Personal branding — 11 July 2012
Achieve your goals without fail by following one habit

My doctor just told me to lose 20 kgs. 20 kilograms!!! Do you know what I did? I immediately changed doctors. No, seriously, I bought a book by fitness guru Michelle Bridges. And almost immediately read a massive truth. Life changing. Here it is.

Burberry Australia MD Johnny Mutton told me this story. Australian cricket legend Steve Waugh was having his first ‘net’ practice session as a teenager with the Australian squad. Coach Bobby Simpson watched Waugh smashing the ball at every opportunity with youthful aggression.

“You’ll never make it as a top level Test batsmen playing like that,” he counseled a shocked Waugh. “But I wouldn’t bat like that during a real game,” replied Waugh. Simpson’s reply changed Waugh’s destiny. This is what he said:

“You do what you practice.”

In other words, if Waugh’s habit was to smash the ball during practice, that’s what he’d do in a game. And he would fail.

Mike Arthur puts it this way: “Unless you practice the skill you want to exhibit, you will never achieve the heights that you dream of.”

So, what does that story, about ‘you do what you practice’ have to do with Michelle Bridges and her ‘massive truth’ advice, and my 20 kg challenge?

Simply this. One of her first pieces of advice is:

“Break old habit with new habits.”

If you want to drive change for yourself, think hard about your habits, identify the ‘bad’ ones, and change them.

Waugh immediately changed his habit of playing recklessly in net practice, and formed a new habit of batting at every session ‘like in a Test Match’. (I showed my son the statue of Steve Waugh outside the Sydney Cricket Ground the other day. Point made.)

So I thought about Michelle’s advice. What are my habits that affect my diet and health? Duuurrr. How about this one: I smoke cigars when I drink, and I drink when I smoke cigars. And when I drink and smoke, I eat really, really badly. Maybe there is a lesson in that?

Catherine Armitage in the Sydney Morning Herald: “Habits are the brain’s way of taking a rest. They save us from having to make decisions about every little thing.”

A challenge for you (and me)

1. For the next week, pay attention to what you do and how you operate. What are your regular ‘habits’?
2. Make an appointment with yourself for half an hour
3. Use that half an hour to quietly list the habits you have that you’d like to change
4. And make a long list of new habits you’d like to form
5. Identify your top five ‘Habits To Stop’ and ‘Habits to Start’
6. Type it up and have the page laminated
7. Stick it up in your shower
8. Read it every morning, and take action every day

I really hope some of you do this, and it makes a difference. Good luck with your effort. And wish me luck with mine.


I watched the Dr. Seuss movie, “The Lorax”, recently. The Lorax is the ‘protector of the trees’. He asks his adversary: “Which way do trees lean?” “I don’t know,” was the reply. “They lean the way they fall. Watch out which way you lean.” Let’s help each other make sure we have habits that ‘lean’ us in the right direction. Bloody hard to do — for me anyway.


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(6) Readers Comments

  1. Hi Chris.

    Another fantastic post. One thing I use to help “Break old habit with new habits” is a nifty little notepad I picked up with Kikki.K –

    I keep this on my desk and refer to it each morning.

    Keep up the great work!

    Kind regards,


  2. I agree! What a great post!

  3. Great lesson on how habits affect goal achieving.

    For setting and getting goals, you may want to check out a goal setting app called, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals and todo lists, and supports time tracking too. It’s clear, focused, easy to navigate.

  4. Agree about changing habits. The problems is how to change habits. Habits usually come with one person’s believes. In reality, so many things are deciding what we should eat. We never ask our tummy. We follow these rules to eat, for example:

    fridge is full, don’t waste the food and finish them before we shopping again
    people said seafood are healthy, lets eat seafood
    people said fruit are healthy, lets eat more fruit.
    I am not hungry, but it’s time for meal, so lets eat.
    it’s going to be a big day, let’s eat lot to keep energy.
    wasting food is guilty, so eat them all even you are full.

    after all, our tummy has been trained to accept the concept of those believes, like smoke addiction, our tummy then start to want junks.

  5. Great post! Indeed bad habits do not go away by themselves. Rather we need to replace them. It’s wonderful that you even indicated the next actions to take to achieve our goals. I also hope you can lose the 20 Kg! :)

  6. Pingback: 10 ways you can avoid corporate mediocrity, Business

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