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Machen MacDonald: The habit of success

Things can be hard by the yard and a cinch by the inch. Successful people know to chunk life and projects into measurable and doable elements. Every goal or accomplishments has within it various components consisting of repetitive actions that will lead to its achievement. These repetitive actions are behavioral habits needing to be executed on the part of the person looking to accomplish the goal.

Do you want to achieve a goal? Identify the habits it will take to accomplish it; both on what must be done and what must be avoided.

Albert E.N. Gray, tells us in his essay The Common Denominator of Success, “Successful people make it a habit of doing the things unsuccessful people don’t like to do.”



An Olympic athlete does not reach the podium through doing what it takes once in a while or when it’s convenient. They make it a habit of doing what it takes mentally, physically, and emotionally each and every day. In business and in life it is the same.The Greek philosopher Aristotle taught, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

To increase your odds for success, focus on increasing the effectiveness of your habits. Here is simple two part 30-day program you can practice to elevate your excellence. Practice Parts I & II simultaneously each day.




Part I:

1. Identify 1- 3 habits that are currently contaminating your success that you wish to dismantle for the next 30 days. Remember these habits may not just be things you do. They may be thoughts that have become habitual.

2. Decide to limit, eliminate, or delegate the offending habit(s).

3. Communicate your decision to dismantle the detracting habit(s) to an accountability buddy, coach, or mentor that can help hold you accountable to your commitment.

4. Ask for whatever support you need from those that can provide it.

5. Affect your environments as best you can to minimize or eliminate the temptation or distraction that could lead to the hijacking habit you are wanting to dismantle.

6. “Visceralize” (Visualize with feeling) what your life will be like having been free of the contaminating behavior.

7. Track and celebrate your daily progress of shredding the contaminating habit(s) until they are no longer part of your behavior.

Part II.

1. Identify 1-3 habits you must develop or adopt during the next 30 days that will either contribute to or accelerate your success.

2. Decide to build or install the new habit(s).

3. Write it down so you will see the reminder to do so every day. Calendar it. Journal it. Get it on your to do list. Place a post-it note on your bathroom mirror. Make the reminder ubiquitous.

4. Communicate your decision to build or install the empowering habit to your accountability buddy, coach, or mentor.

5. Ask for whatever support you need from those that can provide it.

6. “Visceralize” (Visualize with feeling) what your life will be like having had affected these new habits.

7. Affect your environments as best you can to support the implementation of the habit you are wanting to construct.

8. Do the actions daily you are wanting to convert into habits. Yes, you actually have to do the actions on a repetitive basis to build the habit. Go figure.

9. Track, celebrate, and lock in the new success habits.

Take the time to identify the habits you wish to affect for the next 30 days.

Working the process above each day will pay you tremendous dividends toward the increased success you seek.

Here’s to your continued success and wellbeing. Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!

#1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley, CA. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at coach@probrilliance.com and 530-273-8000


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