Habit 7: Wear Yourself Out Be so busy with life that you never take time to renew or improve yourself. Never study. Don't learn anything new. Avoid exercise like the plague. And, for heaven's sake, stay away from good books, nature, or anything else that may inspire you.
As you can see, the habits listed above are recipes for disaster. Yet many of us indulge in them...regularly (me included). And, given this, it's no wonder that life can really stink at times.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE HABITS?
Habits are things we do repeatedly. But most of the time we are hardly aware that we have them. They're on autopilot.
Some habits are good, such as:
Some are bad, like:
And some don't really matter, including:
Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do. As writer Samuel Smiles put it:
Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.
Luckily, you are stronger than your habits. Therefore, you can change them. For example, try folding your arms. Now try folding them in the opposite way. How does this feel? Pretty strange, doesn't it? But if you folded them in the opposite way for thirty days in a row, it wouldn't feel so strange. You wouldn't even have to think about it. You'd get in the habit.
At any time you can look yourself in the mirror and say, "Hey, I don't like that about myself," and you can exchange a bad habit for a better one. It's not always easy, but it's always possible.
Not every idea in this book will work for you. But you don't have to be perfect to see results, either. Just living some of the habits some of the time can help you experience changes in your life you never thought possible.
The 7 Habits can help you:
One final point. It's your book, so use it. Get out a pencil, pen, or highlighter and mark it up. Don't be afraid to underline, highlight, or circle your favorite ideas. Take notes in the margins. Scribble. Reread the stories that inspire you. Memorize the quotes that give you hope. Try doing the "baby steps" at the end of each chapter, which were designed to help you start living the habits immediately. You'll get a lot more out of the book if you do.
You may also want to call or visit some of the hotlines and Web sites I have listed at the back of the book for additional help or information.
If you're the kind of reader who likes to skip around looking for cartoons and other interesting tidbits, that's just fine. But at some point you ought to read the book from start to finish, because the 7 Habits are sequential. They all build on each other. Habit 1 comes before Habit 2 (and so on) for a reason.
Copyright © 1998 by Franklin Covey Co.
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