Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act but a habit.” 

Highlight your habits.


with Etiquette Expert Susie Wilson

This exercise unearths what we do well most of the time. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act but a habit.” 

Spend a week observing your habits in the strongest area or two. Write notes in your phone every time you make an observation. 

Don’t gloss over them just because they might come easily to you. Break it down as much as you can. Why is it exactly that you have such close friendships or a killer career? 

Try to list 20 to 25 things that you notice over the course of the next seven days. For example, here are a few observations I made that contribute to my happy relationships with people.

* No TV or distractions at dinner time—it’s our time to connect and talk.

* apologise quickly after I snap or act impatiently.

* treat him/her to small surprise gifts.

* tell him/her frequently that I appreciate him/her (and specifically why).

* complain less about lateness (this one is very hard for me as I am uber-punctual, but I try!). 

4. find your “why” and notice how this affects your choices. 

When you are clear on what’s going right in your life, uncover your motivation. All success is created by a belief or a vision, whether or not you are consciously aware of it. Without a vision for your life, you fall into destructive short-term thinking by default, seeking stimulation and short-term gratification (“Sure, I’ll have that doughnut!” or “Actually I really do need a $200 white t-shirt!”). 

People who always maintain a healthy weight or bank account balance, for instance, allow their why to keep them on track with day-to-day decision making. I have a friend who orders a salad for lunch every single day rain, shine, or hangover. Her why is so ingrained that her decision is automatic. Get clear on your why for the areas that you are proud of.

Maybe yours is: “My health is the foundation for my full and vibrant life” or “Being financially secure makes me feel safe and gives me a feeling of freedom.” These robust whysnot only keep you on track but also make better habits effortless. Over time, your thoughts and decisions become so aligned with your why that they become easier and easier.

5. Craft a clear “why” for the area you most want to work on. 

I recommend starting with just one area, but you can choose two if you feel up to it. This why will be the driving force behind the creation of new habits in the area of your life that you most want to improve. 

Refer to it daily. Stick your new why on your mirror so that you see it every morning and night. 

A client of mine has put off getting in shape for a decade, always thinking her life would start sometime in the future (a belief that many of us share). Her progress area is physical health. She printed out a bold and bright statement for her vision board that reads, “I am beautiful and healthy. I deserve to feel this today and every day of my life. My life is happening now.”

 Your why will keep you going in busy or frustrating times when it’s easy to lose focus or give up. In moments you feel adrift, your why will be your steering wheel. 

Susie Wilson


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