when we aren’t trying to think that we have our best ideas. You know, like when we’re in the shower or laying down to go to bed. Remember, you can’t fail at this task unless you judge yourself. Don’t worry about how many thoughts you should or should not have or how you should be feeling. Just sit in silence. I guarantee you will get value from it. If nothing else, science has shown that it lowers your cortisol levels which reduces stress.
Sit up straight and tall, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and let your internal self be your focus. Find a balance between being calm and relaxed and being alert, aware, and attentive. No stimuli, no stress. Just silence. Don’t look at the clock or think about how long it has been; sit until the timer goes off. Then, when the timer goes off, it’s time to get up and move on to your next habit.
Affirmations Are Commitments To Yourself.
So, the “A” in SAVERS is for affirmations. First, affirmations have to be TRUTHFUL. You don’t want to lie to yourself, are make passive affirmations that make you feel good in the moment while taking away your responsibility for creating the results you desire. There are four steps to creating affirmations that deliver results.
The first step is to affirm what you are committed to. In other words, don’t make an affirmation like “I am a millionnaire” or “I want to be a millionaire.” Instead, say “I am committed to becoming a millionaire.” Affirming that you are committed to something is very different than thinking you are or that you want to be something you are not, right?
The second step is understanding your “Why.” After you affirm what you are committed to accomplishing, reinforce that affirmation by reminding yourself why you are committed to it. Why are you committed to being a millionaire? Is it so you can provide financial freedom for your loved ones? Maybe it’s because you want to buy a big fancy house and a yacht? The depth and meaning of your “why” is going to help determine how much you will push yourself to do what you have to do to accomplish your goals, which brings us to step three.
Affirm precisely and specifically what you are committed to doing to help ensure that you accomplish your goals. What activities are you committed to that will create your success? Specificity is essential here. For example, when I was in insurance, I would affirm how many potential customers I would talk to each day. Not just how many phone numbers I was going to dial. Because I knew that if I spoke to a certain number of potential customers each day, failure was impossible, and my success was inevitable. The law of averages would work that success out for me.
The fourth step in the affirmation process is timing. When are you going to implement those activities you committed to, specifically? When are you going to talk to those potential customers? When are you going to exercise to lose the 20 pounds you committed to losing? What activities are you going to do to accomplish your goal, and when are you going to do them?
There you have it, the four-step affirmation process. What are you committed to? Why are you so deeply committed to it? What are you going to do to ensure your success? And, when specifically are you going to do those things? If you follow this process and your affirmations are results-oriented, practical, and they reinforce your committments to ensure that you get the results you desire in life, you will not fail.
Can You See It? Visualization is the “V” in SAVERS.
Almost all of the world’s best athletes do this. By visualizing themselves achieving their goals and performing at optimum levels, they have already won the competition mentally and emotionally before ever setting foot on the field. Because they have already been there in their minds, it is easier for them to accomplish their goals in real-time when it’s “game time.”
The important thing here is to visualize the activities, not just the end results. Picture yourself dialing the phone and talking to those potential customers. See yourself working out at the gym, heading out the door to go running, riding a bike, whatever activities you committed to doing to achieve your success. And, picture yourself doing those activities happily, with a smile on your face. That way, it is more appealing to you to do those activities, especially if they are things you don’t like to do.
“E” is for Exercise! Boost Your Energy in The Morning!
This one is not as hard as you might think. If you already exercise, great! You don’t have to change that, regardless of what time you exercise. But, this still applies to you whether you exercise or not, and here’s why. The benefits of exercising in the morning are huge! Even if you only exercise for 60 seconds. Don’t believe me? Try this sometime when you are sitting on the couch and don’t have any energy. Stand up and do jumping jacks for 60 seconds. When you’re done, you will be breathing hard, and your blood will be pumping. That means that your oxygenated blood cells are working through your body and your brain. You will feel ten times more energized and awake than you did before you did your 60 seconds of “cardio.”
Not sure what you should do in the morning for an exercise routine? There’s an App for that! It’s called “7 Minute Workout,” and it is free. There are several of them; I like “Johnson and Johnson’s” and “Simple Design’s.” That’s right; you can get a total body workout in just seven minutes without any equipment. If you prefer videos, they’re on YouTube too. I highly recommend them!
Ready to Read? The “R” in SAVERS is for Reading
There isn’t much else to say about this one. We are all just one book away from whatever we want to improve in our lives. Want to get in shape? There’s a book for that. Want to make money? There’s a book for that. Want to be happy? You get the point. Whatever it is you want to improve, there are hundreds of books out there on the topic. If you don’t read or haven’t read in a long time, it’s time to start back up again. It doesn’t have to be much, maybe five or ten minutes a day. Or perhaps just five pages a day; that is still 150 pages a month, about a self-help book’s length.
So, in reading five pages a day, you could finish 12 self-help books a year! So go on already, help yourself! You will become a completely different person, and you will separate yourself from 95% of society. And, as an added benefit, you will be learning all you need to transform whatever area of your life you want to change!
Finally, we come to the last Habit. The “S” in SAVERS
The last “S” is for “Scribing.” Yeah, I know, it’s a fancy word for “writing,” but remember what I said about military folks and their acronyms? SAVERW doesn’t work as well as SAVERS, so “scribing” it is.
Believe it or not, I am not a writer (or a scriber)! So, this one was (and still is) one of the most challenging habits for me to start and do consistently. I found an app that is very helpful in this called the “Five Minute Journal.” It’s backed by scientific research, only takes five minutes, and it prompts you with questions and statements to make it easier to do. But, you don’t need an app, or a book, or anything special at all. You can write freehand on a piece of paper if you want to; it’s up to you.
Here is what you do. Write down three things you are grateful for and the three most important things you need to do to make today a great day. In other words, of all the things you have to do today, which three will have the most significant positive impact. Once you figure that out, focus on them first. There are always things we can complain about. If you start with gratitude for all the amazing things you already have in your life and focus on what will provide the most significant positive impact, you can change your reality.
I get it; we are all busy. Being busy, however, does not mean the same thing as being productive. Being productive means that we are busy doing something or things to accomplish our goals and dreams. If you want to change your life, you have to be productive, not just busy. By writing down those things you are grateful for and writing out your priorities for the day, you force your brain to specify what is essential and clarify what you need to do to accomplish the day. It will allow you to achieve more than you ever imagined possible.
There you have it; the six habits that I found almost all highly successful people have in common. Silence, Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing. Nothing new and ground-breaking. There is no magic pill to achieve success, but there is a proven method, and now you know what it is! Well, what are you waiting for? Go forth and be SAVERS! And, when you get to the “scribing” part, please feel free to “scribe” a comment below!