24CA94B3-B84B-43FA-B544-A42D8F7D933F Habit Creation For Business Success - Business Growing Pains 24CA94B3-B84B-43FA-B544-A42D8F7D933F Impact-Site-Verification: 1173464753

Andrew Brabant


For years I wondered why when I was working on a project for the business, I would start with huge motivation and after a while, I noticed that my enthusiasm waned but I knew if I kept going that I would start to see results eventually.

This happened time and time again.  Sometimes, it was just because the idea itself was less than optimal, but other times it was just that life got in the way, I ran out of time or wasn’t seeing the results as fast as I wanted them and a new brighter thing came along to distract me.

A couple of years ago when I was starting my training program, I felt that this issue that I was experiencing trying to turn my side hustle into a full time enterprise had to be one of the biggest causes of business growing pains that a founder or entrepreneur would face and so I decided to find a fix for my situation and hopefully others.

The more I looked into this, the clearer it became that this was not a new thing.  I had heard of Stephen Covey’s book the 7 habits of highly effective people, but hadn’t read it.  In the middle of reading ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller, He is talking about creating habits to ensure that you are not relying on motivation and energy to get your ‘one thing done’ and he mentions another author and Stamford Professor BJ Fogg’s book ‘Tiny Habits’, which I immediately, purchased on Audible.

The Tiny Habits theory was amazingly effective and got me started habit stacking and finding the right triggers and rewards to ensure that my productivity was SMASHING IT!.  While Tiny Habits was good, it didn’t quite marry with my business focus and was quite general.  I wanted something that was more hardcore business and had more of a framework around it that I could build upon.  I continued searching Amazon and came across ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear.

What a foundational success book this is and should be for anyone that is looking to find a better way to get S**T done. Atomic Habits most importantly teaches habits as a system that you can use to structure and implement your necessary work.

James nails it and goes that bit further with identifying how our identity is the key to our habits and our habits are the key to our success and happiness. If every time you make a decision about doing a positive habit or neutral or negative habit, you ask yourself, “What would a successful / healthy / fit / good parent / do, you will overtime start to shift your identity to one of a healthy person a successful entrepreneur etc.  He teaches how to activate those habits so they are daily habits.

The biggest truth is ‘The habits we create and maintain today become the results we see in the future.  Exercise and eat healthily now and you will be fit and healthy in the future.  The opposite is also true if you don’t exercise and eat junk food.  Save money and invest today and do it regularly and at retirement you will have investments.  Don’t do it and you won’t.

Success is the product of daily habits, not one time actions. Your outcomes are a lagging indicator of your eating, spending, saving and education. Time magnifies the margins between success and failure compounding results of what you did or didn’t do.

Why small habits have a huge impact on your life.

It’s only when looking back that the influence of small changes are visible. Unfortunately the slow pace of transformation makes it easy to let a bad habit slide. Habits often appear to make no difference until you cross a critical threshold. You put in place habits and actions and feel like you are going nowhere. Large outcomes are delayed, which is why it is so hard to build habits that last. People make a few small changes and then can’t see any immediate change and so they stop. It’s easy to let good habits slip.

What determines whether we break through the tipping point that brings measurable change or success? 

Forget about using goals to reach success.  Goals and motivation are fleeting and hard to maintain as they require energy to achieve.  Systems are the root of your achievement and habits are the vehicle that ensures that you become successful.

Imagine that when you reached 20 years old, you put $20 per week into an interest bearing term deposit, you would have over $500,000 toward your retirement.  For the cost of a single sandwich and two coffees over the course of a week, you would have half a million saved or if you don’t create the habit you have nothing.  It’s easy to think, I will do that next year when I have a bit more money or I will have a bigger paying job and won’t need it, however the value of compounding interest and value is not there.  You don’t have the opportunity to leverage  that money for an investment property loan which will turn into millions.  This is not a financial advice blog, but you get my  point.

Entrepreneurs who have the right habits to ensure their profitability and staying power in the marketplace operate the world’s most profitable companies. The fact is that our everyday behaviors determine a great deal of our conduct, essentially deciding our ability to succeed in any line of work.

Habits are an undeniably powerful part of life, dictating much of our conduct. The behaviors we employ have a huge effect on our capacity for success, from the way we think to the way we feel to the way we behave.

