Wake up at 5 a.m, walk 10,000 steps a day, take freezing cold showers, cook all your own meals. 

All of the self-help books and gurus constantly push out the idea that habits will lead us to success and happiness. 

While we totally agree, and there is a lot of scientific data that agrees with this sentiment, the bigger picture is this;

Success doesn’t depend on a specific set of habits, it depends on your ability to change your habits when you need to. 

The name of the game is adaptability. 

A person’s adaptability is actually a measurable quality along with our intelligence and emotional capabilities:

IQ or Intelligence Quotient: The intelligence, knowledge, facts, and trivia that one possesses.

EQ or Emotional Quotient: The emotional understanding and capability of oneself and others that helps with differing situations and people.

AQ or Adaptability Quotient: The ability to adapt to and thrive in an environment of change.

Circling back to the importance of habits, how does our AQ come into play and how can we best utilize it to our advantage?

Keep what works, ditch the rest. Make sure you constantly monitor your habits so you can see what is really working for you. You can use a journal or an app like coach.me. Maybe walking for 15 minutes every day has really improved your creativity, but waking up at 4:45 am has turned you into a zombie. Experiment, identify, adjust, and crush. 

Chop things down to size. Trying to hit the gym every day for 45 minutes but it just ain’t happening? Not following through can make you feel really crumby. Instead, adapt to a smaller habit first. For example, try to hit 10 pushups a day. Whenever you exceed your goal, you’ll feel like a badass and want to keep going even further. 

Practice self-awareness. Using practices like meditation and mindfulness allows you to really identify what is going on with your thoughts and behaviors. Remember that habits are just tools, they don’t directly affect your identity or happiness, they just help you get where you want to be. Celebrate your wins, process your failures, and change course as necessary. 

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