Atomic Habits

I was 12-years-old when I started to meet regularly with my first mentor. He played for the New Orleans Saints when he was younger, so I immediately grew a liking to him. We would talk almost exclusively about football and training.

A few months in, he saw me struggling to develop a habit. He challenged me to not miss a day for 100 days in-a-row. He told me that if I was successful, that he would pay me $100, so I accepted the challenge.

“Once you get to day 30 or 40 though, you’ll probably lose track,” he said. “But that’s fine, you will have at least developed the habit.”

I was doing it for the money, so I needed to make sure I didn’t lose track. I grabbed a small notebook from my mom’s sewing room and started to make tallies every morning that I completed the challenge.

But he was right… I lost track of what day I was on sometime during that second month.

This month now marks 15 years since that simple challenge. I remember it so well because that challenge changed my mornings for the rest of my life–I still haven’t missed a day since. 

That’s something like 5,500 days in-a-row.

Habits really alter the course of your life. If you haven’t read James Clear’s Atomic Habits, you’ve got to pick it up and read it. It’s been a must-read for me at least twice a year. 

Oh, and if you don’t have a mentor, get one! As I look back on what my mentor did for me, I realize that he guided me to something far more valuable than $100. His challenge was simple.

If you win the morning, you win the day.

I’m also now realizing that I never collected my $100… think I could call him up and ask for $5,500 now?

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