Some behaviors are beneficial in life, whereas others are beneficial in the company. Any business owner who is serious about achieving financial success must ensure that they practice the proper business habits. Bad habits in business will clearly kill you, damage your credibility, and eliminate any hope of eventual success. Good habits, on the other hand, when practiced consistently, can lead to massive success.  Adding to this their personal habits for investment and health, you have a new compounding effect of happy in life and happy in business.



Like every other normal person, you must have dreams and aspirations for your life. In reality, you probably have a long list of tasks — big and small — that you’d like to complete. That’s fantastic, but there’s a common error we make when it comes to goal-setting.

The issue is that we set a deadline but not a schedule.

We concentrate on the ultimate target and the time frame in which we want to accomplish it. We say things like, “By the summer, I want to lose 20 pounds,” or “In the next 12 weeks, I want to add 50 pounds to my bench press.”

Set a Schedule, Not a Deadline

In my experience, setting a timeline to work by rather than a deadline to meet is a better way to accomplish your objectives.

Instead of setting a deadline to reach a specific target (and then feeling like a failure if you don’t), pick a meaningful goal and create a plan to work toward it regularly. That may not seem to be a significant change, but it is.  It’s kind of like working backward by asking yourself the question.  What would I have to do everyday for the next 2 years to achieve goal x?  When you have the answer, you then know what your daily schedule / habit needs to be.

For me, my ‘One Thing’ is to; write and publish one blog article every week.  I worked out it takes me around 5 hours to write and 2 hours to publish the article on each of my sites.  For this to occur, I need to do approximately an hour a day of focused work on my blogs.

I then put in place a habit stack of setting an alarm at 4:50am saying my mantra, opening my laptop, reading my Worklife Compass (Weekly, Monthly, Annual Goals) and then reviewing My ‘One Thing’ and once I have done that, I continue writing or publishing. And the job gets done!


People who are productive and efficient put their values into practice on a regular basis. Every week, the best weightlifters go to the gym at the same time. Every day, the best authors sit down at the keyboard. The best leaders, parents, bosses, artists, and physicians all follow the same idea.

The odd thing is that it’s not about the success of top performers; it’s about the constant practice.

The focus is on taking action rather than completing X target by a certain date. Your schedule is your ally. You can’t predict when you’ll have a stroke of brilliance and write a moving tale, paint a stunning portrait, or create an exquisite painting, but the plan can ensure that you’re working when it happens.

You can’t predict when your body may want to set a new personal best, but the routine will ensure that you go to the gym regardless of how you feel.

It’s all about honing your craft, not about reaching a certain standard of performance. Give yourself a plan to execute, not a deadline to meet, if you want to be the kind of person who accomplishes tasks on a regular basis.


In the world of personal finance, there is a phenomenon known as “lifestyle creep.” When our income increases, we have a propensity to buy bigger, better, and nicer products.

Let’s say you get a $10,000 increase at work and have $10,000 more per year in your wallet. Rather than saving money and continuing to live as normal, you’re more likely to move to a bigger TV, stay in better hotels, or buy designer clothes. Your normal lifestyle will gradually creep in, and goods that were once considered a luxury will become a necessity. What was previously unattainable would become the new standard.


It’s not lifestyle creep if you buy more items than your bank account can support. This is referred to as debt.

Similarly, habit creep isn’t when you adopt many new habits that you can’t keep up with. To put it another way, the trick is to avoid falling into the pit of trying to expand too quickly. Lifestyle creep is almost invisible because it occurs very slowly. The same should be said for habit creep. Your aim is to nudge your habits in the right direction gently. 

There are three main methods for permanently changing long-term habits and improving efficiency.


You lead a regular life. Your current level of physical fitness, for example, is largely determined by how much exercise you get on a typical day. Assume you walk 8,000 steps a day on a regular basis. You can start training for a race or increase your fitness routine to get in better shape. 

On the other hand, the habit creep method will apply a very small amount to your usual way. Instead of 8,000 steps a day, say 8,100. This logic can be applied to almost every aspect of life. You make a certain number of sales calls each day at work, write a certain number of Thank You notes each year, and read a certain number of books each month. Suppose you want to become more competitive, thankful, or intelligent. In that case, you can use the concept of habit creep to gradually develop certain qualities by simply changing how you go about your daily routine.


