Home > Success Principles > Poor Habits & Destructive Disciplines (Number 8 in a 10-Part Series)

Poor Habits & Destructive Disciplines (Number 8 in a 10-Part Series)

habitsThe eighth reason good people don’t always win is that they have destructive disciplines and unsupportive habits. Instead of their habits helping them, their habits make progress more difficult and, in some cases, sabotage their success altogether.

But as I’ve often said, if you develop the habits of success, you will make success a habit.

In this chapter of this series we’ll examine our habits—both helpful and not. Because I want you to get just how powerful and important good habits and proper discipline is when it comes to winning.

We’ll also examine some of the challenges to changing our habits and discover ways to replace those that don’t serve us.

And finally, we’ll encourage you to commit or re-commit to acquiring the habits needed to win and replacing those habits that keep us from living our best life.

But first some basic premises . . .

  • A Habit is a wonderful servant but a terrible master
  • Bad habits are easy to form but hard to live with.
  • Good habits are hard to form but easy to live with.
  • When you sow and act, you reap a habit. When you sow a habit, you reap a character.
  • And when you sow a character, you reap a destiny.
  • We need to work as hard on ourselves as we do at our job or on our goals.
  • We first make our habits; then our habits make us.
  • If you don’t conquer your bad habits, they’ll eventually conquer you.
  • Habits are at first cobwebs . . . then steel cables.
  • How you do anything is pretty much how you do everything.
  • Easier to replace a habit than eliminate one.
  • We have habits because they served us.
  • Everything matters.
  • What’s easy to do is also easy NOT to do.

“The beginning of a habit is like an invisible thread, but every time we repeat the act we strengthen the strand, add to it another filament, until it becomes a great cable and binds us irrevocably thought and act.”

—Orison Swett Marden


Here are some of the obstacles we must overcome in directing and changing our habits:

  • Change is usually hard
  • Ingrained brain patterns
  • Taking on too many at a time
  • Not realizing how powerful they are
  • Not having big enough reasons
  • Other people
  • Environment

Strategies for successfully changing habits and developing good disciplines:

  • Choose carefully
  • Don’t take on too many at a time
  • Be precise
  • Enhance your reasons for change
    • Exacerbate the pain ~ the cost of NOT changing
    • Pile on the benefits ~ elevate the payoffs
  • Make sure it’s worth it
  • Track your progress, be accountable
  • Celebrate your successes

One of the ways to explore habits you wish to change or install is to go through a More/Less, Start/Stop exercise. Simply answer these questions with as many things as you can think of:

  • What do you want to do more of?
  • What do you want to do less of?
  • What do you want to start doing?
  • What do you want to stop doing?

Something else you can do is to look at your top 3 goals and ask what habits and disciplines does their accomplishment require. Ask yourself what kind of a person do you need to become in order to achieve your most important goals? Because who you become is almost always more important than what you achieve.

Winning Habits
Here are a few of the winning habits of people who consistently win:

  • Urgency – Do It Now
  • Deciding quickly, and changing decisions slowly (if at all)
  • Good planning
  • Speaking positively, no complaining
  • Telling the truth, operating with integrity
  • Order

Habit Ideas
Here are some ideas for habits YOU might like to acquire, change or improve upon:

  • Daily vitamins
  • Up early
  • Be on time
  • Smile
  • Bragging/boasting
  • Plan your week on Sunday
  • Worry
  • Filing taxes on time, every time
  • Accounting up to date
  • Say affirmations daily
  • Prayer/meditation
  • Saving at least 10% of income
  • Practicing daily gratefuls
  • Wear seatbelt ALL the time

I’ve always appreciated this poem, although I have never been able to source the author. Do you know?


I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me,
And I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done,
And after a few lessons I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great men
And, alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine
Plus the intelligence of a man.
You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin;
It makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me
And I will put the world at your feet.
Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I?

Aristotle wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

If you want to consistently win, achieve your most important goals and live your best life, you must cultivate the habits that work and shun those that don’t. Make your habits serve you and never be a servant of them.


  • The Best Life Navigator™ launches soon. It allows you to keep your personal and professional growth front and center. It has the tools you need for your success—all in one place.
    • The CANI (Constant And Never-ending Improvement) section deals with habits in general, Top Daily Habits, and has the Start/Stop, More/Less exercise.
  • Stay close to SuccessNet. We’ve been helping people and companies grow and prosper for nearly 20 years. Because if you consistently work on improving yourself, you will become someone who attracts success in all areas.
  • Phil Humbert’s eBook www.BetterHabits4aBetterLife.com

Take Action

  1. Decide on 3 habits to acquire or replace
  2. Make a action plan for accomplishment
  3. Start today

Please Tell Us What You Think
I’ve published this article and the previous one here on my Blog. Please add your comments, questions and suggestions at the bottom of the post. Your feedback and engagement is important. If you disagree with anything, say so. If you have questions, ask. If you have additional insights or resources, please share. I promise to read every one. Thank you.

By the way, you’ll gain even greater value from this series if you have a copy of my book, The Achievement Code: The 3C Formula for Getting What You Truly Want (available in print or Kindle). Details at www.TheAchievementCode.com

Previous installments of this series are located here on my Blog.

  1. Insufficient Desire
  2. Lack of—or Erroneous—Beliefs
  3. Confusion, Lack of Clarity
  4. Lack of Focus and Concentration
  5. Inadequate Support
  6. Fear
  7. Poor Tracking


  1. Sylvia Herrera
    December 15th, 2014 at 18:01 | #1

    Thank you for sharing this information it is very insightful and change provoking.

  2. December 22nd, 2014 at 05:49 | #2

    Good one