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Individuals that experience success, happiness, and fulfillment in their lives understand that it does not come free and easy, it takes sacrifice. What these people have discovered is that the result is more pleasurable than the effort. So they have learned to be faithful to the habits that they used in order to get their desired result.

A senior in college who is going to graduate with honors recognizes that the reason she is graduating with honors is because she has formed the habit of studying hard. For the past four years, she has taken time out of her day to study without disruption. She has formed that good habit. This student knows that when she studies, she gets the grades she wants.

The same goes for the star athlete. He performs well because he trains hard. He lifted weights at the gym, he studied film, and he ate right during the week. He knows that his good habits are rewarding because they give him the results he wants on the field.

In other words, good habits correlate with success. Be faithful to what is helpful – look at the systems, strategies, sacrifices, and habits that helped you achieve the results you wanted, and keep doing them.

Good habits and bad habits take time to form and are hard to break. Hard, but not impossible. Successful people have, quite simply, formed the habits of success. So, how can you break bad habits and replace them with good habits that will help you achieve your desired results?

Let’s say there is a young financial advisor with the bad habit of waking up at 9AM every morning. He knows that if he were to wake up at seven, get in a workout, have a good breakfast, and make the four phone calls he needs to make, it would revolutionize his life. If he could just do this for three months, or six months, or a whole year, it would change everything for the better. He would be much closer to achieving his goals as financial advisor. How can this young man make the commitment to wake up at seven every morning? How can he begin to form that good habit and why is he struggling to break his old habit of sleeping in?

This young financial advisor probably has not found his why or his reason yet. He is not able to answer the question “why is this important to me?” Sure, he may have goals. Goals are nice because they are tangible, but goals can also be a hindrance because that is what people focus on. They put all of their energy into achieving one goal, which is only a small part of the big picture. Focus on a goal is short-term. After setting a goal, you must ask yourself why that goal is important. Why did you set that goal in the first place?

Let’s say that the overall result you want to achieve is a 20% increase in business. What you have to ask yourself is why that increase is important to you. Why are you willing to make sacrifices to achieve that 20% increase? Perhaps you want to increase your business to 20% so your children can have opportunities that you did not have. That is a darn good reason to want to increase your revenue. So you have to focus on your why, because that is your motivation to make sacrifices. That is your motivation to be successful.

You have to train your mind to think about what you must have instead of merely what you want. Think about it. If you see something that you must have, you find a way to get it. You have just found your why and you go out and get it.

I have a very good friend who is a financial advisor. His why when he first went into business was very superficial, but it got him through the difficult first year of being a financial advisor. He wanted to buy a brand new Chevy Camaro. He figured out that in his first year in the business, if he worked hard enough, he could make enough money to buy that Camaro. So he woke up early every day, stayed at the office late, made extra phone calls, and dealt with rejection, all because he could see himself behind the wheel of that car, and he did it. All of his hard work paid off and he was able to buy the Camaro. Now, 25 years later, he looks back and laughs. He says, “That was crazy! Now I would never endure that pain for a stupid car” but that doesn’t matter. At the time, buying a Camaro was important enough to him to motivate him to make sacrifices.

We all have different reasons for working hard and making sacrifices. It does not matter what your specific why is. What matters is that you have one and you connect with it. Because when that connection is there, the results will follow.