Every day, we do a variety of things in reaction to the world in which we work. Since cookies are on the table, we eat them. Someone sends us a text message, so we pick up our phones. When we sit on the sofa, the first thing we do is turn on the television. If you make subtle changes to your surroundings (hide the cookies in the pantry, work on the phone in another room, put the TV in a cabinet), your behavior will change as well. Consider what would happen if you made one meaningful environmental change per week. By the end of the year, where do you think your life will be?


The outcomes you achieve on your best day are usually a representation of how you spend your regular days. Everyone becomes concerned with having the best day possible—getting the highest score on their exam, running the quickest race they’ve ever run, or selling the most in the store.

That things, in my opinion, should be forgotten. Simply change the day-to-day activities, and the results will follow. We naturally create long-term changes in our lives by gradually altering our everyday habits and behaviors.


Phillippa Lally works at University College London as a clinical psychology researcher. Lally and her research team determine how long it takes to develop a habit in a report published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

Throughout 12 weeks, the analysis looked at the behaviors of 96 individuals. For the next 12 weeks, each person chose a new habit and commented on whether or not they carried it out and how automatic it felt.

Easy activities like “drinking a glass of water with lunch” were chosen by others. Others chose more challenging activities, such as “running for 15 minutes until dinner.”

The researchers analyzed the data at the end of the 12 weeks to see how long it took each individual to go from beginning a new activity to doing it automatically.


A new behavior takes an average of more than 2 months to become automatic — 66 days to be precise. And how long it takes to develop a new habit varies greatly on the person’s behavior and the circumstances. People in Lally’s study took anywhere from 18 to 254 days to develop a new habit.

To put it differently, if you want to set realistic standards, it will take you anywhere from two to eight months to integrate a new habit into your life, not just 21 days.

According to the researchers, “missing one opportunity to execute the action did not materially affect the habit-forming process.” It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes. It’s not an all-or-nothing situation when it comes to developing healthy behaviors.


Let’s talk about three reasons why this study is motivating before you get discouraged.

  • For starters, there’s no need to feel bad about yourself if you try something for a few weeks and it doesn’t last. It’s expected to take a lot longer! If you can’t learn a habit in 21 days, don’t be too hard on yourself. Learn to appreciate your 10-year period of silence. Accept the long, slow path to greatness and concentrate on getting your reps in.
  • Second, you are not required to be flawless. If you make any mistake once or twice, it has no lasting effects on your behavior. Allow yourself to make mistakes and devise methods for quickly getting back on track.
  • Third, following longer timelines will assist us in realizing that habit formation is a phase rather than an occurrence. With all of the “21 Days” hype, it’s tempting to think, “Oh, I’ll just do this, and it’ll be finished.” But routines aren’t like that. You must accept the procedure. You must make a commitment to the scheme.

Understanding this from the start makes it easier to control your goals and commit to making gradual, incremental changes rather than feeling pressured to do everything at once.


How long it takes to develop a habit isn’t all that important. You must put in the effort regardless of whether it takes 50 days or 500 days. Starting with Day 1 is the only way to get to Day 500. So forget about the number and concentrate on the task at hand.


Each step of the habit loop is critical for developing new habits, but today I’d like to focus on the first factor: habit cues (or triggers).

A new habit can be caused in one of five different ways. If you understand each one, you’ll be able to choose the best one for the habit you’re working on. Below is the list of each habit cue.


For habits to be successful.  Meaning for them to stick and become a ongoing habit in your life, James Clear teaches in his system, that you need:

  1. The  cue – To let you know when to start your habit
  2. The craving – The desire to do the habit for its long term benefits
  3. The Response – What action you take
  4. The Reward – The more rewarding your habit is good or bad, the more likely you are to maintain it.


The cue is probably one of the most important to get right and the easiest to hold yourself to.  It is a trigger of when you do one thing, you do your habit.

Productivity example.

When you put your feet on the ground after your alarm goes off, you say your mantra ‘Today is going to be a great day!’ to release serotonin into your brain.  When you have said your mantra walk to your computer and review your One Thing List.  When you have reviewed your ‘One Thing’ for the day, work on it for the allotted time.

