Maureen Tatum | Scottsdale Real Estate, Phoenix Real Estate, Cave Creek Real Estate


If you've ever read a self-improvement book or attended a motivational seminar, you probably felt charged up for about a week or so, but then slipped back into old, self-defeating habits.

Why does that happen? Is it because we're all born a certain way and have no control over the cards we're dealt? While it may sometimes appear that destiny plays a role in the direction of our lives, habits are often the underlying cause of both problems and accomplishments.

Zig Ziglar, a well-known sales trainer and personal development author summed it up perfectly: “People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing – that's why we recommend it daily.”

Here are a few ways that good habits can improve everything from family relationships and health to time management and stress reduction.
  1. Either before you go to bed or the first thing the next morning, write down your objectives for the day. When you commit something to writing and have a visual reminder of what you need to accomplish, there's a much stronger chance it will get done. Whether you prefer to use your iPhone or just old-fashioned written lists, everyone needs some kind of daily system for staying organized and remembering tasks and priorities. As Benjamin Franklin said more than 200 years ago, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
  2. Your attitudes and expectations often become self-fulfilling prophesies. It's easy to fall into the trap of complaining about things like how messy the house always looks or what a daily struggle it is to get the kids to do their homework. If you find yourself going down this negative path, keep in mind a quote from Oprah Winfrey: "What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it." The opposite is also true, so it pays to choose your thoughts and words carefully.
  3. Establishing good, consistent habits in children makes life easier, more productive, and less stressful for the entire family. That can include everything from doing homework and chores to personal hygiene and keeping their bedrooms looking civilized.
  4. Learning to be patient with yourself, your spouse, and your children is easier for some people than others, but when you think of yourself as a "work in progress," you'll have more of a tendency to keep trying and not get discouraged.
Many books, websites, and seminars are based on the premise of improving the conditions of your life by improving the quality of your habits and thoughts. A good starting point for many people is to do a self assessment, write down a list of achievable goals, and then come up with a realistic action plan.