IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Form Good Habits and Become Their Slave

One of my favorite Og Mandino quotes is:

"I will form good habits and become their slave."

I like it so much, I had post cards printed with that slogan.

In the last week, I've had several interactions that highlight how my "good" habits have served me well. On three different occasions I've been asked some version of how I get so much work done. Do I edit my own videos? Do I write all my own books? Do I write every day?

Yes, yes, yes.

And the last of these is the key. I read every day. I meditate every day. I write every day. These are the muscles of my success and I exercise them every day.

I travel a lot, and there are plenty of temptations on the road. One obvious temptation is drinking. Everyone gets together in the evening, hanging out together, and it's a great social atmosphere. But those who are successful traveling a lot have learned to limit their drinking. At some point you have to.

One of my habits of success that makes this easy is: I don't drink shots. Ever. Period. From time to time someone will show up with a round of shots and I'll just adamantly decline. Some people are very pushy. Even when I tell them I have a "rule" about this, they say I should do it just this once.

The more you do something (including declining to do something), the easier it is.

Another rule: With only a few exceptions, I don't leave the conference hotel. I don't go to clubs downtown. I don't go out to events. And even if someone starts strong-arming me at ten o'clock because they want to go party hours later, they never wear me down.

Because I have rheumatoid arthritis, I literally cannot go partying all night, even if I wanted to. And when I run out of steam, I need to go straight to the elevator and go to my room. If I'm somewhere else, that's not possible.

It becomes easier and easier to hold to these rules when I break them. Every time I wake up feeling tire and worn out, it's easier to say I'll never do that again - and mean it.

I know several people who sneak out of the evening entertainment while nobody's looking. I see these folks city after city, all across the country. They wander off as if to refresh their drink or use the bathroom, and they never return.

I never give them a bad time or ask, "Where did you go last night?" because I know that one of their habits of success is to get a good night's sleep. Or maybe it's to make a phone call to the family. Or maybe to get some reading in before bedtime.

They opt out of the fun in the moment because they're focused on the long term.

Over at, I have a "pith" page full of my favorite quotes. You'll see that a lot of them are around habits.

It can take a long time to un-do old habits and create new, good habits. But the longer you work on it, the better off you'll be. When your good habits become automatic, everything gets better. That's why i call them the muscles of success. The total combination of all these habits becomes the grand habit of being successful.

Of course your good (and bad) habits are not the same as mine. You have to figure out what they are and then work to build the good and drop the bad. And the worst excuse of all time is that you're too old to start now. If you're alive, you'e not too old to improve your life!

Start with the habit of taking some quiet time every day to think about what's working and not working in your life. Then start building your habits of success.



About the Author

Karl W. Palachuk, is a technology consultant, author, speaker, trainer, and coach. He is the author of fifteen books. He has built several successful businesses, including two managed services companies. His books include Managed Services in a Month and The Network Documentation Workbook. Karl is a frequent trainer and speaker in the SMB Community. His popular blog can be found at He has more than twenty years experience as an I.T. professional and serves on advisory panels for several hardware and software companies.

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