Health example:

When I walk in the door after work, I put on my running shoes and take the dog for a walk. On Sunday after I have done the grocery shopping, I prepare myself 5 snack boxes of raw vegetables, that I can take out of the fridge and put in my bag as I set off for work.

Financial example:

When I pay the weekly bills, I transfer $20, $50 or $100 into my investment account;

Making it easy.

With all of the examples above, you can make your action easier to ensure you do it. You can have your laptop on your nightstand so that you don’t have to get out of bed to take action. You can have your shoes and dog lead at the front door waiting for you, you can chop the vegetables at the same time as you are preparing Sunday dinner and you can setup an automatic bank transfer.


The most popular way to start a new habit is to use time. Morning routines are just one example. You usually go to the bathroom, shower, brush your teeth, get dressed, make a cup of coffee, and so on when you wake up in the morning.

There are also less well-known ways that time influences our attitudes. If you pay attention, you might find that you mindlessly repeat such activities at various times during the day, such as going out for a snack at the same time every afternoon, taking a smoking break every morning, and so on.

If these behaviours become habitual, you should consider how you feel at this time of day. Your routines are always a reflection of how you feel. Are you bored? Perhaps your afternoon snacking is a way to break up the monotony of your day. Are you lonely? Perhaps your smoking break is an opportunity to socialize with coworkers. The argument is that if you understand why these patterns appear at the same time every day, finding a new habit to fill the gap becomes much easier. Bad behaviours are substituted rather than eradicated.


You know how important location can be if you’ve ever walked into your kitchen and seen a plate of food on the counter and eaten it simply because they were there in front of you.

Place (i.e., environment) is, in my view, the most strong and underappreciated driver of mindless behaviors. Our habits and actions are frequently a reaction to the world in which we live. The well-known research on water vs. soft drink consumption is an example of how our surroundings can either encourage or discourage healthy habits.

On the other hand, location-based cues aren’t just things we respond to; they can also be things we make. According to several research studies conducted by Duke University’s David Neal and Wendy Wood, new behaviors are actually easier to perform in new places.

One theory proposes that we mentally associate behaviors with a specific venue. This means that all of the places you’re familiar with (your home, workplace, etc.) have already been allocated attitudes, habits, and routines. You must conquer the signals that your brain has already given to that region if you want to form new habits in these familiar locations. Meanwhile, starting a new habit in a new place is like starting over. There are no pre-existing causes to resolve.


Many habits develop as a result of something that happens in your life. When your phone rings, you pick it up to see if you have any new text messages. On Facebook, a small notification bar appears, and you press it to see what it means. This is an example of a habit that is caused by a previous occurrence.

When it comes to cues that can help you form new habits, I find that preceding events are one of the most effective. If you’ve understood the idea of habit stacking, you can develop a variety of ways to connect new habits to previous events.

James Clear in his book refers to this as habit stacking.

Example.  When I was scaling up my course design work and working a full time job and coaching on the side, I found it necessary to make sure my productivity habit was the most important of the day.  

To achieve the course completion date, I made my production habit the most important item of the day and because of all my other commitments including family, sports, work, and coaching, I had to find a time that didn’t conflict with the work that I needed to do.  The only time that I had the mental space and lack of conflict every day was 4:50am in the morning.  This was an hour and 10 minutes before my wife expected an espresso coffee in bed.

My habit stacked on top of waking up, which I had to do every day. I was specific and low impact and when I completed it, there was a reward and it works like this:

  1.  When my alarm goes off at 4:50am, I put my feet on the floor and say my morning mantra.
  2. When I have said my morning mantra, I walk to the desk on the way the bathroom and wake my MacBook.
  3. When I return from the bathroom, I login and open up my Worklife Compass and review the week.
  4. When I see what I have set for this week, I start work on it
  5. When I have done an hours work, I can have a fresh espresso coffee as my reward.



Here are my thoughts on creating habits that stick and help you grow your business and life.

  1. Read a book on the theory behind creating good habits.
  2. Use a system that makes sense for you
  3. Don’t try and be clever, start one new habit at a time
  4. Sometimes there is a core habit that other habits will work well with
  5. Make the habit easy and rewarding to do. 
  6. Make it rewarding, pay yourself or give yourself a bonus.

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