The Point of Order

Next to losing weight and exercising, the area of life where people seem to need the most help in developing better habits is in the area of organization. People know they are disorganized; they just don’t know what to do about it.

On any given day, a person will spend way too much time fixing the messes that his disorganization has caused and too little time doing the planning and organizing that could prevent these messes from happening. But since we were children, all of us have been conditioned to do things the same way other people do them, so we don’t have a good point of reference for creating more order in our lives.

This is why I suggest that people start small and try to bring order to just one tiny aspect of their lives. After that, they can do more to organize their lives and they can do it with the added inspiration that comes from seeing the results of their first efforts at organization. Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.

Several women in my family have told me that they can’t decide what to wear in the mornings when they are getting ready for work. So they procrastinate and lose a lot of time by having no order to their mornings or their closets. But imagine what would happen if one of these women were to start hanging up her clothes immediately after getting home from work and start ironing the clothes that needed to be ironed so those clothes would be ready to wear the next time she wanted to wear them.

One tiny change can alter the whole landscape of your life. So perhaps you need some better habits of organization. And perhaps you need a little help from Make That, Break That so you can learn how to create new habits.


Embrace Vitality

In Make That, Break That, I explain the science behind habit formation and the tactics a person can employ to form good habits in his life. I then propose a 13-week plan for creating a new habit in one’s life. But after I offer this information—information that has worked for me in my own life—I share with the reader a long list of suggested habits that a person may want to adopt as he works to create a new habit every three months (four new habits per year). And believe it or not, the first suggestion that I make is for a person to consider nurturing one or more habits of rest.

I am a big proponent of rest. Don’t misunderstand me. I am a big proponent of hard work, too. But I find that most hard-working people have more trouble resting than working. And rest is vital for one’s health and happiness. It is vital for one’s relationships, too.

For this reason, I encourage everyone who reads my newest book to take a critical look at his (or her) life and evaluate the quality of the rest that he gets. Some people don’t sleep enough. Some people never allow their brains to shut down. Some people claim to love their wives and husbands, their children and friends, but they never spend any time with these people. They never curl up with the person they love to watch an old movie and eat popcorn. They never just sit around, looking at old photos and laughing with other people over old memories they share together. They never take a slow walk on the beach just to think or to remind themselves of the sheer grandeur of nature.

Learn to rest by developing habits of rest. God made you to rest and to replenish your energy for the battle ahead.


The Power of Programming

New habits are not the product of self-discipline or self-control. Determination and willpower do play a role in the initial stages of habit formation, but we humans are not built to operate under self-imposed duress for long periods of time. Eventually our bodies and brains will rebel against our efforts to force ourselves to do things we really don’t want to do.

This is why it is important for a person to use the short-term power of self-discipline to train his body and brain to perform a new behavior. Then, by the time his willpower expires, the new behavior will be permanently programmed into the subconscious parts of his brain. The behavior will become a fixed and automatic activity that is performed without thought or intent every time the circumstances demand it.

So to create a new habit, you must intentionally interrupt your old patterns of behavior and purposely inject a new behavior into your regimen of “automatic” activities. And to do this, you must tie your new behavior to something that is already automatic in your life. If you do, your brain will “absorb” the new behavior and prompt you to perform it regularly and without thought. But if you don’t tie your new behavior to habits you already possess, your brain won’t prompt you to perform the behavior routinely. Instead, you will have to discipline yourself to perform the behavior, and that approach won’t last very long.

In Make That, Break That, therefore, I teach the reader how to do this. And surprisingly, it isn’t that difficult. With a little bit of thought, a little bit of creativity, and a little bit of planning, you can develop a new habit of success every three months that can set you apart from the ordinary performers around you and set you on a path to achievement and personal fulfillment.


Make It Automatic

In Make That, Break That, I go into great detail to explain the components of human behavior that cause us to form our habits. I want the reader to understand the unseen dynamics of habit formation so he (or she) can purposely “hijack” these dynamics to form the good habits that he wants. To develop good habits, we must learn to use the same processes that our bodies and brains use every day. We must learn to use the tools that God gave us.

So in my book I teach the various steps that a person needs to follow in order to learn a new behavior over a 13-week period. And though I cannot go into detail in this limited space, I do want prospective readers of the book to know that the first step in habit formation is to strip down the new behavior to its most basic component.

