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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

How to Make Excellence a Habit

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence but rather have those because we acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~Will Durant

Excellence is defined as the quality of being outstanding or extremely good. What is it that you are excellent at? What is it that you want to become excellent at? Can you be excellent at everything? We only become better by repetition…forming habits.

Unfortunately, developing a bad habit is easy. Having cookies and milk before you go to bed a couple of nights in a row leads to a bad bedtime habit before you know it. Good habits are much harder to form, but they are worth it since once it is created it is hard to alter.  Creating excellence as a habit in your professional development will help to drive your career forward and generate countless opportunities.

Excellence can become a habit by doing your very best in everything, even the little things. Every. Single. Time.

Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, published a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology on how long it takes to form a habit. It is repeatedly said, according to research by Maxwell Maltz, that it takes 21 days to change or form a new habit. Lally’s 2009 study found that on average it takes 66 days for a habit to become ingrained. The harder work the habit was, the longer it takes. Some habits took up to 254 days for it to become second nature. A drinking more water daily habit is much easier to form than a physical activity habit.

How you do anything is how you do everything. Excellence can become a habit by doing your very best in everything, even the little things. Every. Single. Time. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.” ― Booker T. Washington

Here are 4 things to consider when trying to form a new habit:

Don’t get discouraged.A habit, especially a difficult one, is going to take at least 3 months to create – not 3 weeks.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”—Confucius

Focus on the little things.  Smile, be kind, say hello, look people in the eye, go to bed on time, and eat healthy. Start your day with excellence.

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” – John Wooden

Have a good attitude.Negative attitudes expect the worst. Positive attitudes carry you to the results you are striving for.

“If your attitude toward the world is good, you will obtain good results. If your attitude is excellent, excellent will your results.” – Earl Nightingale

Excellence builds confidence.  Confidence helps us to approach difficult tasks with the knowledge that we can overcome.

“What could we accomplish if we knew we could not fail?” – Eleanor Roosevelt

For more professional development insights, sign up for the Monday Morning Coaching Memo.

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