[B]elow is an excerpt from my book, No More Big Buts. This chapter gives you a glimpse about how habits contribute to helping you design a lifestyle you absolutely love.

Step 6: Create Winning Habits

It has been said that most people are only one or two habit changes away from getting what they want in life.

Waiting in the wings for you is an exciting way of living if you embrace your personal power and develop new, supportive habits.

Your future is created daily by the habits you practice.

Everything you are now or ever will be in the future is because of the habits you have cultivated. Your life, up until now, has been a culmination of all the choices and actions you have made and developed during your lifetime.

You either upgrade or downgrade your lifestyle based on the habits in which you engage.

Most of what you achieve in life will be determined by how you do everything. Virtually everything you do is a habit of one kind or another, which is simply an automatic response to stimulus.

Habits cause you to react unconsciously in almost every situation

Once formed, they take on a life of their own because they are deeply rooted and become a part of who you are. Similar to your belief system, several of your habits originated throughout your childhood.

They have enormous power to shape your destiny, based on the simple fact that they become automatic and ultimately control what you do and, consequently, what you achieve.

When you perform something so often, you’re programmed to do it automatically. It requires little effort on your part. Have you ever meant to do something and your routine took over?

It has happened to me several times.

I’ve been driving my car and decided I want to divert from my original destination.

This meant I would have to get off the highway at a different exit. Because my routine is automatic, I forgot to get off the exit that I planned to use.

“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.” – CHARLES C. NOBLE

Furthermore, have you ever gotten someplace and not realized that you were driving there because you were lost in thought?

These are examples of how ingrained our routines can become. You operate on autopilot with the ordinary, mundane, non-sexy and boring functions you perform on a daily basis.

Most, but not all bad habits, are unhealthy for us. Habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, not exercising and eating foods laden with fat contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Other habits, such as low self-esteem, self-doubt, and self-loathing are bad habits that affect your emotional health.

Sadly, unwanted habits are so difficult to change that most people resign themselves to living with them. I have bitten my nails virtually all my life. The exception was when I grew them out for our wedding day.

I would make headway; but, weeks later, I would revert back to my bad habit and would nibble like a mouse.

As a result, my husband Samuel would call me Nibbles in an attempt to discourage me from the constant nail biting.

The key to realize about bad habits is that we usually gain some type of pleasure from participating or executing an activity. For instance, I gained pleasure by biting my nails.

It was a coping mechanism to relieve boredom, deal with an anxious situation or to ease stress.

There is always a payoff for the habits in which you engage.

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