Use the New Year to Leverage Change in Your Life

People today think of Benjamin Franklin as the person on the US fifty-dollar bill. Few perhaps realize that this founding father of the country was also one of the most successful and renowned people of his day. Franklin was an author, printer, politician, scientist, inventor, statesman, and diplomat. He was the British postmaster of the American colonies, establishing what became the first communication system in the country. He served as governor of Pennsylvania, and is the only person to sign the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, and the Constitution of the United States. Also, he invented bifocals, established the first fire department in Philadelphia, and founded a university.

What made Franklin so prolific and successful? He was blessed with an amazing intellect, but that alone doesn’t explain Franklin’s incredible achievements. He had a tremendously positive outlook on life, and that showed up in his daily habits. Franklin observed a routine that included rising at 5:00 a.m. for a three-hour morning routine that included personal grooming, prayer, breakfast, study, and planning the day. He worked from 8:00 a.m. to noon, then took two hours to eat lunch and either read or reviewed his accounts. He worked again from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m., then spent the evening doing chores, having dinner, and engaging in conversation or other diversions. He was in bed promptly at 10:00 p.m. Each morning Franklin began the day by asking himself, “What good shall I do this day?” and each evening he ended the day asking, “What good have I done today?”

Your daily habits have incredible power to shape your life. The things you do everyday—well, they become the things you spend your life doing. If you have a positive outlook on life and a positive attitude toward yourself and others, you will develop strong, constructive habits that will virtually ensure your future success and happiness. The things you do day in and day out will become the building blocks of your life.

So here is my question for you as we stand on the cusp of a brand new year. What one positive habit will you develop to better your life in the year ahead? Need some ideas? Try developing one of these for six weeks to make it a permanent part of your life.

  • Going to bed and rising at a consistent time each day.
  • Exercising four or more times per week.
  • Reading for 30 minutes each day.
  • Planning your daily activities the evening before.
  • Being punctual (that is, arriving a few minutes early for each appointment).
  • Being polite (saying please, thank you, , even in e-communications).
  • Spending 15 minutes each day in prayer or spiritual reflection.

What habit will you develop in the New Year? I’d love to hear your answer on Facebook or Twitter!


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