Photo by Albert S on Unsplash


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. – Aristotle

The following post was inspired by a talk given by leadership author (PAILS., RASCAL) and co-author (LAUNCHING A LEADERSHIP REVOLUTION)  and speaker, Chris Brady. I love his analogy of the water pump. Chris Brady is also an enginerr, so this makes sense.

 Life Is a Layer Cake

Everything we do adds to everything we have already done in our life. Like adding layers to a layer cake, we accumulate the moments that have come before, to give us the present that we are living right now. Our moments of time compound themselves to give us the results we have in the different areas of our lives. We see this truth in our finances, in our professional lives, in our relationships, in our health and just about every area of our life.


Achieving good results requires building consistent momentum over time. If we keep up with the good habits consistently over time, we will begin to see our finances improve, our relationships improve, our health improve and our professional life improves. However, distractions or loss of focus can easily make us lose all that we have worked hard to build. Bad habits are not hard to do; they require no effort at all and they are so easy to slip into. And bad habits also deliver bad results.

So how do we get the momentum? Well, first we have to be thirsty for change in our lives. We can use a particular time or event to decide to make changes or we can gradually make changes day after day.  The key is wanting to change and staying on the path day in and day out.

Pump the Water

Like pumping water from a pump to eventually get water, we need to persevere even when we don’t see any results right away, even when it seems like nothing good is happening. At first, no water comes out of the pump, then, as we keep pumping a little water comes and then, finally, it comes gushing out. Don’t be discouraged when at first you don’t see results or when people around you don’t notice any difference. The results will come and they will come exponentially after a certain time.

Everyone can do simple things to make a difference, and every little bit really does count. – Stella Mccartney

Keep It Simple

There are simple things that we can do every day, which don’t take too much time. By doing these consistently, building up a habit, we can build a layer cake of moments that will produce amazing results. Try them – I mean really try them – every day for the long haul and you will see the difference they can make. Simple things done consistently over time will bring better results than doing bigger things inconsistently.

So, without further ado, here are the 12 habits (or the dirty dozen as Mr. Brady calls them):

(1) Watch What You Watch

Our eyes are the guardians of our mind as well as being the window to our soul. We see a lot of things and watch a lot of things, but we can choose what to feed our eyes and our mind. We can choose what media we look at and what books we read. Everything we take in is either working for us or against us.

We can also watch to see who we can serve and who needs help. We can watch to see where we can help.

(2) Wonder Like a child

Our mind is a creative playground that we can activate and enjoy. Why not become like a child again and wonder about all the possibilities, the what-ifs and the why not?  We can wonder and marvel at the world around us and take an interest in the tiny details. We can begin to wonder a few minutes each day.and start to feel more satisfied with what we have and appreciative of everything and everyone around us.

(3) Walk Anywhere, Everywhere

Let’s get outside and walk around. It doesn’t have to be a timed exercise with the goal of increasing our heart rate and building our aerobic capacity. I mean, just simply – walk for the fun of it, for the health of it. And, we actually don’t have to take our cellphone or media with us. We can just walk and think, wonder and dream. As an added bonus, walking gives us the opportunity to see interesting things around us and meet up with neighbors and people we may know and or that we don’t know yet. Walking outside connects us with the world.

(4) Work: It Pays

Work is a satisfying activity especially when we are in control of when we do it, why we do it and how we do it. Working gives us a reason to get up and a reason to rest after. Work helps us to activate our minds and hopefully our bodies as well. Working with others is beneficial (and challenging – but challenges can be beneficial).

(5) Water: The Elixir of Life

Drink water every day. Drink enough water every day. There are huge health, emotional and mental health benefits to drinking water.  Don’t neglect the water habit.

There are so many benefits from drinking water;

alleviates fatigue

promotes weight loss

improves skin color and texture

helps with brain function

eliminates waste and toxins

So grab a few glasses of water each day and drink up!

(6) Seek Wisdom

We are not always right and often we are wrong.  We can learn from others and from their experiences. Keeping an open mind and being willing to learn will help us to keep on track and not fall into the pitfalls of life that can be avoided. Wisdom goes hand in hand with listening – the more we listen, the more we learn.

(7) Just Love

Without love what is there?  Nothing good happens without love. The Greeks had three categories of love, one of which is agape or selfless other-centered love. When we love in terms of others and what we can do for them and sometimes at a cost to our own comfort or convenience, we will reap huge benefits.

(8) Listen: People Will Love You For It!

Everyone is looking for people to listen to them and to hear what they have to say. Everyone has a story. Why not cultivate the habit of listening to those around us? People are literally aching for people to hear their story, to listen to them. We are all wired to feel accepted, approved and appreciated, and having someone listen to us helps us to feel appreciated and important.

Let’s not listen just to formulate what we are going to say in response to someone else. Let’s listen with no agenda other than wishing to hear the other person.

(9) Read: It Works!

Reading just 30 minutes a day over time will produce amazing benefits. I hear you – “What? I don’t have 30 minutes a day to read!”  Well, quite honestly, I think we spend at least that amount of time on other activities like social media or television each day. And I would add that we really can not afford not to acquire this habit. Reading 30 minutes a day would mean that you could probably get through 2-3 books in a month and 24 to 36 books in a year!  That is amazing! Think of all you could learn in one year by cultivating a simple daily habit of reading.

(10) Rest and Relax

Naptime!! Just kidding! Who has time for a nap every day?  But we do need to rest and recuperate.  Don’t ignore this important benefit. It’s not about all work and no play. There has to be some balance. In fact, regular downtime will increase our productivity and help us maintain better mental, physical and emotional health.

(11) Thank Everyone

We have so much to be thankful for.  The very fact that we are breathing is enough to be thankful.  We actually have so much more than we think we have.  And being thankful, having an “attitude of gratitude”, to borrow a cliché, helps us to take our mind off our problems.

(12) Guard Your Associations

We need people and we need people who will help us grow (and challenge our mental and emotional capacities!).  Encouraging friends are so important to our well – being. Some might prefer to be a “hermit” and not be around people. I guess that’s ok too. But encouraging people do help us to have confidence and challenging people can help us build our skills.

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Diana Lynne loves to travel do self-improvement, living a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and her dog Skye. You can connect with her through