For instance, if you want to develop a new habit in your life, your first goal is not to learn how to perform that behavior; your first goal is to simply learn to remember to perform that behavior. For that reason, you would want to start a new habit of exercising every morning by simply getting up and putting on your running shoes. That’s it! At first, you don’t want to do anything more than that. You want to teach your brain to remember the new behavior. You can expand the behavior after your brain gets “addicted” to the activity.

In my detailed explanations, I go through the whole process of how to make your desired behaviors permanent, automatic, and repetitive without forcing yourself to do things against your will every day. But I need you to know that habits are built slowly, and there’s a science behind the process. Make use of the science, and you will see results.


Let's Be Honest

One of the first things a person needs to do in the quest to create new habits is to take note of the habits that already control his life. In Make That, Break That, I give a simple step-by-step plan to help people create better habits for themselves. And one of the things I do in this process is to ask the reader to make a list of the new habits he or she would like to develop over the upcoming year.

But before I ask the reader to make this list of new and helpful habits, I recommend that he (or she) compile a list of the bad habits that currently plague his life. Some of us tend to procrastinate. Others among us pay our bills late every month. Still others talk over people, become visibly impatient with people, or habitually run late for meetings or forget a person’s name minutes after meeting that individual.

Before you can make a realistic list of the new behaviors you need to hone in your life, you should take an honest appraisal of where your life stands right now. You need to know about the subconscious things that you do every day through the habitual behaviors that you have exhibited for longer than you can remember.

Unfortunately, because these detrimental behaviors are activated on a subconscious level and performed on a subconscious level, we often don’t even know that they exist. We can’t see our own bad habits. But this is where friends and family members can be very helpful.

I don’t believe in dwelling on the negative things in life, but I do believe in being honest and facing the truth. Living in denial is never a viable solution to any problem. So if you have bad habits, try to understand what they are and what drives them. Genuine change always begins with honesty.



I am a firm believer that the biggest problem in the Western world today is a lack of individual purpose. Without purpose, people wander aimlessly through life, wasting their time and resources. They waste their talents, they waste their opportunities, and they allow the shifting winds of popular opinion to direct them down paths in life that have nothing to do with their God-given destiny.

A vision for one’s life is the greatest thing a person can possess. With a purpose and driving motivation, a person can do just about anything his heart desires. Without a defined purpose, a person is bound to fall into all the deadly pits that lie along life’s way. People without a vision are more susceptible to addiction. People without a vision are more susceptible to instability. And people with no vision for their lives are more susceptible to all the bad habits that affect the health and relationships, the earning power and productivity of men and women everywhere who wonder why they were even born.

But when a person has a firm grasp on the reason for which he was created, that person will naturally develop the habits that he needs to fulfill his purpose in life. He (or she) will eat the right kinds of food, save the right amount of money, sleep the appropriate number of hours each night, and associate with the right kind of people to do the things that motivate him. He also will avoid those temptations that are designed to lure him away from his chosen path and to entrap him in a lifestyle that is destructive and unfulfilling.

So search your heart and know why you exist. The habits you form today will be determined by the path you choose in life, and the path you walk in life will be determined by the habits you form today.


A Strange Convergence

Dreams are a lot like seeds. A seed has to be planted and watered, and it has to have sunlight in order to thrive. But with time and care, a seed will eventually break through the soil into the light of day. And a seed will become a stalk or a shrub or a tree or a vine. Dreams have many of these same qualities.

A dream is a long-term goal for one’s life. And while some dreams pertain to relationships, other dreams pertain to one’s career. And while some dreams pertain to financial promotion, other dreams pertain to athletic or musical achievement. In fact, if you think about it, real life—the kind of life that is fulfilling in every way—is nothing more than the steady pursuit of those dreams that truly matter.

But dreams aren’t achieved just because we want them, and they aren’t achieved with the passage of time alone. We have no “right” to our dreams. Dreams are achieved through a strange convergence of the things we can control and the things we can’t. But all of us know that dreams are more likely to come true if we “work” those dreams the way a farmer works the soil. And if we do the work that our dreams require, they are more likely to actually happen.

This is why good habits are so important on the journey to success. It’s the little things we do every day that eventually determine whether our dreams break through the soil or whether they die in the cold, damp ground. An athlete who wants to compete in the Olympics, for instance, will watch what he eats, and a woman who wants to build her own business will rise early and stay late at the office.

So look to build those habits that will build your life. Success won’t happen by accident.

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