Have you ever noticed that everything worthwhile in life is uphill? A great marriage, building a successful business, advancing your career, being a great parent, living a healthy life style, and making wise financial choices for the future are all difficult. They take work. They take intentionality. The challenge is that our habits often don’t support our hopes. As John Maxwell says, “People have uphill hopes and downhill habits.”
In my own life, I’ve realized that many of the habits and patterns I have don’t support my dreams and hopes for the future. For example, after several years of being very physically active that culminated in my dream of completing an Ironman, I put on 20 lbs of weight in a year. One of my life goals is to remain physically fit so it doesn’t impact life with my wife and children. I don’t want my health to be a barrier. Over that year I adopted some downhill habits that needed to change. I’ve discovered three steps to break a downhill habit and get intentional with my life.
When you want to break a downhill habit to achieve your uphill hopes, you need an IRA (not the financial product): Identify, Replace, and Account.
- Identify – To break any downhill habit you must first identify that unhealthy habit. What in your life is keeping you from making the progress you desire? What choices, practices, routines, or influences are keeping you from your dreams? It’s much like the first step for an alcoholic in a recovery program: they must realize they’re an alcoholic.
- Replace – Now that you’ve identified the downhill habit, what should it be replaced with? For some habits, this is obvious, for others is may be more difficult. If you’re having a hard time in coming up with solutions and ideas I’d encourage you to bring others into the process. Ask for their inputs and ideas. For me, to lose the weight I put on I needed to replace a bad habit I’d gotten into of staying up late which kept me from getting up early. As I returned to going to bed earlier, it has allowed me to get up early which is the best time of the day for me to workout.
- Account – You are not meant to pursue your dreams alone. We all need others around us. Invite at least one other person into this process. Tell them about your uphill hope and how you’re being intentional about replacing a downhill habit. Ask them to hold you accountable. Give them permission to check in on you. Life is better together.
Don’t allow your downhill habits keep you from achieving your hopes and dreams for the future. Get intentional. You were created to change the world. Go do it!
Question: What have you found helpful in changing a downhill habit in your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.