Turning Points

by Michael Simmons on Feb 6, 2013

The most challenging parts of personal growth happens in moments where we consciously break limiting habits. The longer a habit stays, the more it feels like we can’t live life without it and the more it becomes rationalized, which makes us feel trapped.

Over the last few months I changed a number of behaviors that were limiting me. I stopped watching an hour or more of TV a day, and I started going to bed early so I could get 8+ hours of sleep per night.

I had lots of justifications for why each of these were ok. Now, that I’m not watching TV, I’ve been able to read a book a week. Because I sleep more, I wake up everyday having a ton more energy.

What worked for me was using the principles from THE POWER OF HABIT. From reading this book, I identified the queues and the rewards for each habit. I didn’t try to change the queue or reward, I only changed the habit.

For example, for TV, what queued me was the children going to bed and me feeling wiped out at the end of a long day. The reward was relaxation. So, I found activities that are really helped me relax and didn’t use any will-power. For me, that meant and still means journaling online and spending a lot of time searching for books that are page turners, and that I look forward to reading. If I start a book, and I find that it’s taking will-power, then I immediately stop reading it. Also, taking a nap during the day has given me more energy to be productive when the children fall asleep so I have a little more will-power.

The impact that has happened from reading 15+ amazing books and sharing on facebook over the past months are profound and hard to measure. I quiver at the thought of how much time I wasted watching TV and depriving myself of sleep.

Small hinges open big doors.


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I'm the co-founder of Empact, one of the leading entrepreneurship education organizations in the world. I'm obsessed with understanding how we all can lead meaningful lives that have a positive social impact. I love probing into the truth of how we experience life. I believe that challenges are what make us grow the most, and I openly share my experiences. Continue reading…