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5 Habits to Make 2022 Your Best Year Ever

Dec 25, 2021

"Making a choice that is one percent better or one percent worse seems insignificant in the moment, but over the span of moments that make up a lifetime these choices determine between who you are and who you could be.  Success is a product of daily habits - not once-in-a-lifetime transformations."

                                                                                            - James Clear, author, Atomic Habits


It is once again the beginning of a new year, and many of us have great aspirations for making monumental improvements in various aspects of our lives. 


This is usually the time of year when we set intentions for improving our health (usually in the way of releasing weight or improving our diets and/or exercise habits), our careers, our relationships and/or financial standing.


Having a clear vision on where we want to go is integral to the attainment of any worthy vision.  However, what gets most of us off track is not just lack of clarity for where we want to go, but also inconsistent effort in acting upon the strategies and disciplines required to achieve what we desire.


Oftentimes, we are inspired to take massive action on attaining our desired outcome, only to move off course when we get distracted or our journey becomes difficult. 


Invariably, those who attain massive results do not do so by maintaining a pace of extraordinary action, but rather have healthy and consistent habits in place in their everyday lives that compound and take them to their desired outcome.


As author, James Clear shares in his book, Atomic Habits:  A simple 1% improvement each day will net the following results over time.


  • One year - 37 times better by year’s end 
  • Two years – 1,400 times better by year’s end
  • Five years – 76,000,000 times better by year’s end



Small habits don’t add up, they compound.




While positive habits over time net outstanding results, the converse is true for being off course through negative habits compounded over time.  Just being slightly off course can net life changing negative results. 


Consider this: A commercial airliner leaving Los Angeles on its way to Honolulu takes off and the pilot inadvertently sets the course off by only 1 degree south.  The compounded impact of just being one degree off course over the 2,479 mile, 5-hour plane trip would probably land the plane in Auckland, New Zealand (Ok, I can’t prove that navigationally, but you get the point). 


In more practical terms; it’s not one donut, one cigarette or one sugary soft drink that negatively impacts us.  It is that one donut, cigarette or soft drink consumed daily (sometimes multiple times per day) over weeks, months and years that can have the compounded negative impact on our health. 


Once again, habits (whether healthy or unhealthy) don’t add up, they compound.


So, how can we implement positive habits into our lives, so we can experience our desired results by year's end and beyond? Well, here are five strategies I use in my own life and with coaching clients that can serve to establish those transformational habits and allow them to compound in your life.


  1. Break it down – With any transformation you wish to experience or project you wish to undertake, it is important to break the journey to the end-result down into small, manageable steps. When end-results are too far off or seem too out of reach to be acted upon, the “I’ve got plenty of time, I’ll get to that later” procrastination mindset can set in.  By breaking down the goal into small digestible tasks, you have taken the first step in leveraging the strength of compounding habits.
  2. Pre-commit to your habits – Now that you have your positive habits identified, it is important to “pre-commit” to doing them consistently. If you have committed to a daily meditation practice, avoid waking up and deciding whether or not you will mediate first thing in the morning or later in the day.  Have your meditation pillow already set down, to where you will trip over it as you walk by.  Having already decided when you will do it (first thing in the morning works best for me), there is no negotiation with yourself (your most powerful adversary to following through on your commitment to self) since you have already decided to act. 
  3. Schedule your habits– Schedule your positive habits in your calendar and plan around them. If date nights each week with your significant other or children is a habit you wish to form, don’t enact upon it when you “have free time”.  We all know that nature abhors a vacuum and when there is free space on your calendar, it will get filled up.  Rather, “anchor” those special events in your calendar and plan everything else around them.  You’ll be amazed at how often you will follow through on your commitments when you do.
  4. Find people where healthy habits are the norm, not the exception – Jim Rohn is quoted as saying, “You are an average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Find those people in your life who truly are committed to positive habits in their own lives. Share your healthy habits with them and ask for their support and collaboration.  Who knows, you just might find a buddy to go down the road of healthy habits with you?
  5. Reward yourself when habits are completed – I have a theory that regardless of how old we are, we are all still “big kids” anyway. I learned this over years of watching adults go “ga-ga” over me awarding them a piece of colored electrical tape on their marital arts belts when they had mastered an intermediate skill on the road to their next belt rank.  Do the same for yourself – even if it’s something small.  For example, when you achieve 30 consecutive days of meditation practice, reward yourself with something you love.  Make it a game and you will find how inspired you become to maintain your practice of healthy habits.


This week, I challenge all of us to identify at least one positive habit we would like enact consistently in our lives.  Think simple, think small, think consistent and watch how the practice of habits compound to transform your life.


Chris Natzke

Black Belt Leadership Speaking & Coaching


PS:  I you are looking to create healthy habits to make your visions a reality in 2022, click here to learn more about my 2022 Strategic Planning Power Package.


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