The title I choose for this article "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" is also the title of a very known book of Stephen R. Covey. It is the first book of personal development I read many years ago - and till nowadays it remains in my memory and really changed my life - in time - litle by little. I strongly recommend you to read the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" of Stephen R. Covey as it is powerful, very well written and meanwhile funny and easy to follow.

The majority of us probably heard more than once the old quote:

"Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
 Watch your words, for they become actions.
 Watch your actions, for they become habits.
 Watch your habits, for they become character.
 Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny."

This adage means that every time we want to make changes in our lives - be it a minor or a major one - all we have to do is to shape our thoughts in such a manner that will lead us to the desired output. But is this what we should really do? It is an unwritten consensus that changing a habit is indeed difficult. Is it? I mean, is it really that difficult even if you take the right steps to do it?

Some other statistics indicate that a certain thing should be done on a daily basis for 21 consecutive days in order for it to become a habit. Let's do a little math here. If 1 year consists of 365 days then it means that you could theoretically implement 17 new habits in your life during a single year, that is 365 days divided by 21 days. Let's say that you did not jump directly from one habit to the other but take some days to prepare for the next, still there are 15! Can you see the power of this? I am sure that there are a lot of habits that you want to get rid of.

Did you know that the only effective way to do so is by replacing what you don't like with something that you really wanted. For example, you want to get rid of an established habit that consumes your time and is no more beneficial to you. Decide to do something wherein you will be benefited more rather than dwell with the usual thing you do for a certain period. Every time you do something in the future, it can't be denied that the old thing remains until it is slowly but surely be replaced with the new one and it becomes automatic for you, thus a new habit is established.

Probably you already know some new habits you want but if not, I will give you a list of habits that are the most proficient when it comes to reaching goals, maximizing time and living the life you want:

  1. the habit of gratitude
  2. daily meditation
  3. daily readings
  4. exercising
  5. eating habits (eating regularly for example)
  6. eating healthy food
  7. spending money
  8. spending time (both free and "occupied" one - maybe you could delegate some tasks or better read something than hang out with certain friends)
  9. establishing and pursuing your goals
  10. periodical evaluation of your progresses
  11. participating in a masterminding group
  12. regular meetings with your mentor/mentors
  13. maximizing your productive time by delegating some time-consuming daily tasks (to your kids for example - why not?)
  14. the habit of celebrating your successes
  15. the habit to get out with persons you admire and could be models for you

The above list is just enough for the whole year. If you already integrated some or all of these habits then for sure you already know their power and their huge impact on your life. The habits I mentioned before are important and inspired from my personal experience and not taken from the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" book. You are invited to write down your own list of habits maybe after you will read the book.

Let's be more specific here. For example you decided to integrate the daily reading habit in your program and you set a 30-minute daily frame for this. I assume that you choose to read inspiring books with quality content written by authors with great lives behind. In this case you just added 1 hour of powerful, inspiring and motivating thoughts on a daily basis. Why 1 hour? It's simply because apart from that 30 minutes of just pure lecture, you probably will think about what you read another 30 minutes during that day while you are engaged in some other activities. For sure the things that you have read on that day still lingers in your mind and will last at least for another half hour. This is from my experience with no scientific proof behind. Try it for yourself and let me know through your comments about your numbers. So you are assured of a high quality hour of thoughts out of the average 17hrs/day while you are awake.

And to make things easier, do not impose to read certain books if you don't feel inspired, motivated, and attracted because there are so many out there that you can choose. The problem will be than how to stop after that 30 minutes of reading. Do you see how powerful it can be in the context of the first paragraph here about the power of our repeated thoughts? It is easy to see how this particular habit could enrich your life. Remember that powerful people have powerful thoughts and use powerful words. Read what they have written and chose to nurture yourself with their words.

Another habit that I want to detailed here a little bit is the habit of gratitude. What is it all about? It takes you just 5-10 minutes every day to write down 5 things that happened in that day (or previous one) for which you are grateful.

"Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that's present (love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure) the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth." (Sarah Ban Breathnach quotes)

When we are grateful for the good we already have, we attract more good into our life. When we are ungrateful we tend to shut ourselves off from the good we might experience. So I think that the benefits of such a habit is quite clear. As I implemented it in my life, I discovered that there are more in this habit. You could use it to widen your perception of life's facts and change some common life models you have.

While I complete my daily grateful things, some very unpleasant episodes from the day pop up in my head. At that moment I pick them and ponder a little to see - if there could be something good related to those. The result was that very often I discovered great things or lessons beyond the apparently "unpleasant" events of a day, things or lessons for what I could be grateful.I will reproduce here a story related to this:

One day a man came to a known wise man and ask - "How on earth could I be happy with all that happened in my life? What about the bad things that happened to me?" And the wise man said: "I know nothing about bad things because I did not experience a single one."

So what about that? Isn't it wonderful to change slightly in time your way of looking at so called "bad" events and see through them the benefit they could bring into your life? Look what Samuel Johnson says: "The habit of looking at the bright side of every event is worth more than a thousand pounds a year."

"Happiness is a habit - cultivate it." (Elbert Hubbard)

I will end by summarizing the article here - go choose some habits you think will change your life for good, write them in a prioritized list and start implementing them one by one. Choose attentively which are the priorities based on the natural flow: thoughts -> words -> actions -> habits. And for your sake read the the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" to gain a wonderful and fully operational paradigm for your life and also remember to comment below on this topic - I know it was interesting otherwise you did not follow it till the end -:).