Success is a habit

Success is one of the things we like talking about most – what someone has done, achieved, seen, experienced, attained. All the awards and certificates that we treasure. We see it and we want it.


We see success as a position, a condition, a state. As such it is static, a moment in time. For example, if you become the best javelin thrower at the Olympics, the achievement is for that moment in time. Next year someone else might get it and even beat your results.

All too often, we think success is about the result.


“Action is the fundamental key to all success” – Pablo Picasso

In fact, I believe success is not a static thing, we are used to measure and understand it based on it’s last state, but the larger part of success is what happens before that final place.

Success, is the sequence of smaller events that lead to a result.

What must not be forgotten is that any achievement or success can be seen as a display of discipline and perseverance on the small, daily level. When we break it down to simple actions it becomes easier see how to reach success. Repeating those actions day after day, being harder in the beginning, until we slowly establish them as habits and fall into a rhythm that starts to work for us.

Anyone that has gone through the process, knows it. They can stand on the confidence of their experience and can simply repeat the process. Defining the goal, breaking it down into simple steps, zealously repeating those steps in the beginning until a habit is established and then protecting that habit, slight pushing the “wheel” so that it keeps “spinning” in the chosen direction.

Enjoying every step that leads to reaching the goal is much more valuable – it builds a character that is harder to loose than the “success” achieved in the end.


If you could win a gold medal at the Olympics by training for a month before that, the gold medal would have a completely different value compared to the consistent, regular training required for years before that. The gold medal in that sense is not a valuable thing in itself, the value is in what it represents – the hard work put, the character built during that process of persisting, enduring and continuing with determination even in the face of doubt, pain and difficulties.

The process is worth much more than the outcome.

Even if you don’t win the Olympics this year, the character you built is a solid foundation to that will allow you to compete next year. Not winning becomes just another step in the process. With determination and more hard work, you could win next year and for you that would be just part of what you do anyway – it will be your habit.


Building a habit is key to success. A habit is something wired in us, once we repeat an activity for more than 66 days in a row. It gets to the point where if you don’t do it, it is unnatural, you miss it, it is part of who you are. Success is not just about the end goal anymore, but because through the execution of that habit you express yourself.

Start with repetition, not goals

As the writer James Clear (who I really like) says it

Start with repetition, not goals

He writes two posts per week. He is where I found the inspiration to start writing my single post per week. But even before I found his writings, I have used this little principle in my life and through experience I have found it valid.

(There are mobile apps that help build habits – iOS Commit app.)

The process of success

Success is achievable by anyone. The process is in 3 steps. First, having and idea and committing to it as a goal – “I will do this”. I see it as around 10% of the overall effort.

Second is putting the hard work to get to the goal. Every day, even when you don’t feel like it, even more when you do, no matter the weather and the conditions, just keep going. This for me is around 80% of the work.

Third, is combining everything you have learned and worked for into one perfect moment to get the best out of yourself and to achieve what you set out to achieve. I would say that’s 10% of the effort.


You know how to do it, you have done it before. When you challenged yourself to stay up that night and finish a project, to get into that university, to walk those extra 5 km on a hike. You know the process.

We have a limited amount of time in each day, so instead of filling it with random activities, lets fill it with the things we consciously choose to do. Build the habits that in turn, over time will bring us the results that we desire. If we don’t something else will fill that time instead.

I committed to write a blog post a week, even if I don’t believe some of them are good, even if some of them I like, my commitment is to write every week. What is yours?

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5 thoughts on “Success is a habit

  1. A very inspiring post, Smilyane. I particularly like that it is not based on how ‘bad’ something is, it is very much focused on the negative. Of course, I can think of myself and how often I procrastinate, indeed, ‘filling the day with [whatever else]’.

    Your article made me think and made me remember something my mum always used to tell me: “The habit is your second nature”. How true!

    A fun note: Reading your article, I could only think of one activity I did in the last 66 days: drink coffee every single day 🙂 I can do better than that! 🙂

    • Hi Alex, I am really glad the article stirred you and made you re-consider. I write it as a self-note as well, to remind myself of the value of the habits I have started to develop and also on the importance of creating new ones that utilize the rest of my time for the achievement of what I want for me or for the people around me.

      Your mum is right – we do live based on habits or patterns in general that make up our days.

      What other activity are you planning to develop a habit for?

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